Football Star Exonerated of Rape Conviction, Won’t Sue Accuser
(LOS ANGELES) — A rising California football star who was convicted of raping a high school classmate and spent six years behind bars before being exonerated will not press charges against the woman who falsely accused him, his lawyer reportedly says.
A lawyer for Brian Banks told the Los Angeles Times Saturday that the 26-year-old would not pursue any action against Wanetta Gibson, a high school classmate who accused him of rape.
“We do not plan on taking any legal action against Gibson,” Justin Brooks of the California Innocence Project told the Times. “We do plan on filing a state claim for the $100 a day Brian is entitled to under State Law 4900 for every day he was wrongfully incarcerated.”
Banks had a full football scholarship to the University of Southern California back in 2002, when Gibson accused him of kidnapping and raping her following what was actually a “consensual sexual encounter,” according to new court documents detailing the Gibson’s recantation. The two had been “making out pretty heavily” but did not have intercourse, Banks’ lawyers wrote.
Gibson did not recant before because she feared losing the $1.5 million she and her family won from a civil suit against Long Beach Unified School District following the incident.
Banks was out of jail and on parole as a registered as a sex offender, when Gibson friend-requested him on Facebook in February 2011. He didn’t accept, but asked her to meet with him and a private investigator. They recorded the recantation, and the California Innocence Project, a law program that aims to exonerate wrongfully convicted inmates, took on the case.
“I’m just thankful to be free now and have the opportunity like anybody else to thrive in life,” Banks told ABC News Radio on Thursday.
The former star athlete also hopes to don his football cleats once more.
“I’ve been training since October of last year in hopes of giving football another shot,” Banks said. “I’m hoping to possibly receive a try out from a team.”
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