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    ‘For the first time I feel truly exonerated’: Central Park Five say they will be ‘sitting front row eating popcorn’ when he leaves the White House

    • Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam shared their jubilation at Donald Trump’s election defeat on social media
    • Santana summed up the group’s feelings in one word: ‘Justice’ 
    • Wise posted a video of himself celebrating, writing: ‘For the first time I truly feel exonerated’ 
    • Trump took out a full-page newspaper ad demanding that the men face the death penalty for raping a woman in Central Park in 1989  
    • All five were exonerated in 2002 after serving between six and 13 years in prison 
    • Trump has refused to apologize for his ad, maintaining that the men were guilty

    The Central Park Five say they can’t wait to watch President Donald Trump leave the White House in January after years of ‘dividing the country’.  

    Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam shared their jubilation at Trump’s defeat on social media after news outlets called the race for Joe Biden on November 7. 

    The men’s contempt for Trump stems back to 1989, when he took out full-page ads in four New York City newspapers demanding that they face the death penalty for the rape of a white woman in Central Park.  

    All five were exonerated in 2002 after serving between six and 13 years in prison when another inmate confessed to the attack.

    But Trump has refused to apologize for his ad, maintaining that the men were still guilty and calling a $41million settlement they were awarded by the city a ‘disgrace’ and ‘the heist of the century’.  

    Santana summed up the group’s feelings about Trump getting voted out of office in one word: ‘Justice.’ 

    He tweeted a recent photo of the four men with the message: ‘@realdonaldtrump you thought we wouldn’t make it, you thought we wouldn’t prevail. #TheExonerated5 #wearestillhere.’ 

    Wise, 48, also shared his joy in the caption of an Instagram video of himself dancing in the street, writing: ‘Thank you America for believing that your VOTE matters!!! 

    ‘It’s been a long time coming, but for the first time I truly feel exonerated.’  

    The Central Park Five – Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam (above from left to right) – shared their jubilation at  Donald Trump’s election defeat in a string of social media posts 

    Korey Wise, 48, posted a video of himself dancing in the street after Joe Biden was declared the winner, writing in the caption: 'Thank you America for believing that your VOTE matters!!! 'It's been a long time coming, but for the first time I truly feel exonerated'

    Korey Wise, 48, posted a video of himself dancing in the street after Joe Biden was declared the winner, writing in the caption: ‘Thank you America for believing that your VOTE matters!!! ‘It’s been a long time coming, but for the first time I truly feel exonerated’

    Richardson posted an Instagram photo of himself enjoying brunch with his wife Johansy after Biden won, writing: 'Celebrating the Defeat ( it was very personal!!!!! ) of Agent orange. Today was a good day. Time to restore this country, we have a lot of work to do, but let's do this'

    Richardson posted an Instagram photo of himself enjoying brunch with his wife Johansy after Biden won, writing: ‘Celebrating the Defeat ( it was very personal!!!!! ) of Agent orange. Today was a good day. Time to restore this country, we have a lot of work to do, but let’s do this’

    Santana attacked Trump in a lengthy Instagram post which featured a photo of Muhammad Ali towering over Sonny Liston after their World Heavyweight Championship boxing bout in 1965. In the caption he wrote: 'Your reign of terror is over.. no more lies, no more bulls***..now its time for you to leave that office and disappear'

    Santana attacked Trump in a lengthy Instagram post which featured a photo of Muhammad Ali towering over Sonny Liston after their World Heavyweight Championship boxing bout in 1965. In the caption he wrote: ‘Your reign of terror is over.. no more lies, no more bulls***..now its time for you to leave that office and disappear’

    The men's contempt for Trump stems back to 1989, when he took out a full-page ad (pictured) in four New York City newspapers demanding that they face the death penalty for the rape of a white woman in Central Park. All five men were exonerated in 2002 after serving between six and 13 years in prison when another inmate confessed to the attack

    The men’s contempt for Trump stems back to 1989, when he took out a full-page ad (pictured) in four New York City newspapers demanding that they face the death penalty for the rape of a white woman in Central Park. All five men were exonerated in 2002 after serving between six and 13 years in prison when another inmate confessed to the attack

    Santana took his attack on Trump even further in a lengthy Instagram post which featured a photo of Muhammad Ali towering over Sonny Liston after their World Heavyweight Championship boxing bout in 1965.  

    ‘You held the highest position in the land for 4 years and you did nothing but divide the country,’ he began.

    ‘You let racism surface and many lives were lost because you never stood on the side of justice. You spread lies and supported white supremacy. You mocked and made fun of the innocent. And because of your selfishness over 240,000 Americans lost there lives to a virus that could have been prevented. You could have saved them..but you didn’t. 

    ‘You will go down as the worst president in history. We will never forget how you almost Destroyed our country. How you disrespected our people and almost started a civil war. 

    ‘Well… Now it’s time. Your reign of terror is over.. no more lies, no more bulls***..now its time for you to leave that office and disappear… it’s time to let real people who care about this country now work on repairing and healing this country.’ 

