DA Hynes’ television appearance is a documentary, not a reality show
A representative at the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes disputed claims that the DA is going to be involved in a reality television show on CBS in the coming months.
“The CBS people don’t call it that and we don’t call it that,” said Jerry Schmetterer, the DA’s Director of Public Information. “I don’t believe it’s accurate to call it a reality show in the genre that we’re used to seeing reality shows.”
Schmetterer instead described the television appearance as a six-episode documentary. The first episode will air on May 21st, he said.
Schmetterer also emphasized that the show is not specifically about Hynes.
“It’s focusing on the 1,200 people who work here in the DA’s office, which is the largest office in the country,” Schmetterer explained. “It’s really taking a look at the important and difficult work that they do.”
“The DA is a part of it, but he’s just one part,” Schmetterer added.
According to Schmetterer, the show will look at the inner workings of the office, as well as “re-create” some of the most famous cases the office has prosecuted.
Some people are skeptical, however, including one of Hynes’ competitors in this year’s election, Ken Thompson.
Thompson seized upon a line in the Daily News report that broke the news of Hynes’ television appearance.
“The network was also given access to two sensitive sting operations that prosecutors have been working on for months, and that they’re hoping to make arrests on before the show airs,” the Daily News wrote.
Thompson slammed Hynes over this allegation, saying, “It is simply reckless for District Attorney Hynes to share sensitive information about ongoing cases and investigations with a film crew for self-promotion—information that leaked before the show even aired and could easily lead to more failed prosecutions and overturned cases.”
Schmetterer dismissed these accusations, saying that when the show airs, “there’ll be no confidential information revealed.”
“There’ll be no open cases involved in the documentary,” he said. “They haven’t been given access to anything that other reporters couldn’t get access to.”
But in regard to “that information about two cases,” Schmetterer mentioned that, at the request of the DA’s office, “the Daily News agreed not to run… information [in the internal CBS document] that would endanger these cases and maybe lives.”
Still, he insisted, “no case is being compromised.”
He emphasized that the document the Daily News obtained was an internal document from one CBS employee to another, and “there’s a lot in that document that isn’t happening.”
“What the Daily News was working off of was nothing that was official and nothing that was vetted for accuracy,” Schmetterer concluded.
In 2011, prosecutors in the Manhattan DA’s office who were responsible for litigating sex crime cases were the focus of an HBO documentary, prompting criticism from former prosecutors. Defense attorneys for two NYPD cops acquitted of rape but convicted of official misconduct used the opportunity to review the footage in the hope that they could move for a mistrial. However, the cops were ultimately sentenced and did not win their appeal.
Susan Zilinsky, reportedly a producer on the show, did not respond to a request for comment.
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