Our digital and social media producer Rachel Rohr is back from a month-long trip cross-country, talking with young Americans.
When he was 17-years-old, high school football linebacker Brian Banks went to jail for a rape he did not commit. He served his five years, and it took another five before he was able to get his name cleared. Last month, a California court dismissed his conviction after his accuser admitted she’d lied.
Back in 2003, Banks agreed to plead no contest to rape charges brought by a female friend because his lawyer told him the other option was worse.
“My lawyer at the time told me… I’d face 41 years to life if I take this thing to trial. And I’d be viewed as a big black teenager by the jury and I’d automatically be assumed guilty,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.
Banks now has a new lawyer, who helped him clear his name after his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, admitted to him in a private conversation, captured on video, that she had lied.
When he went to jail, Banks had to give up a football scholarship to University of Southern California, and what he hoped would be a promising NFL career. Now Banks is going to give his NFL hopes another shot. He reportedly has a tryout lined up with the Seattle Seahawks and other teams have expressed interest.
“It’s a lot to ask for… but… I’ve prepared for this day in and day out,” he said.