The five black and Latino men, who were then teens, were convicted in 1989 of raping a 28-year-old woman in Central Park. But DNA evidence and a confession by a serial rapist later cleared Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Yusuf Salaa and Raymond Santana in 2002, after the five had spent as long as 13 years in prison.
In an op-ed published in the New York Daily News on Saturday, Trump calls the settlement a "disgrace."
My opinion on the settlement of the Central Park Jogger case is that it’s a disgrace. A detective close to the case, and who has followed it since 1989, calls it “the heist of the century.”
Settling doesn’t mean innocence, but it indicates incompetence on several levels. This case has not been dormant, and many people have asked why it took so long to settle? It is politics at its lowest and worst form.
Trump doesn't directly say he thinks the men are actually guilty of the crime they were wrongfully convicted of, but he does say, "These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels."
The five men initially confessed to the crime, but they recanted their confession at trial and said it was brought about after they were coerced by police officers who did not allow their parents to be present during their lengthy and exhausting interrogation, according to Democracy Now.
On May 1, 1989, while the case was in the media spotlight, Trump took out full-page advertisements in four New York newspapers calling for the return of the death penalty and saying that "criminals of every age'' who raped the woman in Central park should "be afraid," according to the New York Times.
Last year, TheGrio.com reported that Trump tweeted, then deleted, the question: "what were the men doing in the park, playing checkers?”