One of the exonerated defendants in the Central Park Five case hit President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE for his tweet about lives “being shattered” by “a mere allegation,” saying that Trump had rushed to judgment in claiming he and the other defendants were guilty of a brutal 1989 attack and rape.

Yusef Salaam, one of the men who was wrongfully convicted of the crime and later exonerated, noted that Trump had quickly taken out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the return of the death penalty after news of the assault gripped the nation.

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

Trump had raised concerns Sunday about a lack of “due process” in the allegations of domestic abuse leveled against two former White House aides.

Salaam, who was 15 at the time of his wrongful conviction, said he and the other defendants’ lives “were completely destroyed and devastated." Trump was one of the most vocal figures at the time saying they were guilty.


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

On April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old white woman was viciously assaulted and raped while jogging through Central Park. Police arrested five teenagers, four black and one Hispanic, who were all found guilty.

The group initially confessed to the crime, but insist that their confessions were coerced after being interrogated by police for two days. They were exonerated in 2002, when an already-incarcerated rapist and murderer confessed to the crime.

Trump said in 2016 that he still believes that the Central Park Five are guilty despite another man confessing to the crime and police having no DNA evidence linking the group to the scene.