In 2002, when she was just 15, Wanetta Gibson (left), told police that NFL hopeful Brian Banks (right) dragged her across their school campus and raped her. Brian was arrested, tried and locked up. He spent more than five years in prison and another five years on parole. He had to register as a sex offender and was still wearing an ankle monitor until Thursday May 24th when he was exonerated after Wanetta admitted she lied about the kidnapping and rape.

While Brian was locked up, Wanetta’s family successfully sued the school district, claiming it had failed to adequately protect her. The school paid the family $1.5 million.

After ten years of torture for Brian, Wanetta eventually admitted in a videotaped interview with a private investigator that Brian never raped her. But then she was very concerned about the huge pay out her family received. “I will go through with helping you, but … all that money they gave us, I mean me, I don’t want to have to pay that back,” Gibson said on tape. She later refused to repeat her story to prosecutors, but her videotaped confession was enough to exonerate Brian.

A young athlete’s dream of a pro football career was rekindled on Thursday when his conviction for raping a high school classmate was thrown out after his accuser admitted the attack never happened.

Over the cheers of his family and supporters, Brian Banks, 26, called it “the best day of my life, by far.”“If I can do this, I can get through anything,” he told The Daily just after leaving a Long Beach, Calif., courtroom. “This was my hardest part, and, as they say, good things go to people who hustle while they wait.”

In a strange twist, Banks got the chance to clear his name in February 2011 when his accuser contacted him through Facebook and asked him to “let bygones be bygones.” Wanetta Gibson later admitted on tape that Banks had never raped her, setting the stage for yesterday’s dramatic reversal.

When the judge agreed to throw out his conviction on Thursday, Banks lowered his head and wept.

Later, the burly onetime linebacker said he had left behind anger but had not lost his ambition to play in the NFL. “I knew by hanging onto bitterness, it would keep me strangled,” he said.

It was unclear on Thursday whether Banks’ accuser would face any charges. She did not attend Thursday’s hearing and efforts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful. In a videotaped interview with a private investigator, Gibson admitted repeatedly that the rape and kidnapping story was fabricated. She also voiced concern about a payout — $1.5 million — she received from the Long Beach school district while Banks was in prison.

“I will go through with helping you, but … all that money they gave us, I mean me, I don’t want to have to pay that back,” Gibson said on tape. She later refused to repeat her story to prosecutors, according to court documents filed by Banks’ attorney.

In 2002, Banks was a 17-year-old senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School with big dreams. The school’s legendary athletic program has spawned dozens of pro sports careers, and was once named the best in the country by Sports Illustrated. A standout linebacker and special teams player, Banks was headed to the University of Southern California on a full scholarship after being heavily recruited by other powerhouse programs.

But his hopes appeared to come to an end in July 2002 after Banks and a 15-year-old Gibson ducked into a school stairway to make out. They did not have sex, but the girl later claimed Banks dragged her across campus and raped her.

The story didn’t hold water, said Banks’ attorney. Gibson gave varying locations for the alleged attack. No DNA was found. Also, how was she dragged across campus in broad daylight without anyone seeing them? Despite the lack of evidence, prosecutors offered Banks a difficult choice: Take a plea in hopes of a short sentence, or face a sentence of 41 years to life.

Banks said he agreed to plead no contest after his lawyer said a jury would see “a big black teenager, and you’re automatically going to be assumed guilty.”

While Banks was behind bars, Gibson’s family successfully sued the school district, claiming it had failed to adequately protect her. The school paid the family $1.5 million, according to Gibson.

Banks said he was shocked when she contacted him online. He was even more surprised when she agreed to speak with him and a private investigator face-to-face, and then admitted fabricating the tale.

“The case was built on nothing,” said Banks’ attorney, Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project. “He took the plea because he was scared and facing 40 years in prison, and his lawyer was telling him to take it.”

Brooks said Gibson admitted she became upset during the encounter when Banks “said something obnoxious to her, and she stormed out and called it rape, and it just snowballed from there.”

Late last year, Banks began an intense workout regime with professional trainers in hopes of getting a try-out with a professional football team. All the while, he had to wear a plastic monitor strapped to one ankle.

“Every day I wake up, I put an extra sock on my GPS to keep it nice and snug and keep it from flying around while I work out,” he said. Brooks said they hoped to have it removed late yesterday.

Banks said he would continue to train. His dream tryout: “The team that wants to give me a chance.”

Pulled from The Daily Post

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  1. Yes, I couldn’t agree more. More importantly, if nothing is done to her, who else besides Robert Shannon and Doug Haubert should we kick out of the Long Beach attorneys office? And, if these were appointed positions, who appointed them?

  2. Face of true evil as she is called, evil personified, she should be flushed out,,,,

  3. SupremeVictory says:

    Evil is not good enough for her. I’m not even sure there is word in the English vocabulary that can describe this travesty.

