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A former high school football star whose dreams of a pro career were shattered by a rape conviction burst into tears Thursday as a judge threw out the charge that sent him to prison for more than five years.

26 year old Brian Banks, seen below, pleaded no contest 10 years ago on the advice of his lawyer after a childhood friend falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus.

In a strange turn of events, the woman, Wanetta Gibson, (seen below) friended him on Facebook when he got out of prison. In an initial meeting with him, she said she had lied; there had been no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record, court records state.

But she refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools. During a second meeting that was secretly videotaped, 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,’” according to Freddie Parish, a defense investigator who was at the meeting.

 

It was uncertain whether Gibson will have to return the money or will be prosecuted for making the false accusation when she was 15.

Banks, once a star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, had attracted the interest of such college football powerhouses as the University of Southern California, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, according to the website Rivals.com, which tracks the recruiting of high school players. Banks said he had verbally agreed to attend USC on a four-year scholarship when he was arrested.

Banks, who still hopes to play professional football, said outside court that he had lost all hope of proving his innocence until Gibson contacted him. “It’s been a struggle. But I’m unbroken and I’m still here today,” he said, tears flowing down his face.

He recalled being shocked and speechless on the day Gibson reached out to him after he had been released from prison, having served five years and two months. “I thought maybe it wasn’t real,” he said. “How could she be contacting me?”

“I know the trauma, the stress that I’ve been through, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your child torn from you,” Banks told his parents, who were jubilant. “I don’t know what I would have done without my parents.”

See the video coverage here: SOURCE

What do you think? Should his accuser go to jail for lying? Should she have to pay the money back?

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