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Conviction Integrity Review - People v. Jesse Friedman - FINAL

Conviction Integrity Review - People v. Jesse Friedman - FINAL

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09/18/2013

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Meanwhile, the police investigation intensified. In addition to the reports of abuse
described above, several other students described having access to pornographic
videogames, and some said they borrowed them from the Friedman house. One student
provided Detective Squeglia with a copy of a disk containing “Dirty Movie” and
“Stroker,” and said he had obtained it from Arnold Friedman’s class. On the basis of
these and all preceding statements, on November 25, 1987, the Nassau County Police
Department executed their own warrant on the Friedman home. This came twenty-two
days after Arnold Friedman’s home was first searched by federal agents. During the
execution of this warrant, detectives seized computers, audiovisual material, a “flesh
colored artificial penis,” and a “sexual aid.”57

Detectives found and removed a vibrator,

described at the time as “child-sized,” from Arnold Friedman’s office.58

Because Jesse Friedman did not attack his conviction until 2004, more than
fifteen years after his guilty plea, these items of physical evidence were all routinely
destroyed pursuant to police procedure. Accordingly, no forensic analyses, such as DNA
tests, could be performed on the objects. Police also seized a number of computer disks,
later found to contain the following programs, among others:

56

See A837-41, notes of conversation between Arline Epstein and Arnold Friedman.

57

See A576.

58

The description was reported by the media after the case resolved, but does not appear in police
documents. See A906, at 2. It is also chronicled in contemporaneous notes provided to the Review Team by
Arline Epstein (see A846-51), notes of conversation with Detective Wallene Jones) and acknowledged by
David Friedman in a private journal. See A431, excerpt 7 (referring to a “little 3[inch] dildo”).

15

Video Game Title

Police Description59

Sex Style Test

“Ask fifteen (15) sexual related questions. Rates you on life
satisfaction, sensuality, eroticism.”

Strip Poker

“Play draw poker with ‘Suzi & Melissa.’ Removal of clothing
part of wager.”

Farmer’s Daughter

“Story of traveling salesman coming upon farmer’s house and
meeting farmer’s daughter.”

Mad Party Fucker

“Story of party at mansion (orgy).”

Girls They Want To
Have Fun

“Animation of naked woman masturbating—operate joystick
to increase score.”

Stroker

“Animation of hand stroking penis—operate with joystick to
control stroking action to increase score and prevent
premature ejaculation.”

Load Me

“Program appears with German words—after about 30
seconds letters are erased with ‘P’s, screen goes blank and
animation appears with couple performing sexual
intercourse.”

Dirty Movie

“Animation appear[s] of woman who undresses[,] spreads her
legs[,] and then masturbates/urinates.”

Seasons Greeting

“Animation of Mickey Mouse, dressed in Santa suit, appears
with erection and ejaculating.”

Also recovered during the execution of the warrant were two original photographs of
nude children,60

described alternately in police documents as “2 color photos of boy and

girl from the neck to the thighs”61

and “2 snapshots, 1 boy with pants down, 1 girl naked

waist down.”62

Because the heads were torn off, no identification of the children could be
made. Other items discovered included “3 sheets advertising homosexuality with boys,”
movie cameras and Polaroid cameras, and pornographic movie reels.63

In the course of
their search, police also discovered a false wall compartment under the stairs of the
Friedman home. Federal investigators had no recollection of this space. In a house where
other closets were filled to capacity, state investigators found the compartment empty. In
interviews, Jesse expressed surprise that this compartment was empty; it was well-known
to him as a storage space for props and accessories used in David’s clown and magic acts.

59

All descriptions are drawn from paperwork filed by police explaining why some items—these disks, inter
alia
—would not be returned to the Friedmans at the close of the investigation. See A407-10.

60

Police reported two such pictures to a group of concerned parents, including Arline Epstein. See A852-
57, notes of conversation with Dr. Joyce Parks.

61

A580.

62

A481.

63

See id.

16

Simultaneously, police arrested Arnold Friedman on charges involving sodomy,
sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child, and Jesse on charges involving
sexual abuse. Elaine Friedman was also arrested for attempting to punch Detective
Sergeant Galasso.64

At their arraignment the next day, the court set Arnold’s bail at $1
million (or $500,000 cash), and Jesse’s at $500,000 (or $300,000 cash).65

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