Skip to content


Brian banks wanetta gibson

brian banks wanetta gibson

Isn't he still upset at Wanetta Gibson, who falsely accused him of raping her in a stairwell, then stood by as Banks was sent to prison. Wanetta Gibson (pictured) was ordered by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Friday to pay a $1.5 million, plus an additional $1.1 million in. Wanetta Gibson told a lie that cost Brian Banks the chance to play football at the University of Southern California. That lie landed Banks.
brian banks wanetta gibson

youtube video

brian banks wanetta gibson

Brian Banks: Overcoming a ten-year speed bump

Meet Brian Banks.

Brian Banks

Brian Banks

Eleven years ago, he was a 16-year-old playing the game he loved, like many of us did back in the glory days– except that Brian was good…really, really good.

A 6’2?, 225-pound beast running a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, Banks was one of the top-rated high school linebackers in the country. All of the major college football programs recruited him tirelessly hoping he would come to their respective schools. Brian committed to play for USC, a program that would likely serve as a launchpad for his dream of playing in the NFL one day.

There he was, ready to showcase his supreme, God-given talent to the world at the collegiate level; the grass couldn’t get any greener for the high school star.

And then it happened.

No, Brian didn’t make a bonehead move and throw his future down the drain like we’ve become way too accustomed to seeing today. It was taken from him…wrongfully. He was accused of rape by a fellow student.

Brian proclaimed innocence throughout and was never linked to the crime by DNA testing. However, because of the fear of a sterner sentence if found guilty, he pleaded no contest on the advice of his attorney and was sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years of parole.

The former dream of playing football in the NFL had drastically shifted to simply wanting the freedom that was rightfully his.

During the latter part of his parole, his accuser contacted him via Facebook and wanted to “let bygones be bygones,” as he told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Brian arranged a meeting at a private investigator’s office, and Wanetta Gibson was videotaped admitting that Banks had never committed any crime against her. In May 2012, Brian was finally set free– exonerated by the same judge that had sentenced him ten years earlier.

Banks said the years of parole were almost tougher than prison before Gibson came forward.

“I couldn’t live within 2,000 feet of a school or park. It was impossible to find work. I had a GPS strapped to my ankle for five years. I couldn’t leave the state or county under any circumstances.”

But now with his freedom once again a reality, Banks could focus back on his primary dream all along– playing football in the NFL.

Last season, Banks worked out for several NFL teams. While none of them offered him a contract, he remained focused on his ultimate goal and signed with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL to garner some game experience. The UFL season was cut short due to financial reasons, but one team saw enough in Banks to give him a shot.

This past week, as FOX Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer initially reported with the tweet below, the Atlanta Falcons signed Brian Banks to a contract– making his seemingly impossible dream that much closer to fruition.


Glazer himself has an interesting relationship with Banks. Once Banks was exonerated, his agent Bruce Tollner approached Glazer, who trains athletes in mixed martial arts, about working with his hopeful client. When Glazer began working out with Banks and heard his story, he was moved and even began reaching out to NFL teams lobbying for him to get a chance.

After last season, the Falcons told Glazer they would give Banks a shot and work with him in the off-season if he wasn’t signed by a team yet. After they signed Banks this past week, Falcons coach Mike Smith told Glazer “I hope you never doubted us. We keep our promises.” In a world where a contract is hardly as meaningful as a napkin note, it’s refreshing to see a franchise stick to its word and give a deserving kid a chance.

For Banks, making the 53-man roster or the practice squad may still be an uphill battle, but the toughest task is well behind him.

“The biggest thing for me was to have my freedom be given back to me. Everything else is just me trying to live a life I once lost.”

Also ReadArticle Continues below

With the bulk of his prime taken wrongfully from him, you can’t help but root for the 27-year-old chasing his dreams despite overwhelming odds. Whatever happens with Mr. Banks, you can be certain a little bump in the road won’t slow him down.


Brian Keith Banks (born July 24, 1985) is a motivational speaker, former American football linebacker, and author. He is known for the 2018 biopic named after him and “What Set Me Free,” the book he wrote on his struggles and experiences while in prison.

As a high school football star at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California, Banks had a promising career in the National Football League ahead of him, although his journey was cut short after being falsely accused of rape by his classmate, Wanetta Gibson, in 2002. Banks spent the next ten years as a convict before his crimes could be proven false in 2012.

