After 5 years in prison, former prep football star exonerated for rape, kidnapping

It took 10 years, but a star high school athlete was finally rightfully acquitted of rape and kidnapping charges related to an incident he took no part in, all after already serving five years in jail after he was advised to plea bargain his sentence rather than risk spending 41 years or more locked up.

As reported by the Associated Press, Good Morning America and a variety of other outlets, 27-year-old Brian Banks was officially acquitted of the violent charges against him after his accuser recanted her story after a bizarre turn of events that began when the woman reached out to Banks on Facebook.

While the accuser, a woman named Wanetta Gibson, told Banks she wanted to "let bygones be bygones", she was hesitant to repeat the story she told the former Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic High football star to prosecutors because she was afraid that she would have to forfeit the $1.5 million civil settlement her mother won against the Long Beach school district in connection with the case.

Former Long Beach Poly star Brian Banks — Associated Press
Former Long Beach Poly star Brian Banks — Associated Press

There's no word on whether Gibson's mother will have to forfeit that cash, but with the charges against Banks quickly withdrawn on Thursday, the one-time can't miss athlete has had his criminal record expunged and finally has renewed hopes of re-starting a football career which many believed would land him a lucrative NFL contract.

"I've been training since October of last year in hopes of giving football another shot," Banks told ABC's Good Morning America. "I'm hoping to possibly receive a try out from a team."

As to whether Banks holds a grudge about the accuser whose false testimony led to five years behind bars for the former surefire college star, he clearly plans to take the high road.

"I've been asked that question a couple of times and my answer's always been no," Banks told GMA. "You know I can hold on to that, that bitterness and that anger. It won't get me anywhere."

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