NO REV. AL APOLOGY ON TAWANA
In 1987, 15 year old Tawana Brawley, was found four days after disappearing from her home. She was found in a garbage bag with dog feces smeared on her body and racial epithets scrawled on her. She claimed a gang of white law enforcement officers had abducted and raped her. Eventually, a grand jury pronounced her story a hoax, exonerating former prosecutor Steven Pagones. Pagones said that his victory over the Rev. Al Sharpton and two other advisors to Brawley in his racially charged, $395 million lawsuit was bittersweet. Pagones said, outside the courtroom, that Sharpton, Alton Maddox, Jr., and C. Vernon Mason had hurt a lot of people. Sharpton was found liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two and Mason for one. Pagones is white, the defendants are black. Pagones said, They hurt race relations. We have enough problems in society. We don't need people like Mason and Maddox and Sharpton screaming out false allegations and creating further hatred. A jury of four whites and two blacks ruled that Sharpton, Maddox and Mason defamed Pagones in accusing him of raping Brawley. The jury had deadlocked on four of the 22 statements Pagones had sued over and eight statements were found non-defamatory. All of the statements in question, many of which included the advisers calling Pagones a rapist, were made a news conferences, in speeches and in interviews with reporters.
An unrepentant Sharpton again refused to apologize for his role in the Brawley case, telling a national TV audience yesterday that juries can be wrong. He told CBS' Face the Nation that just because a jury made a ruling at one point does not mean that I was wrong. He added: A jury said in the Central Park jogging case...that I was wrong, and it was just overturned 13 years later. Juries can be wrong. I've stood by what I believe. Juries are proven wrong every day. That's why we have appeals courts, and higher court and then the Supreme Court.