    Trump has refused to apologize for his ad, maintaining that the men were still guilty and calling a $41million settlement they were awarded by the city a 'disgrace'

    Trump has refused to apologize for his ad, maintaining that the men were still guilty and calling a $41million settlement they were awarded by the city a ‘disgrace’

    Santana went on to share more personal grievances with Trump, referencing his commentary on the Central Park Five case. 

    ‘You thought that when you put out the $85,000 page ad in the newspaper that we wouldn’t survive. That we would be served with some kind of street justice.. but guess what? We are still here,’ he wrote. 

    ‘We get to watch as you make your exit out of the White House.. sitting in the front row…(getting my popcorn ready!)’ he added, tagging Richardson, McCray, Wise and Salaam. 

    Richardson shared a more succinct message, posting an Instagram photo of himself enjoying brunch with his wife Johansy after Biden won. 

    ‘Celebrating the Defeat ( it was very personal!!!!! ) of Agent orange ‘ he wrote. ‘Today was a good day. Time to restore this country, we have a lot of work to do, but let’s do this.’  

    Director Ava DuVernay, who brought the Central Park Five story to life with the 2019 Netflix series When They See Us, also extended her congratulations to the men on Twitter. 

    ‘Imagine the person who took out full-page ads to call for your execution being voted in as President of the United States,’ she wrote. 

    ‘Now, imagine that person being fired in shame. 

    ‘Sending my love to Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef. Enjoy this day, my brothers.’ 

    Director Ava DuVernay, who brought the Central Park Five story to life with the 2019 Netflix series When They See Us, also extended her congratulations to the men on Twitter

    Director Ava DuVernay, who brought the Central Park Five story to life with the 2019 Netflix series When They See Us, also extended her congratulations to the men on Twitter

    The Central Park Five, who now refer to themselves as ‘The Exonerated Five’, ranged in age from 14 to 16 when they were arrested in connection with the rape and brutal beating of a female jogger, 28-year-old Trisha Meili, in Central Park over 30 years ago. 

    Each teen confessed after lengthy police interrogations but later recanted, insisting they had admitted to the crime under coercion from police officers.  

    On May 1, 1989, ten days after the assault occurred, Trump took out a full page ad in four newspapers which read: ‘BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE. I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them.’

    New York state abolished the death penalty in 1965 except for in cases involving the death of a police officer.  

    Yusef Salaam

    Raymond Santana

    The Central Park Five in their mugshots (clockwise from top left): Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salam

    The Central Park Five case was brought to life in the Netflix series When They See Us last year. Richardson, McCray, Santana, Wise and Salaam (left to right) are seen on at the premiere

    The Central Park Five case was brought to life in the Netflix series When They See Us last year. Richardson, McCray, Santana, Wise and Salaam (left to right) are seen on at the premiere

    All five men were convicted and served several years in prison before their convictions were overturned in 2002 after another man confessed to the crime and DNA tests confirmed his guilt.   

    A year later they filed a $250million wrongful conviction lawsuit against New York City, which was settled for $41million in 2014. 

    At that time – one year before he announced his presidential bid – Trump called the settlement a ‘disgrace’. 

    ‘Forty million dollars is a lot of money for the taxpayers of New York to pay when we are already the highest taxed city and state in the country. The recipients must be laughing out loud at the stupidity of the city,’ he wrote in an op-ed for the New York Daily News.

    ‘Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts. These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels,’ he added. 

    Trump criticized the men again after he case returned to the spotlight with DuVernay’s When They See Us series, prompting a reporter to ask him about his advertisement in June 2019.  

    The president refused to apologize, asking incredulously: ‘Why do you bring that question up now? 

    ‘It’s an interesting time to bring it up. You have people on both sides of that. People have admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that,’ he said. 

    President Donald Trump refused to say if he owes an apology to the men in the Central Park Five case in June 2019 (pictured)

    President Donald Trump refused to say if he owes an apology to the men in the Central Park Five case in June 2019 (pictured)

    Biden sought to use Trump’s comments against him during the final presidential debate last month, saying: ‘This is the guy who in the Central Park Five, five innocent Black kids, he continued to push for making sure that they got the death penalty.

    ‘None of them, none of them were guilty of the crimes that were suggested.’

    Trump responded by insisting that he was the ‘least racist person in this room’ – drawing a heated response from Richardson.  

    In an interview with Newsweek, Richardson urged anyone who believes Trump is not racist to ‘do their research’. 

    ‘I don’t think they really realize what this man has done, even prior to his four years [in office],’ he said. ‘We have people that are still stuck in their own ways. And somehow they’re trying to justify or not recognize what this man has done to The Exonerated Five and our families.

    ‘To go on record and say that you have done more for the Black community since Abraham Lincoln is flat out wrong. I just think it’s blasphemy.’

    Richardson said during that interview that he can’t wait to see Trump voted out of office, saying: ‘It will be a great day.’

    Now he and his fellow Exonerated Five members appear to have gotten their wish – even though Trump has yet to concede nearly three weeks after Biden was declared president-elect.  

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