It may come as a surprise to some, but Donald Trump can say some outlandish things. When he’s not admonishing Nevada residents for how they are pronouncing the name of their state, he is decrying exonerated criminals. On Friday, Trump said the Central Park Five were guilty, despite them being exonerated for a 1989 rape case.
The Central Park Five were a group of teenagers that were convicted of a brutal sexual assault of a jogger in 1989. Defenders of the group believe they were coerced into admitting their guilt through intense questions, although DNA evidence involving a man who later confessed to the crime cleared the group of any wrongdoing. The group was exonerated and paid $41 million by the city for the ordeal in 2014.
Back in the late 1980s, Trump responded to the crime by paying for a full-page ad in the New York Daily News, in which he pleaded for the state to bring back the death penalty. None of the boys were older than 16 at the time, and all were either black or Latino. In a statement to CNN, Trump now says he is still standing by his original take:
“They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”
Even with DNA evidence and an exoneration both sitting right in front of him, Trump just won’t believe it. But he’s remaining committed to an opinion, which is a change of pace from his usual flip-flopping on issues.