  4. celia lamb says:

    she should be prosecuted and the family made to pay back the money they got from the school and then the attorney & state should be made to pay this young man a huge amount of compensation (they all have insurance and that is what insurance is for). And then you should all try to change these disproportionate sentences which make people (who don’t have top class lawyers) admit to things they obviously didn’t do (lack of DNA, etc etc) for fear of being given 40 years! Some things we do slightly better (I am writing from the UK) than you and our justice system whilst flawed is fairer to the poor than yours.

    • Letsby Clear says:

      HEY! In the UK, we give £11,000 compensation for making a rape claim whether true or fabricated and the case does not even have to go to court to get the money. The UK has an elephant in the room here that is skewing the data giving UK men a tarnish that they do not deserve. This case has had a happy ending for the falsely accused only because the girl admitted she lied. Girls – if you wanna get paid, get your rape claim in now because after the SOA 2005 you have been raped every time you have had sex whilst drunk so tot ‘em up and get £££££££’s before the government wakes up and sees a bill that could cut like it was solar.

      Lets hope that this young man gets what he deserves in his life from now on.

    • Totally not true. Because there is almost no cultural conversation around racism in the UK (and only recently about class) the UK has unbelievable problems with racism and class. My boyfriend was heavily encouraged not to take his a-levels because as a poor person from Coventry they did not want him to mess up their averages. The justice system is influenced by and includes social systems, which are terrible towards race and class in the UK. Not because you are terrible people, but because you are human. British exceptionalism makes a lot of British people incapable of imagining themselves as being human enough to have these types of problems. So there is very little social conversation about racism and class (until very, very recently) and therefore incredible problems with it. The UK is absolutely not a place people should look to as a model of egalitarianism. When I lived there I heard people going up to others speaking Polish and Spanish and scream at them “SPEAK ENGLISH” – like 5 times. I’ve never seen this in my entire life in the US. And if you think these attitudes don’t leak into your institutions, you are very naive.

  5. What I want to know is why the attorney that represented Banks in his original proceedings isn’t being brought up on malpractice charges. I mean the evidence is overwhelming in his defense.

  6. Brenda-lee Kinsey says:

    This is so sad and it reminds me of the Mark Anthony speech. “The evil that men do’eth cometh after them.the goodness is oft enterred in their bones. For the gentleman I hope that some team out there gives him his chance to shine in the light of goodness and make him realise his dreams. For the young lady. She’s taking the first steps towards cleansing her soul. May that be the pattern that she continually follows. I’m South African.

    • Deborah says:

      @ Brenda: Your words are very profound. My prayer is that Brian is able to realize his dream. I also agree that this young lady is taking a step towards atonement. In making the false accusation, she showed immaturity and poor judgment. I am glad she stepped forward to admit the false claim.

      • Except she refused to admit this to prosecutors. He’s just lucky her confession was recorded.

      • BBA1985 says:

        Atonement? You truly must be joking. If not, then u r DEFINTELY as ignorant as Wanetta and her terrible family. What she is doing is not any form of atonement, as surely u know she wouldn’t even repeat her lies to the court. She is nothing but a liar and coward and needs to be punished for the CRIME she has committed against this young man. Rape is not something to be taken lightly and is a very serious offense and needs to be treated as such. When someone completely lies about something so serious they need to pay the price for this terrible deed. Not only is the accused tainted by this for life, as well as his family, but by lying about something so horrible it brings up the old adage of “crying wolf” and takes away from the significance of someone who has actually been raped. U saying she is in the steps of atonement is just hurtful to even hear. U have no right to make such a comment, especially if u were intelligent enough to look at the facts. The only person who could say such a thing is Brian Banks and him alone. Have the decency to understand the severity of this situation.

        • She can only offer her repentance to THE CREATOR and pray that it is accepted. I’m sure her parents and everyone knew she was lying and they either initiated or played along with the false accusation for the money. it is very difficult for a basically good person to hide a lie like that without encouragement or coaching from others. Wanetta coming forth when Brian’s sentence is just about up is suspect and seems like a ploy to avoid prosecution. We can get to the bottom of this, all we have to do is follow the MONEY!

    • I can certainly appreciate your sentiment. However, if she was truly sorry, she would have spoken up long ago. She would have gone to the prosecutor, told her on the record that she lied, and paid back the money. Instead, she told Banks but refused to step forward on the record or give back the money (I doubt she has it anyway). The sickening part is, knowing what kind of person she is now, she might have been trying to set him up again.

      There must be punishment for people like this.

  7. Banks’ attorney definitely should shred his bar card! Who tells a client, “you’ll be seen by the jury as a big black criminal…” Even if that is the perception, that doesn’t excuse being a lazy lawyer….I just saw a documentary, Murder on a Sunday Morning. It was a case of a wrongfully accused black teenager, who was represented by a white Public Defenders, Pat McGuiness and Ann Finnell in Jacksonville, FL.

