New trial for an innocent man

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Detective Richard Zuley may be most famous for his notorious interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, but he first learned his torture techniques in the interrogation rooms of Chicago. Now, this 30-year veteran of the Chicago PD is under investigation for using illegal methods to coerce confessions that have put several possibly innocent people behind bars. One of his cases has already been overturned, and a man who spent 23 years in prison is now finally free. But while officials slowly make their way through the pages of evidence against this corrupt cop, my friend Lee Harris -- another of Zuley’s many victims -- still wastes away in prison.  

My name is Robert. From 2000-2001, I shared a cell with Lee. We became good friends. Like a lot of people in prison, he would go on about how he was innocent and how he had been wrongly accused, but I never knew what to believe. However, when I received letters from the “witness” who put him away, apologizing for lying on the stand, I started digging: Lee’s conviction doesn’t add up. And now that I am on the outside, I am doing everything I can to get him a new trial so he can prove his innocence.

I am asking Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial, so he can prove his innocence. He shouldn’t spend one more day behind bars while the true criminal is allowed to walk free.

At first, Lee collaborated with Detective Zuley to help him find the real killer in the crime he is doing time for. Facing public pressure to find the killer, they pressed Lee for information using both threats and rewards. In one instance, Zuley offered him a $20,000 reward, and in another, he threatened to stop providing protection for his family, exposing them to retaliation. When they couldn’t find the real killer, they turned on their informant and charged him with the crime. They had no murder weapon or evidence connecting Lee to the crime.

Yet, even with all these legal missteps and the lack of evidence, they still threw Lee behind bars for 90 years. He remains in jail to this day for a crime I am sure he didn’t commit. And I am not the only one: Chicago attorney Jennifer Blagg, who has won many exonerations in the US, is now taking a closer look at Harris’ conviction.

It’s time to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial and let true justice be served. We cannot continue to keep this man behind bars while the real killer could be walking the streets. Please sign my petition and help me fight for justice for Lee Harris.



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