Brian Banks, a man accused of kidnapping and rape, was cleared of all charges when his accuser is recorded admitting lying about the incident.
By: A.J. Niles
It is rare that a black man is able to file an appeal and have his name cleared. However, one was able to beat the odds.
16-year old Brian Banks had the world in front of him in 2002. The star middle linebacker for the Long Beach Poly High School Football team had a full-ride scholarship to play for the University of Southern California Trojans, alongside Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush. However, things quickly changed for the worse when Wanetta Gibson, then 15, accused Banks of rape and kidnapping her on the campus
His defense lawyer at the time strongly encouraged Banks to accept a plea deal despite prosecutors lacking any DNA evidence linking Banks to any rape of Gibson. Banks tells CBS news.
“She told me I was a big black teenager and no jury would believe anything I said.”
Banks willingly went along with the plea deal and accepted his sentence.
After being imprisoned for five years and spending another five as a registered sex offender in California, Brian Banks was finally cleared of the rape and kidnapping charges. One day after Banks was released from prison, he logged onto Facebook where he learned of a friend request from his accuser.
Abc News reports:
“Why would you friend request me?” Banks asked Gibson over Facebook. “The reply was, ‘I figured you and I could let bygones be bygones. I was immature then, but I’m much more mature now.'”
Then came a face-to-face meeting. Gibson admitted that she lied and was willing to help Banks clear his name, according to court records. But there was just one problem — would she have to pay back the $1.5 million? It was a fear that made Gibson weary of telling her story to prosecutors.
But according to defense attorneys, Gibson admitted she was worried about having to pay back the money during a second meeting with Banks that was secretly recorded. Defense attorneys quoted Gibson as saying, “‘I will go through with helping you but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back.'”
As a result of this testimony, Brian Banks was cleared of all charges on May 24th. It remains unclear if Gibson or her family will have to pay back the award money from the Long Beach Unified School District of if Banks will sue his accuser.
Brian Banks will seek to get his life back on track by attempting to fulfill his childhood dream of playing in the National Football League.