Jul 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Co-defendant in Central Park Five case to be exonerated

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who plans to move to dismiss the indictment and vacate the guilty plea of Steven Lopez. Photo: Barry Williams/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Steven Lopez, a co-defendant in the 1989 "Central Park Five" case who pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, is expected to have that related conviction overturned on Monday, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The five other Black and Latino teenagers who were falsely convicted over the sexual assault of a white woman were exonerated.

  • “We talk about the Central Park Five, the Exonerated Five, but there were six people on that indictment,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told the Times.
  • “And the other five who were charged, their convictions were vacated. And it’s now time to have Mr. Lopez’s charge vacated," he added.

The big picture: The five, who were charged and convicted of the rape of Trisha Meili on the basis of false confessions to police, were exonerated after the true assailant was identified in 2002.

  • They collectively served close to 45 years in prison and eventually went on to win a $41 million settlement from New York City.
  • Lopez was initially arrested and charged with rape but pleaded guilty to robbery of a separate male jogger.
  • After being held in a cell for around 20 hours before being questioned, he pleaded guilty by signing a statement written by a detective that put him at the scene of the attack on the male jogger, according to the Times.
  • No forensic evidence tied him to the robbery of the male jogger, and Lopez denied that he was involved in the attack on Meili.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note the attack and false charges occurred in 1989, not 1988.

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