After his exoneration, Banks made his debut in the NFL signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Brian later resigned from professional football to become a renowned public speaker, as well as a full-fledged advocate against wrongful convictions.

In this article, we’ve prepared a detailed biography of Brian Banks – net worth, football career, girlfriend, and the motivational story behind it all, included.

Brian Banks – Net Worth

Brian Banks’ net worth is projected at $2 brian banks wanetta gibson from his football career and engagements in public speaking. The former football player for the Atlanta Falcons and the Las Vegas Locomotives seems to be living his dream lifestyle following his unfortunate conviction.

Early Life

Brian Banks was born and raised in Long Beach, California, to parents, Jonathan Banks and Leomia Myers. They are assumed to have lived a comfortable lifestyle with a modest net worth. He entered Long Beach Polytechnic High School and began to play for the Jackrabbits, the school’s football team, as a linebacker, eventually becoming a football star at Polytechnic High School.

Banks was a standout high school football player, known for his size and tremendous speed. Together with Freddie Parish, he and the Jackrabbits won the state championship for three consecutive years. Many NFL teams scouted the young Banks for their programs.

Brian lived with his mother while attending school in Long Beach, Los Angeles. Brian Banks is known to have at least one brother.

False Accusation of Rape

Brian Banks was accused of rape by Wanetta Gibson while attending Polytechnic High School summer school on July 2002. He was arrested for rape and kidnapping on the same evening.

While in court, Banks pleaded no contest to the charges at the recommendation of his lawyer in a bid for a lighter sentence. He spent five years in prison, as well as another five years in probation, as part of a plea bargain to avoid the original sentence of 41 years to life. Brian also had to register as a sex offender and keep a GPS tracker on his ankle at all times.

Brian stayed at the Parish residence with his friend, Freddie Parish IV, during his years in parole. Parish was one of the few friends who continued to visit Banks frequently in prison.

Wanetta Gibson would later contact Banks in 2011. With the help of the California Innocence Project and Freddie Parish III, a private investigator, Banks was successful in recording a taped admission from Gibson that she lied about the rape accusation. The evidence helped the CIP file a motion for Brian Banks and ultimately led to the reversal of his conviction and the removal of his status as a sex offender.

Gibson and her mother were subsequently sued by the Long Beach Unified School District for $2.6 million. Of that amount, $1.5 million was demanded from the amount originally taken by the Gibsons from the district in Brian Banks’ case.


For Brian Banks, returning to the football field was all but expected after being freed from his wrongful conviction. The Seattle Seahawks invited him to their minicamp in 2012. The Atlanta Falcons, on April 3 of 2013, had Banks signed in as a linebacker.

Prior to that, Banks previously signed as an undrafted free agent with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League, a now-defunct American football organization.

His skills as a linebacker were proven to have deteriorated over his time in prison. He played four games with the Atlanta Falcons until his release in August, four months later. Brian Banks would go on to serve in the NFL Department of Operations.

In 2014, Brian Banks delivered a speech at the National Football League Rookie Symposium to positive reception. In the succeeding years, Banks would pivot into motivational speaking and life coaching. It seems it was in speaking that Brian Banks’ net worth and greater purpose were enriched

Brian Banks is currently a member of the advisory board for the California Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations.

Motivational Speaker

Resigned from his football career, Brian Banks took on motivational speaking to help other people, especially fellow exonerees, come to terms with their problems. He has spent over half of the last decade in public speaking, which must have padded his net worth by a lot.

In his speeches, Brian retains a core principle from his years in prison called the “Power of Choice.” His messages typically include lessons on redemption, overcoming adversity, and retaining positivity in one’s life.

Brian Banks co-hosted the Oxygen TV show, Final Appeal, with Loni Coombs. In Final Appeal, Brian and Loni investigated controversial cases to find the facts and history behind wrongful convictions.


In 2018, director Tom Shadyac released the biographical film, “Brian Banks,” starring Aldis Hodge as the titular character and Brian Banks as an executive producer. The film revolves around Banks before and after prison, highlighting the difficulties he experienced in court, finding a job, and navigating through society. It concludes with Banks entering into a contract with Atlanta.

Recent Events

As of 2020, Brian Banks continues to serve as a speaker, with his website mainly highlighting his career in speaking engagements. He is also a stalwart member of CIP and has delivered speeches and petitions in support of other exonerees.

