As Donald Trump hammers away at President Obama over his college grades and birth certificate, one of the men who was vindicated in the infamous Central Park jogger rape case calls Trump a big phony who called for his execution before he even went to trial. Raymond Santana tells NY1 News that, "It says a lot about his character. If he can give the death penalty to 14 and 15 year old kids - then there's nothing he would not do. Those are characteristics of a tyrant - not characteristics of a President."
Trump is basking in the glow of media attention with a new Rasmussen poll that gives him an edge over star GOP contenders like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. But Raymond Santana says Trump refuses to apologize for taking out full-page ads in four New York City newspapers in 1989 that called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York specifically for the five youths, whose videotaped confessions sent shockwaves around the world and fueled a media firestorm. The teens later recanted their confessions, and they also claimed detectives coerced them to make the damning statements.
In 2002, Matias Reyes confessed that he attacked the jogger alone and DNA linked him to the scene. The convictions of the five men were almost immediately vacated.
A new book called The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding is due out on May 17 and promises to shine a harsh spotlight on the plight of the men who have not yet received compensation from the city. They've been waiting for eight years. Author Sarah Burns says she found alarming evidence that the teens were naive and intimidated during the process. She says Donald Trump's explosive rhetoric was just one of many examples of how the scales of justice were tipped against the Central Park defendants.
Santana, who is currently suing the City of New York for malicious prosecution, says, "Donald Trump is an opportunist - he's also a user and abuser. It's time that people wake up and see Donald Trump for what he is - he is a phony. He could've come out and apologized - but he never did that."
Trump did not return calls for comment.