CBS Agrees to Turn Over 'Brooklyn DA' Footage

, New York Law Journal

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After filming the sting operation arrest of a man for a television series about the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, CBS has agreed to turn over footage of the man's apprehension.

In "Brooklyn DA," a six-part series that aired this summer and followed the prosecution of several cases, one story line was how the office built its case against Joselito Vega, who was charged with stealing art from a Nassau County residence.

Vega's attorney, Timothy Parlatore of Manhattan, subpoenaed the network for "all raw video footage and outtakes." He maintains the footage could corroborate Vega's defense he was taking the artwork with consent. The network countered with a motion to quash the subpoena it called "grossly overbroad" (NYLJ, Jan. 8).

But the sides reached an agreement earlier this month where the network said it would produce tapes related to Vega's arrest and vehicle search, and both sides would drop their subpoenas and quash motions. Parlatore informed Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun (See Profile) of the out-of-court resolution on Thursday.

In a Friday interview, Parlatore said he had yet to review the tapes, which were en route. He said the line between press freedom and defendants' rights "has certainly gotten a lot more hazy when the press and prosecution get into bed together and create a production." Though Parlatore said he would have "loved" to litigate the matter in order "to prevent this type of precedent in the future," he must prioritize his client's interests.

A spokesman for the television show declined to comment.

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