Linda Fairstein (born 1947) is an American author and former prosecutor focusing on crimes of violence against women and children. She served as head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's office from 1976 until 2002 and is the author of a series of novels featuring Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper.
Fairstein graduated with honors from Vassar College (1969) and the University of Virginia School of Law (1972). She joined the Manhattan District Attorney's office in 1972 as an Assistant District Attorney. She was promoted to the head of the sex crimes unit in 1976. During her tenure, she prosecuted several controversial and highly publicized cases, including the "Preppy Murder" case against Robert Chambers in 1986. Fairstein's office supervised the prosecution of the Central Park Jogger case in 1989, which ended in the conviction of five teenagers who later claimed their confessions were coerced during interrogation through lies and intimidation. Their convictions were ultimately vacated when another convicted rapist confessed, and whose DNA matched evidence linking him to the crime.
Fairstein left the District Attorney's office in 2002, and has continued to consult, write, lecture and serve as a sex crimes expert for a wide variety of print and television media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, and Larry King, among others. Fairstein has consulted for a number of media outlets during a number of high profile prosecutions including Michael Jackson's molestation charges in 2004, Kobe Bryant's sexual assault charges, and Scott Peterson's trial. She was the founder of the Domestic Violence Committee of the New York Women's Agenda. She is a frequent speaker on issues surrounding domestic abuse.
Fairstein is being sued by Oliver Jovanovic. The lawsuit alleges that Fairstein engaged in "false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious abuse of process and denial of his right to a fair trial". This lawsuit stems from Fairstein's successful prosecution of Jovanovic in the case People v. Jovanovic that was subsequently overturned on appeal, and then dismissed with prejudice by a new trial judge. The dismissal was requested "in the interest of justice" by the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau.
The $10 million lawsuit against Fairstein and two co-defendants, former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Gail Heatherly, who now teaches at the Columbia Law School, and New York City Police Detective Milton Bonilla, is pending; the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was dismissed in 2004.
Fairstein is the internationally best-selling author of a series of crime novels featuring Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. The novels draw on Fairstein's legal expertise as well as her knowledge of and affection for the rich history of the city of New York.
The titles are:
Final Jeopardy (1996)
Likely To Die (1997)
Cold Hit (1999)
The Deadhouse (2001) (Nero Award winner)
The Bone Vault (2003)
The Kills (2004)
Death Dance (2006)
Bad Blood (2007)
Killer Heat (2008)
Lethal Legacy (2009)
Hell Gate (2010)
Silent Mercy March (2011)
She has also written a non-fiction book, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape (1993).