Brian Banks’ story is one of resilience and justice. In 2002, Banks, a talented high school football player with dreams of playing professionally, was wrongfully convicted of rape based on a false accusation by a classmate. Wanetta Gibson was 15 years old in 2002 when she falsely accused Banks of raping her. Banks was 16 at the time.
Despite maintaining his innocence, he faced pressure to accept a plea deal and was sentenced to six years in prison followed by probation. Years later, in 2011, his accuser contacted him on Facebook, admitting the accusation was false. With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks fought to clear his name. Eventually, the conviction was overturned in 2012, and he was exonerated.
Following his exoneration, Banks pursued his football dreams again, briefly playing for NFL teams during preseasons and later working as a motivational speaker and activist, advocating for criminal justice reform and supporting others who have been wrongfully convicted.
The Brian Banks story highlights the flaws in the criminal justice system and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.
Did Brian Banks marry Karina Cooper?
In the 2018 film about Brian Banks’ life, Banks is portrayed by American actor Aldis Hodge while British actress Melanie Liburd plays Karina Cooper, a fitness coach and art graduate who later befriends Brian Banks and they become close.
Brian Banks and Karina Cooper did not get married in real life. In fact, the character of Karina Cooper was completely made up for the film and there is no evidence that there was an actual Karina Cooper in Banks’ real life during his struggle to clear his name.
But there have been suggestions that Karina Cooper may be representative of Banks’ ex-wife Emanuela Marinova whom he married in 2015, three years after his exoneration.
Who is Brian Banks’ wife?
Brian Banks married his then-girlfriend Emanuela Marinova in May 2015. While it seemed like a match made in heaven at the time, the union sadly did not last. Banks and Emanuela Marinova filed to divorce each other in 2017, barely two years after their wedding. They are not known to have had any children together.
What happened to Brian Banks’ accuser Kennisha Rice/Wanetta Gibson?
In the film, Brian Banks’ accuser is named Kennisha Rice (portrayed by American actress Xosha Roquemore), however, the name of Banks’ accuser in real life is Wanetta Gibson. Gibson’s name was changed in the film due to legal reasons.
Where is Wanetta Gibson right now?
Wanetta Gibson’s whereabouts have not been known for a while now. After Brian’s conviction, Gibson and her mother, Wanda Rhodes, sued the Long Beach school district for the “lax security” that allowed her rape and later won $1.5 million in settlement.
Wanetta Gibson became popular in the media after a videotape of her confessing that the rape never happened was publicised. After Brian Banks’ conviction was overturned, Gibson and her mother were ordered to pay The Long Beach Unified School District $2.6 million. According to reports, Gibson and her mother were ordered to return the $750, 000 they got as part of the settlement plus other additional sums in damages.
As per the court judgement, the school can recoup the money through her property and future wages but Wanetta Gibson’s whereabouts have not been known for a long time. She did not even attend court during the proceedings.
According to some reports, Gibson has had a rough life since the false accusation. Some sources reported that Gibson has been in and out of debt and she and her three children have previously resorted to public assistance to survive.