Donald Trump Refuses to Admit the Central Park 5 Are Innocent

Trump "was the fire starter, he lit the match," says one of the falsely accused group
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2016 3:26 PM CDT
Trump Still Believes the Central Park 5 Are Guilty
FILE - This 1990 file photo provided by Sundance Selects shows accused rapist Yusef Salaam, second right, being escorted by police in New York in 1990.   (AP Photo/Sundance Selects, NY Daily News, File)

Donald Trump has revived the controversy over his opinion on the 1989 "Central Park Jogger" case. New York City was rocked by the sensational crime, in which a young woman jogging alone in Central Park at night was bludgeoned, raped, tied up and left for dead. Five teenage boys—four black and one Latino—confessed to the crime after two days under intense police interrogation during which they say they were denied sleep and food, although each person accused another of the actual rape. Trump inserted himself into the conversation two weeks after the attack by buying full-page ads in several New York papers. The ads didn't address the controversy directly, but it was pretty obvious what Trump was talking about when he called for the city to "BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY" in big, bold type.

In 2002, a separate man confessed to the crime, and his DNA was matched to semen found at the scene. No DNA evidence linking the teens to the crime was ever found. The "Central Park 5" were exonerated by the legal system, and in 2014, the city of New York paid the group $41 million to settle the case—a settlement Trump called a "disgrace." He repeatedly refused to apologize for his stance, and just this week, Trump doubled down on his decades-old conviction. In a statement to CNN (which ThinkProgress notes he offered up because CNN was doing a retrospective on the case) he said, "They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous." One of the Central Park 5 recently spoke out, saying Trump was the one who "lit the match" of public opinion against them. You can watch that video on Twitter. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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