While Brian Banks’ net worth is considerably larger now, he remains an active force in the advocacy that helped clear his case.


Brian Banks currently has a girlfriend named Vanessa Alvarez. The couple currently have a child named O’Rion King together.

Brian Banks was previously married to Emmy Marino, with whom he had no children. Banks filed for divorce in 2017.

Micheal Renner

Micheal Renner

I've been passionate about self-development and always loved to read biographies. I started SuccessTitan to allow everyone to easily learn from the ultra-successful and achieve more in every area of their life.

Micheal Renner

Latest posts by Micheal Renner (see all)

Categories Athletes, Athletes, Net WorthИсточник:

California high school football star cleared of rape 10 years later

Former high school football start Brian Banks said he's "happy to be free" after a California judge exonerated him of a 2003 rape conviction because his accuser recanted her testimony.

"It was bittersweet, you know, just happy to be free now, happy to clear my name, but also very much in a reflective state and just remembering everything I've been through to get to this point," Brian Banks told TODAY's Ann Curry Friday.

In high school, Banks was awarded a scholarship to the University of Southern California and was regarded as a top college football prospect with good chances of going into the NFL, but his professional sports prospects were derailed by the conviction.

Though Banks, now 26, had always maintained his innocence, he pleaded no contest a decade ago to charges that he raped a fellow student. A plea deal meant he served nearly six years in prison, instead of the 41 he could have faced.

For more, visit

Banks had tried to win release while he was in prison, but Justin Brooks, a law professor and head of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law in San Diego, said he could not have been exonerated without the woman coming forward and recanting her story.

"Brian’s story is so compelling, and his case for innocence so clear, we knew we had to take this on," Brooks said in a press release. “Brian lost a huge part of his life when he was unjustly sent to prison."

Brooks said it was the first case he had ever taken in which the defendant had already served his time and had been free for a number of years.

Banks remained on probation, however, and was still wearing his electronic monitoring bracelet at the hearing Thursday. He also had to register brian banks wanetta gibson a sex offender. His lawyer said the first thing the two planned to do was report to probation officials and have the bracelet removed.

"The charges are dismissed now," Brooks said. "It's as if it didn't happen. . It was the shortest, greatest proceeding I've ever been part of."

Banks' accuser, Wanetta Gibson, reportedly friended Banks on Facebook after he got out of prison, saying she wanted to "let bygones be bygones."

According to documents in the case, she met with Banks and said she had lied, and she offered to help him clear his record.

But she later refused to repeat her statements to prosecutors because she was worried she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against the Long Beach Unified School District.

She told Banks, "I will go through with helping you but it's like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don't want to have to pay it back."

In a brief hearing Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark C. Kim told attorneys that the case was dismissed based on documents filed by Banks' attorneys.

"This is a kid who was a superstar,'' Brooks said. "He would be playing the NFL now if this hadn't happened.'"

Banks tweeted Wednesday, "So many people coming to show support tomorrow!! ‪#fullhouse‬ nothing but love and I love y'all back x2!!"

According to his website, he wants to produce a documentary about his life, and is hoping to return to football. He's been training since his release from prison in 2007.

"I think that any team that gives me an opportunity would be really impressed with what I can do despite all of what I've been through these past 10 years," Banks told TODAY's Curry.

He also said he hasn't thought about what should happen to Gibson.

"I do believe that everyone should be responsible for their actions, and if that action warrants some type of consequence, then I feel that, you know, it's justified," Banks said Friday, adding that he no longer feels angry and vengeful toward Gibson.

"I've had my moments where I was very angry and very vengeful but I know it was best for me to try and move forward in a positive manner for the betterment of me," he said. "It hurts no one but myself to hang on to that type of negative energy."

More content from and NBC News:

Follow US News on on Twitter and Facebook


Football Player Falsely Imprisoned for Rape, Exonerated, Gets Pro Contract

Ron is the founding pastor of a church in Harrisburg, PA. He is a graduate of Denver Seminary in Colorado.

