The men’s stories were told on DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries “When They See Us.” They’re names are Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson and Antron McCray, who in 1989 were accused of raping and assaulting Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old white woman.
Four of the men are black, one is Latino, and they served several years in prison as teens before being exonerated in 2002. They were freed after someone else confessed to the crime, a development backed by DNA evidence.
Back in the ’80s, Trump took out ads in New York City’s four major newspapers and called for the death penalty. He also doubled down on those ads in TV interviews at that time.
“You have people on both sides of that,” he answered. “They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think the city should have never settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that.”
DuVernay was asked about Trump’s statement on Tuesday at a “When They See Us” screening in Los Angeles, and she wasn’t surprised.
“It’s expected,” said the famed director. “There’s nothing he says or does in relation to this case or the lives of Black people or people of color that has any weight to it. It’s not our reality, there’s no truth to it.”
Jemele Hill, who moderated the L.A. screening, asked DuVernay about Trump’s words.
“I’m surprised it took so long, I was waiting every day to get a tweet,” DuVernay replied. “So much more than rage-tweeting back and participating in the negativity that’s so unproductive. I wish I had a more juicy sound bite, but I don’t care.”