President Trump on Tuesday refused to apologize to the “Central Park Five” for calling for their executions over rape and assault convictions that were later overturned.
“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally in Florida.
Trump in 1989 took out full-page ads in New York newspapers calling for the death penalty against the five boys, aged 14 to 16, who were later convicted of raping and assaulting a young woman jogging in Central Park in what became a high-profile case.
The boys’ 1990 convictions were later overturned after convicted murderer Matias Reyes confessed to the crime, a confession backed up by DNA evidence.
Trump’s stance is receiving new scrutiny in the wake of “When They See Us,” a recent Netflix documentary focused on the case. White House correspondent April Ryan, who asked the president the question, had earlier Tuesday called on him to apologize.
The president seemed puzzled by the line of questioning, asking Ryan, “Why do you bring that question up now?”
Trump also blasted the $41 million settlement the five men – Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise – received in 2014, saying some of the prosecutors “think that the city should have never settled that case.” The men say they were coerced into giving their confessions.