Brian Banks

BRIAN BANKS is one of the country’s most prominent exonerees. In 2002, Brian was an All-American football star at Long Beach Polytechnic High School with a full ride scholarship to USC and his sights set on the NFL. He found his life upended when he was falsely accused and convicted of a crime he did not commit. Despite the lack of evidence, Brian was railroaded through a broken legal system and sentenced to a decade of prison and probation.

After serving nearly a decade in the system, with the support of the CA Innocence Project, Brian reclaimed his life in 2012 when he was fully exonerated.

In 2013, Brian was signed by the Atlanta Falcons and finally fulfilled his dream of playing in the NFL. After he retired, Commissioner Goodell offered him a League office position in Football Operations.

In 2017, as the co-host of ‘Final Appeal’ on Oxygen Network, Brian searched to uncover the truth behind controversial cases that may have led to wrongful convictions.

He has since gone on to become a Life Coach and an internationally-recognized public speaker inspiring global communities with his unforgettable, life affirming story of resilience, redemption and triumph over adversity and injustice.


Wrongful Conviction, Plea Deal, and Exoneration

A high-school acquaintance  shattered that dream one fateful day after she accused Banks of assualt and kidnapping following a consensual encounter on the school campus.  It was Banks’ word against hers and she was not likely to change her story.  After all, (blank) sued the Long Beach Unified School District claiming the school’s lax security provided an unsafe environment that led to the fraudulent rape.  She would eventually receive a settlement of 1.5 million dollars.

Brian Banks was faced with an impossible decision at the time – either fight the charges and risk spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a plea deal and spend a little over 5 years of actual prison confinement.   Although it would mean destroying his chance to go to college and play football, a lengthy probationary period, and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender, Banks chose the lesser of two evils when he pleaded no contest to the charges.

Nearly a decade after his conviction, (blank) recanted her statements and has acknowledged she fabricated the whole story.  The California Innocence Project presented this evidence of Banks’ innocence to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office who launched an investigation into the case.  After a thorough review of the evidence, the District Attorney’s Office conceded that Banks was wrongfully convicted.

On Thursday, May 24, 2012, Judge Mark C. Kim of the Los Angeles Superior Court reversed Banks’ conviction and ended his nightmare of wrongful conviction.

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NFL Debut

After the hearing concluded, CIP Director Justin Brooks, in speaking to the press, asked NFL teams to give Brian Banks a chance at football again.  Shortly thereafter, Banks received calls from six NFL teams.  He tried out with the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers.  Pete Carroll, who had once recruited Brian to play at USC back in 2002, invited Brian to the Seattle Seahawks minicamp to try out.  Ultimately, Banks did not get signed by any team in 2012.

On September 20, 2012, Brian Banks signed with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL.  He played in two games and made a tackle on a kickoff return before the UFL suspended it’s season a month later.

On April 3, 2013, the Atlanta Falcons signed Brian Banks and he began participating in the Falcons’ practices and training camp.  Banks made his NFL debut in a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.  He made two tackles in the game.  He played three additional games before the Falcons released him on August 30, 2013.

Following the 2013 season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hired Brian Banks to work in the NFL’s Department of Operations.  Brian worked in the NFL’s newly created replay center and also assisted with the league’s social media.  Brian worked for the NFL for a few years in New York before getting transferred to Los Angeles.  Eventually, he resigned to pursue public speaking opportunities.

Brian Banks- The Movie

In 2017, filming began for a feature film about Brian Banks’ story. The movie, Brian Banks, features Greg Kinnear as Justin Brooks, Aldis Hodge as Banks, and Tiffany Dupont as CIP Attorney Alissa Bjerkhoel. Actors Sherri Shepherd, Morgan Freeman, and Melanie Liburd also star in Brian Banks. Director Tom Shadyac, best known for directing Liar Liar, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor, directed the film.  The film closely follows Brian’s road to redemption, including the many legal obstacles he encountered when attempting to gain relief from the courts.  While certain aspects have been changed, including the names of some involved in the case, the major story remains the same.

Brian Banks premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) on September 22, 2018. Tickets to the showing sold out so quickly that a second showing, which also sold out, was scheduled for the following day.

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety published glowing reviews of Brian Banks, and it won LAFF’s Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film. On August 9, 2019, Brian Banks will be shown in theaters throughout the U.S.