The Newburgh Sting (HBO)
When federal entrapment ends up imprisoning four petty criminals for 25 years on charges of terrorism, eyes widen with cries of a miscarriage of justice. The Newburgh Sting offers a compelling and wrenching portrait of how the FBI fabricated a case of domestic terrorism against four poor New York State men, scripting the moves that would end up implicating them. Using raw audio and video footage shot by the FBI during a year of surveillance and extensive interviews, the documentary, artfully crafted and musically scored with aplomb, gut-punches the viewer at every turn. It unfolds like a fictional Hollywood movie, showcasing informants, dupes, handlers, undercover activity, hushed planning meetings, close surveillance footage, and an action-packed police chase. The documentary draws a troubling portrait of a federal agency more concerned with its image and ability to produce evidence than with justice and shows in jaw-dropping detail how entrapment was scripted over a 10-month sting operation. For raising the uneasy question of how tenuous justice can be when it contradicts U.S. official aims and for offering the sobering realization that fact can be more dangerous than fiction, The Newburgh Sting wins a Peabody Award.
Executive Producer: Dan Cogan. Produced by: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner. Directors: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner. Filmed by: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner, Johnathon Henninger, Jayme Roy, Franco Sacchi, Rafael de la Uz, Gabrielle Weiss, Rasheed Willis. Editors: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner.