President Trump on Tuesday refused to apologize to the Central Park Five — asserting that “they admitted their guilt” and that there are “people on both sides” of the question of their innocence.
Trump jumped into the issue as a new Netflix series, “When They See Us” has dredged up memories of the sensational case, though the commander in chief seemed unaware of the show.
“Why do you bring that question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up,” Trump told a reporter who had asked about the case and noted that in 1989 Trump took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the resumption of the death penalty after the five teens were charged in the rape and attempted murder of a woman jogging in Central Park.
He then made a comment reminiscent of a statement he made in August 2017 following the deadly white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, when he said: “both sides” were to blame for the violence, a reference to the anti-fascist demonstrators.
“You have people on both sides of that,” Trump declared about whether the Central Park Five were guilty or innocent, as DNA evidence subsequently revealed.
“They admitted their guilt. If you look at [prosecutor] Linda Fairstein, and 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,” Trump said as he left Washington for a rally in Florida to kick off his 2020 campaign.
A court found that the teens’ confessions were coerced, but Trump said as recently as 2016 that they were guilty.
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