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Trump refuses to offer apology to the Central Park 5 wrongly convicted of rape in 1989

Trump took out ads in New York newspapers calling for the death penalty to be introduced at the time the five men were accused.

File image from 19 June, 2019
File image from 19 June, 2019
Image: Evan Vucci

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has refused to apologise to five teenagers wrongly convicted of rape in New York after calling for the death penalty to be reintroduced in the state when they were arrested.

The five men, known as the ‘Central Park 5′, were accused of assaulting and raping a female jogger in Central Park, New York, in 1989.

The five men claimed they were coerced by police to give a false confession and they were later exonerated in 2002, after another man confessed to the rape, which was confirmed by DNA evidence. 

The incident at the time sparked huge public debate with Trump taking out ads calling for the death penalty to be reintroduced in a number of New York newspapers.

A Netflix series about the Central Park case has reignited public debate and the show has proved popular in a number of countries.

The US president refused to offer an apology to the men involved when asked by a reporter today.

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

“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein (prosecutor) 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.”

The ads ran with a headline which read: “Bring back the death penalty. Bring back our police.”

He said: “I want to hate these murderers and I always will… I am not looking to psychoanalyse or understand them, I am looking to punish them,” he said. 

The men, who were aged between 14 and 16 at the time were handed prison sentences of up to 13 years each. 

In a settlement in 2014, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City agreed to pay more than $40 million to the five men. 

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