Brian Banks has already experienced his worst nightmare. Now he’ll have the opportunity to live his dream. Falsely accused and imprisoned for rape, he was miraculously exonerated, then signed a professional football contract with the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football Brian banks wanetta gibson High School Football Star With a Bright Future

In 2002 Brian was a 16 year-old high school football star with a seemingly unlimited future ahead of him. He was a 6 ft 1 in, 240 lb linebacker who had verbally committed to playing college football at the University of Southern California, one of the biggest of the big-time programs. A student at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California, he was on his way to the school office to discuss his college prospects when he made a seemingly innocuous detour. That detour cost him ten years of his life.

An Unwise Encounter That Cost a Teenager His Freedom

According to Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, as Brian approached the office he ran into a friend he had known since middle school. She was Wanetta Gibson, then 15 years old. The two turned aside to a school stairwell, as they had often done before, for a “make out” session involving consensual sexual contact, but not intercourse. Brian believes he said something that made Gibson angry, and they parted on bad terms. The result was that she later accused him of kidnapping her by dragging her into the stairwell, and raping her there.

From that moment, Brian’s choices ceased to be about which college team he would lead to football glory before going on to a pro career in the NFL. In fact, his lawyer told him, he now brian banks wanetta gibson only two options to choose between: he could plead “not guilty” to the charges, and risk a possible sentence of 41 years to life if convicted; or he could plead “no contest” and be sentenced to about five years, probably actually serving no more than 18 months. The lawyer advised the latter course.

By now a terrified 17 year-old, whom prosecutors denied the opportunity to consult with his mother, Brian heeded the advice of his lawyer and pleaded “no contest.” In our legal system that is essentially an admission of guilt. As a result, he spent more than five years in prison. When he finally was released on parole, it was as a convicted sex offender required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet 24 hours a day. Unsurprisingly, he had trouble finding a job.

VIDEO: Brian tells his story prior to being exonerated

An Astonishing Facebook Friend Request

Then, in 2011, as Brian was still on parole, something astounding happened. He received a Facebook friend request. Unbelievably, it was from Wanetta Gibson, who wanted to “let bygones be bygones.”

Brian says he struggled to keep his emotions under control. He knew this represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to clear his name, and getting angry wouldn’t help. Instead, he says, "I stopped what I was doing and got down on my knees and prayed to God to help me play my cards right."

The card he decided to play was to team up with a private investigator named Freddie Parish. Together they met twice with Wanetta Gibson, and Parish secretly video taped the sessions. During the meetings Gibson frankly admitted that her accusations had been false, and said she would like to help Brian clear his name. However, there was a big obstacle standing in the way of her making her recantation public.

In the wake of the supposed rape, Gibson and her mother, Wanda Rhodes, had sued the Long Beach Unified School District for the “lax security” they claimed allowed the rape to take place. The school district settled the lawsuit by paying the two $1.5 million.

Now, as the video reveals, Gibson had some definite limits on her willingness to help the man she had so egregiously wronged. “I will go through with helping you,” she said, “but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back.” Because of that fear of being required to repay the money she had acquired by her fraudulent claim, Gibson refused so repeat her story to prosecutors so that Brian could be exonerated.

Brian Is Completely Exonerated of All Charges

But she didn’t know about the video. Working with the California Innocence Project, Brian presented the video taped recantation to district prosecutors. They immediately understood that an innocent man had been imprisoned. “We do not believe Mr. Banks did the crime he pled guilty to,” said Deputy District Attorney Brentford Ferreira.

Prosecutors moved to have the rape and kidnapping convictions overturned, and Brian Banks was completely exonerated of the charges for which he had spent ten years of his life in prison or on closely supervised parole.

This is a great story, with the potential to have an unbelievably happy ending. Wouldn’t it be great if Brian Banks made it big in professional football? I can already see the movie! At the very least, there will be a small measure of financial restitution, since California law provides that a person who is falsely imprisoned will receive $100 for very day they spent incarcerated. So, Brian Banks will get at least a tiny portion of compensation for all the dashed dreams and daily suffering he experienced for more than ten years.

VIDEO: A CBS interview with Brian after his exoneration

Will the Woman Who Falsely Accused Him Get Away With It?

But what about Wanetta Gibson? She was just 15 at the time she made the accusations against Banks. Tori Richards, writing for, quotes neighbors who maintain that it wasn’t so much Gibson, but her “controlling” mother, Wanda Rhodes, who cooked up the scheme to get a big unearned payday by suing the school district for a rape that never occurred. Should Gibson now brian banks wanetta gibson held legally accountable for the fraud she helped perpetrate as a teenager?

