Woman Lied About Being Raped, Black Man Goes to Prison, Ruining NFL Dreams

Brian Banks, flanked by his father and mother after he was exonerated of a false rape conviction

In an incredible story of treacherous, if not evil, lying that sent a promising college prospect to prison and ruining his life and his dreams of playing professional football, a woman has recanted her story of being raped by a black man 10 years ago — but she waited until after he spent five years in prison to do it.

How did the Brian Banks of Long Beach, Calif., get exonerated? By the same dastardly, wretched woman who accused him.

Confused? Let me explain.

After Banks was unjustifiably convicted and sentence to five years in prison for a rape he did not commit — all because the woman lied on him and said the consensual sexual contact they had was rape — Banks was released from prison and placed on probation. During this time, his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, actually had the intestinal fortitude to ask to be Banks’ friend on Facebook (yes, my mouth is agape, as well). Banks accepted the woman’s friendship, and she proceeded to explain that she wanted “bygones to be bygones.”

The nerve of this woman is incredible. But she agreed to meet with him. That’s when Gibson told Banks that she had lied and that she would help him clear his name. But — and this is a big “but” — the woman refused to repeat the story to prosecutors. Why? Because she feared that she would have to return the entire $1.5 million that her mother got when the mother sued Long Beach schools.

If you’re like me, you are almost speechless.

Good thing that Banks secretly recorded their second conversation and gave the evidence to the courts. They summarily dismissed the conviction on Banks.

According to the court documents, Gibson was quoted as telling Banks: “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.”

That was all the evidence that the courts needed to vacate the conviction. When it was announced, Banks collapsed on the table in a heaping sob, realizing that his decade-long nightmare had come to a joyful conclusion.

But there’s still a problem, according to Justin Brooks, a lawyer who heads the Innocence Project. He said that Banks has remained on probation, under electronic monitoring, has had to register as a sex offender and has had trouble getting a job.

He said Banks continues to train for what he hopes will be a future chance, albeit a small one, at a professional football career.

What about the woman who lied? Where is the talk of her prosecution for falsely filing a police report against an innocent man? What happens to the $1.5 million she was awarded by the public school district that she fraudulently received for an alleged wrong? She shows no repentance for her devious, nefarious act because she still wants to keep the free money she got.

And I would love to hear from the original lawyer of Banks who told him to cop a plea to avoid 41 years in prison when he knew his client was innocent. According to Banks, the lawyer told him to cop a plea because the courts would not believe a black man could be innocent of this felony charge.

Click below to hear what the lawyer for Innocence Project, the group that helped free Banks, had to say:

terry shropshire

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

A military veteran and Buckeye State native, I've written for the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Detroit Free Press. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. #GoBucks

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