Rape Conviction Cleared, Thanks to Facebook
Brian Banks served five years in prison
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2012 2:11 PM CDT
Brian Banks, center, reacts with his mother, Leomia Myers and father, Jonathan Banks, outside court after his rape conviction was dismissed.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

(Newser) – A 26-year-old man has been exonerated of rape charges, with a big assist from Facebook. Brian Banks, who spent five years in prison on the charges, was, needless to say, surprised when the woman who claimed he raped her in 2002 added him as a friend on Facebook. He got her to meet with him and a private investigator, where she eventually admitted—while secretly being recorded—that Banks was innocent, the Los Angeles Times reports. Banks' attorneys say she felt guilty and wanted to "make amends."

Ten years ago, Wanetta Gibson said Banks—then a top college football prospect—assaulted her while both were students at a Long Beach high school. Banks maintained his innocence, but accepted a plea bargain to serve five years in jail instead of a possible life sentence. He had been unemployed for the past half-decade when Gibson's friend request came in and he recorded her saying, "No, he did not rape me." A judge dismissed the conviction yesterday during a hearing that took less than a minute. "It's been a nightmare," says Banks.