Judge signs $41 million Central Park Five settlement
On Friday, a federal court judge officially closed the Central Park Five case after signing off on the wrongfully-convicted quintet’s $41 million settlement with the city.
The deal was described as “an act of justice for those five men that is long overdue” by Mayor de Blasio, according to a statement released after the filing.
“We can finally put this case behind us, and these five men and their families can begin to heal these wounds and move forward.” But some of those wounds are still raw, as city officials and lawyers for the five still have opposing views about what happened.
The five black and Latino men were teens when they were convicted and jailed 24 years ago for a brutal “wilding” attack on Central Park jogger Trisha Meili that shocked the city.
The men, who later said they’d been coerced into confessing, had all served their sentences when career criminal Matias Reyes confessed to the crime.
His story was backed up by DNA evidence, and a judge vacated their convictions with the blessing of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Despite the ruling, the city did not admit any wrongdoing in the court filing.
The city’s top lawyer, Zachary Carter described what happened to the Central Park Five as “injustice,” but also said the deal “should not be construed as an acknowledgment that the convictions of these five plaintiffs were the result of law enforcement misconduct.”
Under the deal approved by Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson will receive $7.125 million for their years behind bars while Korey Wise, who spent 13 years in prison, will receive $12.25 million.
The city will also pay an additional $285,000 in legal fees. The rest will be paid from the five’s share of the settlement money.
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