Member of Central Park Five Slams Trump Hypocrisy for ‘Due Process’ Defense

A man who was jailed for five and a half years for an attack on a jogger of which he was later acquitted has branded President Donald Trump a hypocrite for calling for "due process" over domestic abuse allegations against a White House staffer. 

Yusef Salaam, a member of the so-called Central Park Five, was one of five black and Latino teenagers jailed for the 1989 attack on jogger Trisha Meili. His conviction was quashed in 2002. 

GettyImages-451322462 Yusef Salaam, one of the five men wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989, speaks at a press conference on the steps of City Hall after it was announced that the men, known as the Central Park Five, had settled with New York City for approximately $40 million on June 27, 2014, in New York City. All five men spent time in jail until their convictions were overturned in 2002 after being proven innocent. Getty Images

In an interview with MSNBC on Sunday, Salaam said that Trump demonstrated “his own affluenza” when he defended White House staffer Rob Porter, who resigned last week after being accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives.

“There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” tweeted Trump on Saturday. 

GettyImages-478264222 Donald Trump at a news conference in New York on December 11, 1990. Getty Images

Salaam said that Trump had little concern for due process when, in 1989, he took out a full-page newspaper advertisement ahead of their trial, calling for Salaam and four other teenagers accused of the attack to be executed.

"Here you had Donald Trump taking out a full-page ad, two weeks in, rushing to judgement. Finding out 13 years later after he did all that that we were not the real culprits," he said.

“The Central Park Five, their families,” Salaam said. “We were not able to move on with our lives. Our lives were completely destroyed and devastated.”

“Any kind of dream or idea or goal that we had in life was quickly erased by this accusation,” he said.

On Saturday, another member of the five, Raymond Santana, also criticized Trump for his hypocrisy. “You should have spoke like that back in 1989,” Santana wrote of Trump's tweet.

Trump tweeted the remarks Saturday after a second White House staffer, David Sorensen, resigned over his ex-wife's allegations that he physically and psychologically abused her during their two-year marriage. Sorensen denies the claims. 

The Central Park Five were exonerated after DNA evidence cleared them and another criminal admitted to the attack. Defenders say they had been coerced into confessing by police in a series of brutal interrogations. Despite this, Trump has refused to back down, reiterating his belief in their guilt in 2016.

"They admitted they were guilty," Trump said to CNN in a statement.

"The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same."

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