Jason Kandel

Movie Sheds Light on Brian Banks’ Wrongful Conviction

Brian Banks, a once promising football prospect who spent five years in prison for a rape he didn't commit, says he's sharing his story in a new feature film to be released Friday in hopes of shedding light on and making changes to the justice system.

On the eve of the release Friday of the Brian Banks Story new feature film about his life, Banks said there is much to be learned from his story.

"Are we doing everything in our power to do the right thing, the just thing and not just pursue the conviction," he told NBC4.

At 16 Banks was promising football player from Long Beach when he was accused of rape. On the advice of counsel, he took a plea deal.

"We have a system that is built on plea bargain," Banks said.

After serving five years in jail he was released as registered sex offender who wore an ankle bracelet to monitor his location.

He felt branded, had no money and could not get a job.

Then in May 2012, with the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks was exonerated.

"I feel like anything is possible — and it's proven today by me getting my freedom back," he said then.

His conviction was overturned based on a secret recording — where his high school classmate recanted her accusations.

Ten years after being scouted by the NFL Banks got calls from a handful of pro teams and played briefly in the preseason for the Atlanta Falcons.

He recognizes that was an opportunity not afforded to others who are wrongfully convicted — and desperate to rebuild their lives.

"I know what it feels like to be ignored to be silenced, to be unheard, to beg and plead for help," he said. "I know what that feels like so I can't turn around and turn away from those people after receiving the help that I thought much needed and begged for."

Banks hopes the movie — starring Aldis Hodge, Morgan Freeman and Sherri Shepherd will get people talking about justice and perseverance.

Banks said his job will be to continue to advocate for those who can't speak for themselves.

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