$40M settlement reached in Central Park rape case

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FILE – This 1990 file photo provided by Sundance Selects shows accused rapist Yusef Salaam, second right, being escorted by police in New York in 1990. Salaam is the subject of the documentary, “The Central Park Five,” about the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. A city official said Friday, June 20, 2014 that New York City has agreed to a $40 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed against police and prosecutors by Salaam and four co-defendants exonerated in the notorious case of a jogger attacked in Central Park in 1989. (AP Photo/Sundance Selects, NY Daily News, File)

FILE – This 1990 file photo provided by Sundance Selects shows accused rapist Yusef Salaam, second right, being escorted by police in New York in 1990. Salaam is the subject of the documentary, “The Central Park Five,” about the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. A city official said Friday, June 20, 2014 that New York City has agreed to a $40 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed against police and prosecutors by Salaam and four co-defendants exonerated in the notorious case of a jogger attacked in Central Park in 1989. (AP Photo/Sundance Selects, NY Daily News, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 17, 2013 file photo, Yusef Salaam is photographed during a rally outside Federal court in New York. A city official said Friday, June 20, 2014 that New York City has agreed to a $40 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed against police and prosecutors by Salaam and four co-defendants exonerated in the notorious case of a jogger attacked in Central Park in 1989.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2002 file photo, Dolores Wise, left, whose son Kharey Wise was one of five youths convicted in the 1989 Central Park jogger case, pumps her fist in the air as she sings “We Shall Overcome” at a rally in front of State Supreme Court in New York. On Friday, June 20, 2014, the city has agreed to a $40 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed against police and prosecutors by Kharey Wise and four co-defendants exonerated in the notorious case, a city official said. (AP Photo/Robert Mecea, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 17, 2013 file photo, Raymond Santana is photographed during a rally outside Federal court in New York. A city official said Friday, June 20, 2014 that New York City has agreed to a $40 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed against police and prosecutors by Santana and four co-defendants exonerated in the notorious case of a jogger attacked in Central Park in 1989.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 17, 2013 file photo, Kevin Richardson is photographed during a rally outside Federal court in New York. A city official said Friday, June 20, 2014 that New York City has agreed to a $40 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed against police and prosecutors by Richardson and four co-defendants exonerated in the notorious case of a jogger attacked in Central Park in 1989.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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NEW YORK (AP) — With New York awash in murder and drugs, the 1989 rape and beating of a Central Park jogger by what was said to be a gang of “wilding” teens was seen as evidence of a city sliding into lawlessness. A quarter-century later, it stands instead as a $40 million symbol of failure by the justice system.

The city has agreed to a settlement for that amount with the five men who were falsely convicted in the attack, all but closing the books on one of the most lurid cases in New York history.

Official confirmation of the deal came Friday when City Comptroller Scott Stringer said his office had received settlement papers with a figure “in the ballpark” of the $40 million that had been widely reported in the media.

The settlement still needs final approval from the comptroller and a federal judge. Lawyers for the plaintiffs declined to comment.

The five black and Hispanic defendants were found guilty as teenagers in 1990 in the attack on a white woman — an investment banker — who had gone for a run in the park.

They served six to 13 years in prison before their convictions were thrown out in 2002 because of evidence that someone else, acting alone, committed the crime. The five sued police and prosecutors for $250 million.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement that the tentative settlement signifies “a monumental victory” for the men and their families.

“It is also a victory for those in the community that stood with them from day one and believed in their innocence in this case,” Sharpton said. “As supporters, we were viciously attacked for standing with them, but we were on the right side of history.”

At the time, the crime was seen as a terrifying symbol of the city’s rampant lawlessness and its racial and class divide, and it gave rise to the term “wilding” for urban mayhem by marauding teenagers.

The victim, Trisha Meili, then 28, was found in the brush, more than 75 percent of her blood drained from her body and her skull smashed. She was in a coma for 12 days, suffered permanent damage and remembers nothing about the attack.

Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, both 14 at the time, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam, 15, and Korey Wise, 16, were rounded up and arrested. After hours of interrogation, four of them gave confessions on video.

At the trials, their lawyers argued the confessions were coerced. At the time, DNA testing was not sophisticated enough to make or break the case.

In 2002, a re-examination of the case found that DNA

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