Convicted of rape and kidnapping in 2003, former California high school football star Brian Banks is now a free man after the victim recanted.
Wanetta Gibson – who he’d known since middle school – told authorities he sexually assaulted her.
“We went into an area on campus that is known as a makeout spot, we kissed, we groped we touched, but we never had sex,” Banks told ABC, recalling the incident. “We ended things on a good note. I went back to class, by the end of the day I was in custody.”
After being charged with rape and kidnapping in 2003, Banks took a plea deal on the advice of his lawyer to avoid spending the rest of his life behind bars despite knowing he was innocent. His accuser, Wanetta Gibson, collected $1.5 million after suing the school over lack of safety on campus.
Banks’ accuser, Wanetta Gibson, had previously expressed to Banks a desire to tell the truth, but she feared having to repay a $1.5 million settlement with the school district they attended.
CBS reports Gibson then met with Banks in person and pledged to help him clear his name, but she was reluctant to reiterate her story to prosecutors because she didn’t want to give back the $1.5 million civil judgment awarded to her.
Despite Gibson’s hesitance, Banks was able to secretly record her admitting his innocence, which was enough for a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to reverse the conviction.
“To finally have my freedom back, I couldn’t ask for more,” said Banks, adding he he no feelings of revenge towards his accuser.
Now 26, Banks was a linebacker in high school. He had verbally committed to attend USC.