Former high school football start Brian Banks said he’s “happy to be free” after a California judge exonerated him of a 2003 rape conviction because his accuser recanted her testimony.
“It was bittersweet, you know, just happy to be free now, happy to clear my name, but also very much in a reflective state and just remembering everything I’ve been through to get to this point,” Brian Banks told TODAY’s Ann Curry Friday.
In high school, Banks was awarded a scholarship to the University of Southern California and was regarded as a top college football prospect with good chances of going into the NFL, but his professional sports prospects were derailed by the conviction.
Though Banks, now 26, had always maintained his innocence, he pleaded no contest a decade ago to charges that he raped a fellow student. A plea deal meant he served nearly six years in prison, instead of the 41 he could have faced.
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