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Jonathan Fleming : Exonerated Man Sues NYC for 162 Million
Jonathan Fleming : Exonerated Man Sues NYC for 162 Million

Jonathan Fleming : Exonerated Man Sues NYC for 162 Million

A Brooklyn man who spent nearly 25 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit is now suing the city.

Jonathan Fleming, 52, is seeking $162 million after being freed from prison in April. He says he was visiting Disney World back in 1989 when his friend Daryl Rush was shot and killed in Williamsburg.

“I think this is the first step toward getting him what he rightfully deserves,” said his lawyer Taylor Koss.

The city comptroller’s office, which fields such notices, had no immediate comment.

Mr Fleming, aged 52, was convicted of shooting a friend in Brooklyn in August 1989, though he had told authorities he was on a family vacation in Orlando, Florida, and had plane tickets, videos, and other material to show it.

Prosecutors at the time suggested he could have flown back and forth to New York for the killing, and a woman testified that she had seen him commit the crime.

That witness later recanted her testimony, and defence investigators located witnesses who pointed to someone else as the gunman.

Then, prosecutors’ review of authorities’ files turned up documents backing up Mr Fleming’s alibi, including a hotel receipt that he paid in Florida about five hours before the shooting.

Police evidently found it in Mr Fleming’s pocket when he was arrested, but authorities never provided it to his prior defence lawyer. Nor did they turn over an Orlando police letter from 1989 telling New York detectives some employees at an Orlando hotel remembered Mr Fleming.

The authorities’ conduct led to Mr Fleming “suffering in prison for nearly 25 years for a crime that he didn’t commit”, according to his notice of claim.

Wrongfully convicted people often can pursue federal civil-rights lawsuits and claims under state laws, but some claims are resolved before going to court. In a recent example, the city comptroller’s office settled for $6.4m with David Ranta after Brooklyn prosecutors last year disavowed his 1990 conviction in the killing of a rabbi. He’d filed a $150m notice of claim.

After Mr Fleming’s release, an online crowd- funding campaign raised almost $50,000 for him. He also has been looking for a job, his lawyer said.


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