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Brooklyn District Attorney: Dozens Of Drug Convictions To Be Dismissed Due To Testimony From Former Det. Joseph Franco

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In a historic move, dozens of drug cases dating back more than a decade are being dismissed in Brooklyn.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday he can no longer stand by the testimony of a former NYPD officer who potentially put innocent people behind bars, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.

Joseph Franco, who was fired by the department, is awaiting trial, accused of misconduct and framing multiple people while working as an undercover narcotics detective.

Now, the Brooklyn DA is beginning the process of dismissing charges for 90 cases Franco's testimony was central in prosecuting.

"Knowing what we do know now, whether he's convicted or he's not convicted, and that will be up to a jury in Manhattan, I could no longer stand by those convictions," Gonzalez said.

From Brooklyn Criminal Court to the State Supreme Court, each case involves drug convictions dating back as early as 2004.

But for many of Maryanne Kaishian's clients with the Brooklyn Defender Services, the damage, including jail time, has already been done.

"We have been in touch with a person who missed the birth of a child. We know that people have spent time in solitary confinement in ways that are now officially recognized in New York state to be torturous," Kaishian said.

According to DA Gonzalez, in many of the cases the accused maintained their innocence, but they plead guilty for a variety of reasons because it was their word against Det. Franco's.

And for some, this was the only conviction they've had.

"Certainly, these abuses didn't begin with Det. Franco and they won't end with him, so we all need to be conscious of the fact that we can't just say, 'OK, we're done now. We've addressed these harms and we can move on,'" Kaishian said.

Franco plead not guilty to all of the charges.

Meanwhile, the work continues to examine his role in prosecutions for nearly two decades.

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