The View: Brian Banks Atlanta Falcons & California Innocence Project

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The View: Brian Banks

In 2002, high school football star Brian Banks was planning for his NFL future. But accusations of a crime he did not commit landed Banks in jail for five years, instead of on the football field. He joined The View for a Real Life Hot Topics segment.

The View: Brian Banks Exonerated

At age 16, Banks was being recruited for college. At a turning point in his high school career, everything changed. He and a friend went to a makeout spot on campus, but he said they only kissed.

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The View: Brian Banks Atlanta Falcons & California Innocence Project

After spending five years in prison and being exonerated, 27-year-old Brian Banks is starting a new chapter in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons this year. (SeanPavonePhoto / Shutterstock.com)

Later that day, he was arrested for assaulting her and wound up in prison for five years, despite a lack of physical or DNA evidence. On the advice of his attorney, Banks pled no contest to the charges at the time, for fear of being convicted and facing a life sentence.

The View: California Innocence Project

Justin Brooks from the California Innocence Project said that 95% of criminal cases end in plea bargains, which means that Banks’ situation is more common than we would like to think.

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Banks had about 10 minutes to decide whether to take his deal, and Brooks said that adults in his shoes might make the same choice.

The View: Brian Banks Plea

Brian’s mother was in the audience for The View, and Whoopi Goldberg said that she could not believe Banks wasn’t allowed to consult with his mother before making the choice to enter a plea.

Brian was released in 2007 after five years in prison. Meanwhile, Banks’ accuser won a $1.5 million settlement against the school.

The View: Brian Banks Exonerated

After his release, Banks got a Facebook friend request from his accuser. She was interested in becoming friends, which is shocking to me.

Banks worked with a private investigator to get his accuser on tape admitting that all her accusations were false.

For the next year, Banks worked with the California Innocence Project to clear his name. But 27-year-old Banks does not want people to pursue his accuser.

Brooks said that even with the video evidence, there was still no guarantee he would be exonerated.

The View: Brian Banks Atlanta Falcons

The happy ending to this story is that Banks has now been signed with the Atlanta Falcons for the 2013-2014 season. What do you think of this unbelievable story?

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