As for probable cause, the city says that the teens implicated themselves in some of the other attacks that took place in the park that night, and it was common sense for the detectives to believe that the attack on Meili was related to those other attacks.
And city lawyers insist that the evidence shows Reyes did not act alone.
Some of the attorneys involved in the litigation from the city have said privately that nothing has rankled them more than the suggestion that the city railroaded the teens out of racial animus.
They point to the fact that black and Hispanic detectives were among those who questioned the teens and the juries that convicted the five in two trials were racially and ethnically diverse.
They note that Justice Thomas B. Galligan, who presided over the criminal trial, held a six-week hearing before pronouncing the confessions voluntary and said the police officers in the case were "duty-bound" to make the arrests.
Motion to Dismiss
The Law Department's defense began in earnest in the fall of 2004, when the city filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim and lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The city's memorandum of law argued that claims of false arrest and coerced confessions were barred by collateral estoppel because the plaintiffs raised identical issues at their criminal trials and lost.
Despite understandable inconsistencies between the statements given by the five teens, the city said the critical fact was that all five placed themselves at the scene of the rape of Meili, so the decision to arrest and charge them was firmly anchored in probable cause.
The plaintiffs had also challenged the failure of the city to turn over alleged Brady material on Reyes.
But the city countered that evidence regarding Reyes was not exculpatory or material because the prosecution's theory included the presence of another rapist and the police did not "conceal" any evidence of Reyes' rapes from the district attorney's office.
Ms. Fairstein, the brief argues, was shielded by the 11th Amendment and the doctrine of absolute immunity. And it said that the allegations of a conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. §§1983 and 1985 were "wholly conclusory."