During a brief Q&A with the press on Tuesday, President Donald Trump once again appeared to suggest that he still believes the Central Park Five are guilty.
“You have people on both sides of that,” he told reporters. “They admitted their guilt.”
Trump has repeatedly tried to worm his way out of condemning racism with this sort of language — most infamously when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In 1989, the group of five African-American teenagers were convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park, and spent six to 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed to the crime. Their confessions were ultimately found to have been coerced, and DNA evidence proved them innocent. At the time of their conviction, Trump took out full-page ads in The New York Times calling to “Bring back the death penalty,” and even years after they have been exonerated, Trump continues to doubt their innocence, and openly said so during the 2016 presidential election.
The case has been in the news following a Netflix dramatization, “When They See Us.” Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor who oversaw the case and whose role has been broadly criticized, recently resigned from Vassar College amid the renewed scrutiny.
Watch the exchange below:
Holy shit — years after DNA evidence exonerated them, Trump suggests the Central Park 5 are guilty and refuses to apologize for saying they should be executed.
“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt.” pic.twitter.com/Tb8ENrBJ1I
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 18, 2019