A lawsuit filed on behalf of former inmate Alstory Simon on Tuesday seeks $40 million in damages. The suit alleges that former Northwestern professor David Protess, private investigator Paul Ciolino and Simon’s 1999 defense attorney Jack Rimland, “conspired to frame Simon for the murders in order to secure the release of the real killer, Anthony Porter.”
After confessing and pleading guilty to a double homicide, Simon spent 15 years in prison, a fraction of the originally sentenced 37 years. Simon was released early when the case was thrown out by Cook County prosecutors in October after questions were raised about the legitimacy of the investigation.
Protess’ 1998 class overturned a death sentence against Anthony Porter, who was originally found guilty of the double homicide. The suit alleges that Protess instructed his students to develop evidence of Porter’s innocence rather than search for the truth and that Protess and Ciolino used fabricated evidence, threats and other deceitful tactics to coerce a false confession from Simon.
This case contributed to the termination of the death penalty in Illinois.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Vice President of University Relations Al Cubbage wrote, “The University is reviewing the allegations in the lawsuit and will respond appropriately. Northwestern denies all wrongdoing in this matter and looks forward to being vindicated in a court of law.”