Prosecutors say that probably won’t happen – the case would be just too difficult to make. They also say it’s unlikely she’ll be required to pay back the $1.5 million acquired in the settlement of the suit.

Well, what about the mom who is thought to be the real force behind her daughter’s actions? Even one of Brian’s attorneys, Alissa Bjerkhoel of the California Innocence Project, believes that the teenage girl “was put up to this by her mother.” But it seems to me that if the case against Wanetta Gibson would be difficult to make, making one against Wanda Rhodes would be just about impossible, despite her lengthy record of serious criminal offences.

So, they get away with it.

After robbing a young man of ten years of his life, and defrauding a school district of $1.5 million dollars, and showing absolutely no remorse for any of it, it seems our legal system can’t hold this mother and daughter accountable.

Should Wanetta Gibson and her mother be prosecuted?

You Reap What You Sow

But the scales of life do balance. As the Bible san jose earthquakes 10k, whatever you sow, you will eventually reap.

According to the neighbors quoted by Tori Richards, Wanetta Gibson needn’t have been concerned about paying back the $1.5 million she and her mother stole – it’s all gone. Once they received their payout, the mother and daughter became big spenders. “The mom was buying cars, big screen TVs and all sorts of things,” remembers one former neighbor. “One time Wanetta came up here with a wad of cash – she had $10,000 in her hand.”

It wasn’t long until all the ill-gotten gains were gone. Now, according to public records, the women are in debt, moving from one place to another to stay ahead of bill collectors. The cars and other big-ticket items they bought have been repossessed or sold.

Tori Richards sums up the two women’s fate this brian banks wanetta gibson “Gibson and Rhodes continue to live in the shadows, untraceable and vilified for robbing a promising athlete of a college education and an NFL career.”

Brian's Opportunity for Greatness

The callousness displayed by Gibson and her mother toward a young man who had his dreams and years of his life ripped away from him is inexcusable and reprehensible in the extreme. I don't know how to express the disgust their actions merit. But I don't think that's the most important feature of this story.

What impresses me most is the kind of man Brian Banks has apparently become through this ordeal. He refuses to be bitter toward the woman who subjected him to such suffering. “For me, I just want to be positive,” he says. “I want to be in a better position than what I was yesterday. The only way that can happen is by eliminating any negative ill will or feelings toward anyone.”

I really hope Brian Banks is able to become a great professional football player. But even if that doesn’t happen, to my mind he is already on track to become a great human being.


In June of 2013 Wanetta Gibson was ordered to pay $2.6 million to Long Beach Unified School District because of the fraudulent claim she had made against it. The amount included repayment of $750,000 she had actually received from the district, plus the district’s court costs, plus $1 million in punitive damages. Gibson did not appear in court to contest the judgment, and her whereabouts were unknown.

In June of 2015 California Gov. Jerry Brown authorized a payment of $142,200 to Brian Banks for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

A film about Brian Banks and his ordeal opens in August of 2019.

Questions & Answers

Question: Did Wanetta Gibson get criminally charged for falsely accusing Brian Banks for rape?

Answer: No, Wanetta Gibson was never criminally charged for her false accusation against Brian Banks. But she was ordered to pay $2.6 million to Long Beach Unified School District to repay the $750,000 she received from them, plus their court costs, and another $1 million in punitive damages, for a total of $2.6 million. Of course it's unlikely that the school district will ever see a penny of what Gibson owes them, but at least she's being held financially accountable for what she did.

© 2013 Ronald E Franklin


Jackie on May 21, 2020:

I watched this movie last night and omg, what a smart guy Brian is, all he went through and he never gave up, he convinced everyone he was innocent which he was but always hard to prove ……. what a fantastic mum he had too and nice to see him get back to football, even if it did take a while.….all the way from Ireland, I salute all involved

Chi on August 09, 2019:

Why brian banks wanetta gibson they nor prosecuting her for this? She robbed this man of his life. He spent 5 years in prison and another 5 just trying to clear his name. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. I believe you do reap what you sow. She, along with her mother are now broke and on the run from creditors. They both should know what it feels like to be behind bars for this.

It is people like this that make it hard for real victims of rape to come forward.

