NEW YORK — After a meeting with Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, lawyers for a black high school cheerleader who charges that she was kidnaped and raped by a group of white men--including one who displayed a police badge--agreed Thursday to cooperate with a special New York state prosecutor.
Cuomo pledged that Atty. Gen. Robert Abrams, whom he had named special prosecutor to investigate the case of Tawana Brawley, will supervise the case personally and prosecute it if indictments are filed.
Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, Brawley's lawyers, claim to know the identity of at least one of the alleged attackers.
Brawley was found on Nov. 28, dazed and wrapped in a garbage bag, near the apartment her family had vacated in the town of Wappingers Falls in rural Dutchess County. Her hair had been cut in places and racial epithets had been written on her body.
Comedian Bill Cosby and Ed Lewis, publisher of the magazine Essence, have offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the case.
Governor Refuses Demand
Thursday's meeting was conducted in Albany, the state capital. Brawley's lawyers had been demanding that Charles J. Hynes, the special prosecutor in the Howard Beach case, undertake the investigation. The governor refused, taking the position that it was his prerogative, not that of lawyers for the alleged victims, to pick special prosecutors in cases where they are necessary.
The governor appointed Abrams as special prosecutor in the Brawley case on Jan. 26, after Dutchess County Dist. Atty. William Grady and a local special prosecutor said they could not handle the case because of an unexplained conflict of interest. Earlier, Brawley had refused to cooperate with local law enforcement officials and a Dutchess County grand jury.