FROM Black History Year Round Directory :
30 Years Ago This Week, TRUMP Bought Full-Page Newspaper Ads Calling for This Man’s Death — but He Was INNOCENT
The Central Park jogger case was a major news story that involved the assault and rape of Trisha Meili, a white female jogger, and attacks on others in the North Woods of Manhattan’s Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. The attack on the jogger left her in a coma for 12 days. Meili was a 28-year-old investment banker at the time. According to The New York Times, the attack was “one of the most widely publicized crimes of the 1980s
Although they were innocent, the defendants were pressured and forced to confess to the crime. Before the trial, the FBI tested the DNA of the rape kit and found it did not match to any of the tested suspects. The office of District Attorney Robert Morgenthau presented these findings to the press as “inconclusive”.
They were convicted in 1990 by juries in two separate trials. Subsequently, known as the Central Park Five, they received sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years. Four of the convictions were appealed and the convictions were affirmed by appellate courts. The defendants spent between 6 and 13 years in prison.
In 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist in prison, confessed to raping the jogger, and DNA evidence confirmed his guilt. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau suggested to the court that the five men’s convictions related to the assault and rape of Meili and to attacks on others to which they had confessed be vacated (a legal position in which the parties are treated as though no trial has taken place) and withdrew the charges. Their convictions were vacated in 2002.
The five convicted men sued New York City in 2003 for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and emotional distress. The city refused to settle the suits for a decade under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, because the city’s lawyers felt they would win. However, after Bill de Blasio became mayor and supported the settlement, the city settled the case for $41 million in 2014. As of December 2014, the five men were pursuing an additional $52 million in damages from New York State in the New York Court of Claims.