President Donald Trump continued his refusal to apologize for his 1989 call to execute five teenagers who were falsely accused of rape in the notorious Central Park Five case.
“You have people on both sides of that,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday when asked if he would apologize. “They admitted their guilt.”
Trump then referred to Linda Fairstein, a prosecutor on the case who published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week standing by the prosecution.
“If you look at Linda Fairstein and look at some of the prosecutors,” he continued, “they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that.”
Trump took out full-page ads in New York City newspapers in 1989 calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York following the arrest of five teens ― four of whom were black and one Hispanic ― in connection with the rape of a white jogger in Central Park.
All five teens were convicted based on coerced confessions and little evidence. They were exonerated in 2002 thanks to DNA evidence and were paid millions by the city to settle lawsuits.
Trump paid $85,000 for the ads, which said the boys “should be forced to suffer, and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”
At a news conference following the arrest of the boys, Trump continued to lash out.
“It’s more than anger,” Trump told reporters at the time. “It’s hatred, and I want society to hate ’em.”
The Netflix series “When They See Us” was released last month and follows the story of the Central Park Five. It is currently Netflix’s most watched show, according to the streaming service. Ava DuVernay, the director of the series, told People that Trump’s past comments are “unconscionable.”
“The statements that he made and the ads that he took out, he took out two weeks after they were arrested, before their trial, calling for the deaths of the minors,” DuVernay told the publication.
As for people on the “other side,” Fairstein was dropped by her publisher following the release of “When They See Us” over her handling of the case.