By now, most people have heard about the former Southern California high school football star wrongly convicted of rape. For the first time, the person responsible for getting this pigskin prodigy a second chance is telling his side of the story.
It all began with Brian Banks, once a star football player at Long Beach Poly High, receiving a Facebook friend request after leaving jail from his accuser Wanetta Gibson, who explained to Banks she wanted to "let bygones be bygones."
Unsure what to do, Banks called his former high school teammate Freddie Parish IV, asking advice. Parish told him to call his father, who was working as a private investigator, for help.
In turn, Banks, who served five years, placed a phone call to private investigator Freddie Parish III, who cooked up a plan to clear Banks' name some 10 years after facing the horrific charges.
"There was no doubt in my mind that this young man was innocent" Parish told NBC Los Angeles in his first interview about his role in the Banks case.
The next step was to secretly wire Parish's office with all the latest recording gadgets. Unlike those terrific TV shows about PI's, this was real life, and those microphones and cameras had to record everything.
"There's only one chance to get the goods," Parish said. "I mean, you gotta make it right the first time."
Parish had Banks invite his bogus rape accuser to the office for a discussion about their past, which she accepted. Soon Gibson told Banks what really went down all those years ago.
"It just wasn't true at all," she said, before Banks asked her for help clearing his name.
Gibson, despite being concerned about losing her $1.5 million settlement with the Long Beach School District, agreed in the secret office recording to help.
Although this admission was huge, Parish had to have Banks get Gibson back in his office the next day to meet with him about the case.
"I needed to get her basically to recant everything she said Brian did ten years ago," Parish explained to NBC-LA's Joel Glover. "If I let this man down, I would have to live with that the rest of my life."
The accuser indeed showed up the next day and confirmed again that in 2002 she wasn't raped or kidnapped by Banks, and that she had made the whole sick story up. These secretly recorded videos helped lead to Banks' rape conviction being overturned in May.
As for that $1.5 million Gibson received for her fraudulent story, NBC LA reports the district attorney's office and school district wouldn't comment on plans to recover what's left, if anything, of that financial windfall.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
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