    As for Gibson, if she’s the face of evil, then the system is the body of evil. We have to change it! Better we all get involved in work like the Innocence project, rather than sit around watching law & order and other shows that mislead us about the justice system.

    • I think you live in a perfect make believe world. What the lawer told Banks was what is reality in this world of ours.
      So sad.

      • Saquetta Welford says:

        You know they say going to trial is not ALWAYS the best thing to do, BUT in his case if the situation was different and he had an attorney for him, they probably would’ve found more loop holes in Gibson’s story than you could imagine. I know they would’ve found inconsistencies with her version of the story vs his because after a while, it’s hard to keep telling the same lie; which in her case she believed her own lies. She’s a coward and should be ashamed to go back into court recanting lies that took a decade of a young man’s life on the verge of greatness. People today are just plain evil and don’t care who they hurt in the process. That’s just the reality of it and yes when you say this is the world we just happen to live in.

    • I totally agree about his attorney, the prosecutor had a very weak case with no evidence whatsoever and Gibson’s story didn’t add up. He only wanted to get rid of that case and was being lazy. While its true that racism is always present in our society that doesn’t automatically mean that he would have gone to jail if he faced a jury.

      I sure hope that she goes to jail and has to repay everything and more.

  8. kenneth says:

    Looks like the school failed to ‘adequately protect’ Banks.

  9. BBA1985 says:

    Wanetta Gibson is the definition of scum and just a completely horrible person. Evil really doesn’t even begin to define what she did to Brian Banks. She stole 10 years of this man’s life, plain and simple, and that’s not even including the effect it had on his family and friends. Not only did this horrendous and hideous woman completely lie about the entire ordeal, she also made a profit off of it. This is absolutely one of the worst things u can ever do to another human being. How she is not in jail right now is totally beyond me. It’s absurd that he had such poor legal representation and that a case was even brought about being that there was ZERO evidence besides racial bias, which sickens me to my core. Why would anyone believe such a disgusting excuse of a woman? Really makes u doubt our legal system. I pray that justice is served and this woman and her trashy family totally pay back they money the received in full including interest, which is as close to blood money without someone dying as possible, and they serve jail time

  10. MICHELLE says:


  11. Gibson is a SORRY EXAMPLE OF A WOMAN AND A HUMAN BEING! Put her in jail for 10 years. Let her get a taste of her own medicine. Make ANY family member that enjoyed that money and encouraged her to fabricate such an accusation pay that money back!! How the hell does she still have freedom?? Her, her whole family and this “justice system” disgust me!! She should be waking up to rapist and criminals because she deserves it. He didn’t!! I REALLY REALLY hope his dreams of becoming an NFL Player comes true. I hope he is awarded money for his pain and suffering. My heart goes out to him. What if this had happened to her brother, cousin, nephew or father? She has NO heart and is as evil as a murderer! She gets no pat in the back for telling the truth to an undercover investigator. She didn’t know she was being taped. At this point I wouldn’t even care if she dropped on her knees and asked for forgiveness. She has to deal with that with the MAN upstairs! Throw her in jail and make her pay that money back and give that man what was given to her! Mr. Banks if your reading this I pray for you and your family that your life with be filled with so much joy and happiness that this filthy situation will not affect your new life! GOD BLESS YOU!

  12. Saquetta Welford says:

    Even In one’s darkest hour, triumph can still happen. I am so HAPPY for Banks as I was brought to tears while watching the TODAY show when his exonuration was given by the Judge a few weeks ago. Not only did the court system fail Banks, the school district and his attorney FAILED in the worst ways. I just don’t understand HOW one can make a claim, present NOT one shred of evidence, and basically get a conviction on HE SAID SHE SAID. As a professional in the medical field it sickens me to my heart that not one PIECE OF medical evidence was EVER involved. Heck I was waiting to hear about things like clothing that was kept, RAPE Kit, etc. But nope, nothing ever obtained from what I understand. I’ve been in this world long enough to know that BAD things happen to good people sometimes, but it is GOD that is always the presiding JUDGE over everybody. We are his vessels and are used as examples at times, so therefore we must not forget that. The old saying is true that you can’t keep a good man down and I not only pray for Banks, but know that he will be drafted and will succeed in the NFL. in 2012. To the accuser Gibson, it’s really sad that she destroyed a life in order for monetary gain. That in my opinion is blood money of which her and her family will not do any good from it. She should be tried for lying in court and have to do her own jail time, community service, most definitely pay all the money back. She’s such a heartless person, but what goes around comes around. Karma is a mother when’s it’s back at U. GOD bless Banks and his family.

  13. A women’s worth…ha.

  14. Its seems to me Wanetta Gibson is a prostitute rather than a rape victim if she effectively got paid $1.5 million. Pure evil but typical of the US mentality these days.

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