Trump won't apologize to exonerated Central Park Five, maintains their guilt

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday stood by claims he made about five men who were wrongly convicted for the brutal rape of a female jogger in New York City’s Central Park 30 years ago.

Dubbed the “Central Park Five,” the men have faced renewed attention after becoming the subjects of a Netflix miniseries about them.

The five black and Hispanic men were teenagers when they were convicted. They said their confessions were coerced.

Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after evidence linked a serial rapist to the crime. Another man confessed to the crime and DNA tests confirmed his guilt.

Director Ava DuVernay, centre, with the Central Park Five, from the left, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Anthony McCray and Yusef Salaam, attend the world premiere of ‘When They See Us,’ the Netflix series about their case. (Donald Traill/Invision/Associated Press)

Asked by a reporter outside the White House Tuesday whether he would apologize to the five men, Trump said: “Why do you bring this question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up.”

“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that,” he said, referring to one of the prosecutors in the case.

Trump took out full-page newspaper ads at the time calling for the five to receive the death penalty.

New York City reached a roughly $41-million US settlement with the five without admitting wrongdoing.

Trump said some prosecutors believe the city should never have settled in the case.

Fairstein was forced to resign from multiple boards earlier this month following strong reaction to her portrayal in the series. Her book publisher has also dropped her, and there are calls to boycott her best-selling crime novels.

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