Our Tracking Lincoln series continues with the third-generation owner of the Lincoln Square Lounge.
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.
Peter O’Dowd follows the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train 150 years ago, to look at modern-day race relations and Lincoln's legacy.