Donald Trump Stands By ‘Central Park 5’ Ad Calling for Death Penalty: ‘They Admitted Their Guilt’

The case has received renewed attention due to Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries “When They See Us”

Last Updated: June 18, 2019 @ 2:47 PM

As seen in Ava DuVernay’s new miniseries “Central Park 5,” five young men were wrongly convicted in a brutal 1989 attack on a jogger in Central Park, then exonerated when DNA evidence proved another man committed the crime — and he confessed. President Trump took out a newspaper ad before the men were exonerated, calling for their executions, but he said Tuesday that he has no regrets.

“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt,” Trump said on Tuesday when asked by a reporter if he feels he owed the five men an apology.

The men’s attorneys and the men themselves have said that the statements they made in policy custody were coerced.

In the days after the 1989 crime, Trump took out a full-page ad in the New York Daily News with the headline, “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back the Police.” In the ad, Trump wrote “muggers and murders” “should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”

When the five men were exonerated and received a $41 million settlement from New York City in 2014, Trump wrote an op-ed in the Daily News, calling the settlement a “disgrace” and blaming the city for the “mishandled disaster.” He added, “These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels.”

DuVernay’s Netflix minieries, “When They See Us,” covers the arrest, conviction, and eventual exoneration of the men, Kevin Richardson, Antron Mccray, Raymond Santana Jr., Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam. The five-part miniseries was released on May 31.

Trump may not have been aware of the miniseries existence when he answered the reporter Tuesday. He also referenced the prosecutor in the case, Linda Fairstein, who has disputed her portrayal in the series as an overzealous prosecutor.

“Why do you bring that question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up,” Trump said. “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.”

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