As an attorney, Linda Fairstein worked with rape and violent assault victims in New York City. From 1974 until 2002, she worked under District Attorney Frank Morgenthau, becoming chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in 1976. During Fairstein’s tenure, she led prosecution teams in many high-profile cases, notably the so-called preppy murder of Jennifer Levin and the beating and rape of the woman known to the media as the Central Park jogger. In the course of her work, Fairstein radically altered the manner in which rape cases were investigated and tried, stressing forensics, pioneering the use of DNA evidence, seeking confessions from perpetrators, and thoroughly questioning victims. A member of many legal and nonprofit organizations advocating for the rights of victims (including the Mount Sinai Hospital Friends of the Rape Crisis Intervention Program, New York Women’s Agenda Domestic Violence Committee, Governor Cuomo’s Task Force on Rape, and President Clinton’s Violence Against Women Advisory Council), Fairstein has been in demand as a lecturer on a variety of topics related to violence, particularly violence against women.
For her efforts as an advocate, Fairstein has garnered considerable local and national recognition, and has served as the model for the character of a prosecutor on several television shows and films. Among dozens of honors she has collected are a Federal Bar Council Award for distinguished public service; a University...
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