The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Brian Banks exonerated: Lawyer discusses what led to football star's guilty plea

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Image of Brian Banks, a former star high school football player at Long Beach Polytechnic High School who was convicted of kidnapping and raping another high school student. The California Innocence Project is working to prove Banks's innocence.

UPDATE: The charges against Brian Banks have been dismissed by Long Beach judge Mark C. Kim, after a recantation by his accuser.

Listen to Brian Banks speak about his ordeal on the Patt Morrison Show

A decade ago, Brian Banks was a star high school football player at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. At the time, the 16-year-old was being heavily recruited by colleges, and a full scholarship to USC was waiting. A career in the NFL was not only a possibility, it was expected for the talented Banks.

That all changed when Banks pleaded no contest to kidnapping and raping another high school student. He spent six years in prison, but today, his lawyer Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project, will argue that the girl lied and that Banks should be exonerated.

There's videotape of the woman saying she wasn't raped and that she is afraid of coming forward because she might have to return the $1.5 million her family won from the Long Beach Unified School District in a civil suit.

Long Beach judge Mark C. Kim exonerated the football star today after Banks' following a recantation from his accuser.

“There are no words in any language, no gesture in any culture that can explain or describe what I have been through,” said Banks, shortly after his case’s dismissal. “I hope my story brings light to a major flaw in the judicial system. It is time for wrongful convictions to be addressed in the United States.”


Justin Brooks is director of the California Innocence Project and is representing Brian Banks in his appeal to have his sentence overturned.

Correction: This post originally said Banks had pleaded guilty to the charge. He actually pleaded no contest.

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