RoadMonkey on August 08, 2019:

That's just terrible. To allow someone to spend 10 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit and she KNEW he didn't commit it! At 15, she may not have been in a position to fully understand the consequences of committing perjury but her mother certainly was old enough. She may be showing signs of remorse with telling him discover online banking bonus she lied but she has a VERY long way to go to show full remorse for what she did.

Al on August 07, 2019:

Way to go Wanetta. You and your greedy, good for nothing mother just made it harder for real victims of sexual assault to be believed. Hell is too good for the two of you.

Lynn on July 31, 2019:

so glad this young man has a second chance at his future. so sad for what he went thru based on a lie. mother and daughter she both be prosecuted, she lied under brian banks wanetta gibson, her mom knew it & they accepted money from a settlement based on lies. this man's life was on the line, not just his career. he stayed a good man, not vindictive not vengeful. he has a good heart and kept his faith & was blessed to be freed. this is not a joke to do this to people, it's not funny. there are real situations like this happening and the guilty are getting away with it. she threw this man's life away and, and for what?! and no remorse. she and her mother are cowards and horrible people. but this man is courageous, decent and forgiving. and very intelligent. and you stay great Mr Banks

Nicole on July 31, 2019:

I am hurt truly by this story simply because this could have been my son, however, it would have been my son if his classmates hadn't come forward and told the truth. Difference!? She was a lying white girl. Anyhow, Gibson and her mother she have been put under the jail for the same amount of time that banks had to endure this foolishness. Also how can they convict of rape if there's no physical evidence? This is not to say that a young woman shouldn't come forward, because my youngest daughter had an issue with a young man in her class of which he didn't want to keep his hands to himself. But this wasn't the case with them, broke busted and disgusted she flat out lied and caused a young man his life! But at the end God took care of His own and I commend Mr. Banks for holding on to his integrity and faith and continually to fight for what was right and pray that he will be blessed forever in his life. And as for Gibson and her mom I pray for peace and that they get themselves right with God because hell is no joke, a lifetime of suffering? Because of money. They haven't begun to endure suffering like the forever suffering from doing wrong to one of God's chosen!

Jay on July 28, 2019:

This is a disappointing story filled with greed and lies. This woman, her mother, and the entire justice system should be disappointed and grossed out with their decisions. I am happy by how Brian is taking this process. We have learned something from him, and that’s to always be positive.

C on June 06, 2019:

They can’t prosecute for perjury? This girl lies under oath and her mom was there to witness all of it. He should have received minimum $1.5 mill at least the amount she was paid.

Big Kirk on October 19, 2018:

$142k! That’s not enough. They should have paid the NFL’s min salary for the 10 years he got. That would have made a payment to him of no less than $4 million. That sounds more reasonable.

Fresh on October 09, 2018:

But i want yall to consider this. Brock Turner was caught in the act of raping a woman and got 60 days. Its not the hatred of men but the hatred of black men

joe on October 02, 2018:

it is sooo sad that all a woman or, in this case, a girl has to do is accuse a man or boy of rape and it is assumed that he is guilty. How sad it is that a people have become so blinded by their hatred of men, in general, that they will believe any accusation against them, credible or not. Until the false accusers are held accountable, publicly, this will continue. I believe if someone makes a false accusation and it is confirmed to be false, that individual should pay retrabution to the accused for the rest of their life.

Jeannie on September 26, 2018:

No man should be sentenced to prison just because she said so. He should have to be proven guilty! That was a sorry lawyer! I am glad that he has not let this make him bitter and angry. I feel sorry for men and boys now. Their lives can be ruined based only on an accusation, no evidence or proof. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on January 01, 2017:

Paul, I think you're right about greed overriding conscience. It amazes me that people can do things like this and still live with themselves.

Paul Jarrett on January 01, 2017:

That is really a sad thing to happen to that young man but that greed will do to some people not thinking about anyone else's life.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 19, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting, platinumOwl4. All too often prosecutors look to get a conviction any way they can, without regard to whether justice is really being done.

platinumOwl4 on May 19, 2013:

This was a horrible story. All of the officials should have been jailed. They were aware that this girl was not truthful and wanted to recant early. But because of the money they would not let her and would have allowed this young man's to remain in jail due to their greed. Again great story. Someone must keep this info in the public's mind.


Photo: Courtesy of Bleeker Street Productions.

