Apple to tell story of imprisoned Eastern Kentucky lawyer with ‘The Big Conn’
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The former clients of Eric C. Conn re-live the stories of their social security issues on a daily basis.
“For the last seven years I’ve probably dealt with a Conn client just about every single day,” said Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf. “The nightmare never ends.”
Pillersdorf said for many of the people he represents, losing their benefits and the threat of further hearings to re-determine eligibility has created seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But, even with the potential for around 2,000 more SSA hearings on the horizon- that have been on hold due to the pandemic- Pillersdorf believes there are small signs of hope.
Governor Andy Beshear sent a letter to President Biden May 5, 2021, discussing 500 former clients in need, asking the president to intervene “to help these 500 Appalachians get their benefits, by directing SSA to immediately reinstate those benefits.”
Congressman Hal Rogers sent a letter to the SSA’s acting commissioner in July, asking the SSA to create waivers for the overpayments to the former clients, and allow their benefits to continue as the SSA completes its re-determination hearings. He said in the letter, “these individuals are the victims of fraud, not the perpetrators, and it’s time for their uncertainty and anxiety to end.”
With suicides and other hardships attached to the “debacle,” Pillersdorf said the stories of the former clients should be louder than the story of Conn. And he hopes a new project from Apple will be the answer to that.
“This documentary will be released worldwide. That, the letter from Gov. Beshear, and the fact that we’ve been winning in court? Hopefully, that will cause the Social Security Administration to finally back down and leave our vulnerable neighbors alone,” he said. “Hopefully, the documentary will expose how badly they’ve mistreated the Conn clients and finally cause this nightmare to end.”
“The Big Conn” is a four-part true crime docu-series following Conn’s case, releasing on Apple TV+. Pillersdorf was part of the process, interviewing with the film crew for the documentary.
According to a news release from Apple, “All four parts of the series will premiere alongside an Apple TV+ Original companion podcast that will explore Conn’s con and outrageous lifestyle further with additional interviews and behind-the-scenes details.
“The truth is: A powerful, well-written documentary can change history,” Pillersdorf said.
Now, though he has yet to see the series, Pillersdorf is heading to Austin, Texas for the premier of the first two hours at the South by Southwest Film Festival Wednesday. The series is expected to drop on Apple TV+ May 6, along with an accompanying podcast on Apple Podcasts the same day.
Pillersdorf said he hopes the recent letters, recent changes to the SSA staff, and the story being shared on a platform like Apple will work in favor of the clients.
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