Central Park Five exoneree calls Trump verdict 'karma'

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“Central Park Five” exoneree Raymond Santana called former President Trump’s verdict in his hush-money case “karma.” 

“For me, it was about karma,” Santana said during his Saturday appearance on CNN with anchor Victor Blackwell, highlighted by Mediaite. “It was the example of, this is what happens when rich billionaires who stand on white privilege now have to answer, right?”

“So it becomes a surreal moment. It also becomes a moment where you just got to take it in, right? This is the stuff that we had to deal with of 1989: going through trial, hearing the conviction, hearing a guilty verdict. And then, now having to sit there and wait for sentencing. I understand that process all too well.”

Santana, now an actor, is one of the five Black and Hispanic teens who were wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a white woman in 1989 in the same courthouse where Trump was tried. Each of them served time in prison until 2002 when DNA evidence exonerated them. 

Blackwell noted in the segment that the former president paid for full-page ads in newspapers at the time that “called for the death penalty to be reinstated in New York” following the accusations against the boys, who were aged 14 and 15 at the time.

Trump was found guilty on all 34 felony counts in his New York hush-money case, getting convicted on Thursday by a Manhattan jury for falsifying business records to hide alleged affairs during his 2016 presidential campaign. 

Santana said it was a “surreal moment” witnessing somebody of Trump’s “stature” having a similar experience in court. 

“And, so, I think now, it’s like, you get to see a person of Donald Trump’s stature right,” Santana said. “Who was a former president, and now you get to see that he’s not above the law, that he can be touched. That he can have this experience that’s very similar to mine. It becomes a moment that is a surreal moment. It’s a full circle moment for me.” 

When he was asked about Trump’s sentencing, Santana said that “in a perfect world” he would love to see the former president go to prison, but stated that the only thing he is thinking about is asking the former president if “do you think that we’ still guilty?”

Rev. Al Sharpton also invoked the Central Park Five following Trump’s guilty verdict.

“These children had to hear vitriol from people whose anger was incited by a man who spent a small fortune on full-page ads calling for their execution,” Sharpton said. “Now the shoe is on the other foot. Donald Trump is the criminal, and those five men are exonerated. I’m reminded of Dr. King’s proverb that the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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