“It’s really surreal to have gone through such a traumatic experience … to come full circle and be here now with the opportunity to share this story,” Banks said at the Essence Festival in July, adding that the goal of the film was to “not only to get our story out there but to share this story for other people who are currently voiceless, who are experiencing a similar situation.”

The film, directed by Tom Shadyac, shows how Banks was accused of rape by an acquaintance, Wanetta Gibson, back in high school, and how the repercussions of that false accusation reverberated through the rest of this life, costing him a football scholarship to the University of Southern California and later, a chance at a professional football career.

According to the California Innocence Project, who were instrumental in overturning his conviction, Banks was advised by his legal team at the time to take a plea deal that would grant him a significantly lesser sentence of just over five years, as compared to fighting the charges and risking a sentence of 41 years-to-life in prison. Upon release from prison, he was also required to register as a sex offender.

In addition to chronicling his time behind bars, the biopic also explores the complicated minefield of the legal system, as Banks (Aldis Hodge) seeks the help of California Innocence Project director Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear) to prove his innocence after he’s released from prison. In real life, the CIP initially wasn’t able to take on Banks’ case due to lack of evidence; when Gibson reached out to Banks nearly a decade after the accusation to recant her statements, however, the CIP had the proof they needed to move forward with the case. On May 24, 2012, Banks’ conviction was reversed.

Kinnear, who plays CIP director Brooks, told CBS This Morning that in order to prepare for his role, he actually sat in on several of Brooks’ classes at the California Western School of Law to learn his mannerisms and gain some insight into the man who championed Banks’ case pro bono.

“Usually, when you make a movie, you don’t always have the real-life person to draw on,” he said. “Those Marvel guys can’t look to Captain Amazing. So we were lucky to both have Brian Banks and Justin Brooks there as great assets, telling us exactly how these moments happened.”

And because Banks also acted as an executive producer on the film, both Banks and Brooks were oftentimes on set. And the pay-off is, at least according to CIP, a largely accurate re-telling of the incredible true story. According to the CIP’s website, “While certain aspects have been changed, including the names of some involved in the case, the major story remains the same.”

Banks went on to play for the Las Vegas Locomotives and the Atlanta Falcons and briefly worked for the NFL Department of Operations, but currently spends most of his time focusing on public speaking engagements.


The True Story Behind Brian Banks: From 5 Years in Prison as an Innocent Man to Playing in NFL

The true story behind Brian Banks, a new acclaimed drama starring Aldis Hodge and Greg Kinnear, is just as harrowing as the film.

At 16, Banks was an all-star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California with dreams of playing for the National Football League and a full scholarship to the University of Southern California.

Get push notifications with news, features and more.
+ Follow
You'll get the latest updates on this topic in your browser notifications.

His life would soon come to a tragic halt.

During summer school before his senior year, Banks took a break from class to make a phone call. He ran into an acquaintance, sophomore Wanetta Gibson, then 15. They had a consensual make-out session in a stairwell that never resulted in sex, according to Banks. But Gibson told a classmate she’d been raped by Banks. (According to a study done by the FBI, only 8 percent of rape accusations are determined to be false after investigation.) Despite the lack of any DNA evidence, Banks faced the risk of being sentenced to 41 years to life in prison, and his lawyer advised him to take a plea deal.

Banks pleaded no contest to one count of forcible rape, which landed him with a six year prison sentence and another five of probation.

For more about Brian Banks, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta Falcons
Brian Banks playing for the Atlanta Falcons

RELATED: High School Football Team Surprises Boy for His Birthday After Only 1 of His Friends RSVPsHe was released five years later and had to register as a sex offender. Upon being released, Banks tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue he had to contend with “public judgment and misdirected fear from people who think that you’re some form of a monster.”

To his shock, Gibson sent him a Facebook request in 2011, prompting Banks to ask her to meet — and confess to lying. With a private investigator present, she did just that.

In 2012 a judge overturned Banks’s conviction — and he finally realized his dream of joining the NFL, playing four preseason games with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013 and later finding work with the NFL Department of Operations.

“What I’ve come to know about myself is just remarkable. When you’re surrounded by darkness, your light often is dim, says Banks, who wrote the memoir What Set Me Free chronicling his horrific experience. He adds, “It’s up to you to bring that light back to power.”

Brian Banks opens Aug. 9.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *