Last week, I ran a column on the controversy surrounding the renewed allegations of child abuse by Woody Allen and the suggestion of the former prosecutor, Frank Maco, that he might sue Allen for defamation. The piece expressed deep skepticism over the potential for a defamation claim and further questioned Mr. Maco’s public comments after he decided not to bring charges. I was recently contacted by Mr. Maco who shared his view of the underlying facts and the suggested lawsuit. I felt, particularly in light of the criticism on this blog, his response should be run in its entirety to give his side of the story. Below is that response.
Dear Mr. Turley:
In your review of my letter of February 10, 2014–you were accurate when you stated that I was only “suggesting” legal action vs. Mr. Allen for his “unprovoked, gratuitous, unwarranted” attack upon my character. Indeed, legal action is one, but not the only, manner of addressing Allen’s assault. I’m sure following legal consultation, other avenues will also be suggested and considered. And while agreeing with me that Allen’s statement is an attack on my “character and professionalism”, you question whether such attack is actionable since I was a “public official”–operative word being was–since when Allen uttered his attack, I was no longer a “public official”, having been retired well over ten years. Now you may argue that I am still, at least, a “public figure” if not a “public official”, but that description as well as “malice” are threshold issues that you seem to conveniently gloss over. Simply, when the attack was launched one week ago (February 7, 2014, not 20 years ago) what was my “status” and what was Allen’s state of mind as to “actual malice”? These are genuine questions to be addressed and answered.
In Connecticut, the State’s Attorney has a duty, recognized under common and case law, to make a good faith preliminary determination of probable cause before applying to a judicial magistrate for issuance of an arrest warrant.
As to your complaint of my stating publicly my “probable cause” finding of twenty years ago, I refer you to my statement contained in my February 10 letter. I stated that I would only speak publicly when to do less would undermine the community’s confidence in my office, the Connecticut justice system or me. (Please see Statement of Decision September 24, 1993) But I’m sure you know that all of my words and actions were addressed in almost five years of hearings on Allen’s disciplinary complaints against me, all of which were dismissed. Again, an historical fact that you conveniently ignore. But you do cite authority (looks like an ABC entertainment story) that takes issue with my “probable cause” statement by stating that
” . . . a later disciplinary board found . . . that Maco may (emphasis mine) have prejudiced the later custody trial . . . .” First, to which disciplinary panel are you attributing this finding? Again, all complaints to disciplinary panels were dismissed and second, how could any statement of “probable cause” made by me September 24, 1993 prejudice a custody battle. The only one which I’m aware of was decided by the late New York Justice Elliott Wilk awarding custody to Ms. Farrow in June 1993. June 1993 predates September 1993. Perhaps you are referring to my March 19, 1993 informational statement addressing the Yale clinic report. I’ll certainly listen as to how you reconcile these contradictions and apologize in advance if I’m mistaken.
In conclusion, no need to inform me that your column of February 12, 2014 was an “opinion” because I’m aware of your work and I am a fan. However, please consider my observations as simply requesting some semblance of personal fairness to me by being more factually and historically accurate.