You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

“Capturing the Friedmans” Filmmakers Reveal New Evidence to Overturn Subject’s Conviction

"Capturing the Friedmans" Filmmakers Reveal New Evidence to Overturn Subject's Conviction

A decade after “Capturing the Friedmans” was nominated for an Academy Award, the fiilmmakers are now working to overturn the alleged wrongful conviction of Jesse Friedman, one of the main subjects of the controversial film, who served nearly 14 years in prison. Next Tuesday, on March 5th, the filmmakers will preview new evidence at a special screening in New York before it’s made public, followed by a discussion with director Andrew Jarecki and Jesse Friedman, as well as criminal defense and civil rights attorney Ron Kuby.

The filmmakers have created a website,, which includes a four-and-half minute trailer that offers a glimpse into some of the new proof that Jarecki and his crew have stumbled on, including what appears to be a rash of coerced witness confessions from the time of Friedman’s arrest and conviction for child sex abuse crimes.

According to a statement on the website, the filmmakers claim “there was never a shred of physical or medical evidence these crimes occurred” and “police threatened or rewarded small children to elicit false testimony, and the judge in the case admitted there was ‘never a doubt in [her] mind as to their guilt’ despite never having seen any evidence.”

“After viewing the evidence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, ruled that there was a ‘reasonable likelihood [Jesse Friedman] was wrongfully convicted,’ and his ‘guilty plea was coerced.’ After years of collecting and reviewing every available piece of evidence, we remain compelled to speak out against this wrongful conviction and to overturn it.”

This Article is related to: News


Facts about the Friedman's case

Jarecki's original movie leaves and distorts evidence to create questions in the viewer's minds. Jesse confessed in detail on Geraldo. Their victims describe their pain as adults.

In the original trial Arnold Friedman plead guilty to 8 counts of sodomy, 28 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and he also admitted to ramming a child‘s head into a wall in front of other children. Jesse plead guilty to 17 counts of sodomy and 4 counts of first degree sexual abuse.

Arnold himself had an established history as a child molester. He had admitted to abusing his own brother when the brother was 8 years old. The movie "Capturing the Friedmans" fails to mention that parents were not allowed into the classroom or that nine obscene computer games were found in Friedman“s classroom.

The movie left out information about Jesse‘s friend, Ross Goldstein. Ross witnessed and admitted to participating in the crimes. He could identify the victims and he would have testified in court. He pled guilty to 3 counts of first-degree sodomy. Both Ross and Jesse plead to one count of using a child in a sexual performance (pornography).

Jesse said in a 1989 interview that Arnold (his father) fondled and then later sodomized him. Jesse started seeing a psychiatrist at the age of 10 and he was diagnosed manic depressive. From a search warrant in 1987 for the Friedman's home: Materials from property seized included 5 pornographic movies, assorted order forms for pornography, assorted pornographic magazine cutouts, 2 partially nude photos of children, 3 sheets advertising homosexuality with boys, 6 photos of naked people and 3 battery operated sex aid.

The idea of suggestive therapy practices was contradicted by a statement by the two main clinicians who worked with the victims involved in the Friedman case. They stated that hypnosis was never used in the treatment of these children and that no therapy was offered at all until after all of the forensic evidence was gathered by the police.

On Geraldo, Jesse stated in explicit detail how he and his father had abused the children during their computer classes. Jesse stated that he and his father had threatened the children by telling them that they would hunt down their parents and burn their houses down if the children talked. In 2004, the victims of the Friedmans spoke out. One victim stated that he still sometimes wakes up at night shaking, especially when he hears about other child abuse cases. He stated he has persistent rectal bleeding from the abuse.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *