Hidden Camera Clears High School Football Star

NBC4 I-Team had an exclusive interview with the private investigator Freddie Parish on how he was able to obtain a confession that finally freed a former California high school football star, Brian Banks.

A hidden camera confession was a key piece of evidence in exonerating Brian Banks a 6-foot-2, 239-pound linebacker who had been scouted to play at top colleges, including the University of Southern California, when charges were brought against him ten years ago.

Last year, the former football star, from Long Beach called Parish, who runs Vantage Point Investigations, asking for his assistance to prove his innocence after he had received a friend request on Facebook from his accuser Wanetta Gibson, who told Banks she wanted to “let bygones be bygones.”

Parish jumped into action at set a plan into action to see if Gibson would admit she lied about her 2002 accusation that Banks raped her in a stairwell at school.

“There was no doubt in my mind that this young man was innocent,” said Parish.

Wanetta Gibson’s family received a $1.5 million settlement from the school district, and Banks with Gibson’s accusations staring at him, took a plea bargain that sent him to prison for five years, and then faced another five years on parole, with a GPS tracking device on his ankle.

In an effort to get a confession, Parish wired his office with hidden cameras and microphones and directed Banks to invite Gibson to his office to talk about their past.

“There’s only one chance to get the goods,” Parish said. “I mean, you gotta make it right the first time.”

Gibson took Banks’ up on the invitation, arrived at the private investigator’s Signal Hill office for a chat with her old high school crush.

“It just wasn’t true at all,” Gibson said about her rape accusation while hidden cameras were rolling.

Banks then asked Gibson to help clear his name, so he could move on with his life.

Gibson said she would help, but didn’t want to lose the $1.5 million settlement her family received from the Long Beach School District.

“I will go through with helping you, but all that money they gave us, I don’t want to have to pay it back, because that would take a long time,” she said on the video.

With Gibson on board, Parish was ready to execute the second part of his plan: He had Banks ask Gibson to return the next day to meet with the investigatore.

“I needed to get her basically to recant everything she said Brian did ten years ago,” Parish told the NBC4 I-Team. “If I let this man down, I would have to live with that the rest of my life.”

The next day Gibson returned to Parish’s office; hidden cameras were rolling. Parish then asked the critical questions about the 2002 incident between Banks and Gibson.

Parish: “Did he rape you?”

Gibson: “No, he did not rape me.”

Parish: “Did he kidnap you?”

Gibson: “No.”

When Gibson made the confession that she’d lied about her rape accusation, Parish thought to himself: “Wow. I got it.”

That confession was evidence that lawyers from the California Innocence Project needed to go back to court on Banks’ behalf.

With the hidden camera video confessions in hand, lawyer Justin Brooks got Brian Banks’ rape conviction overturned on May 24.

“The videotape is a slam dunk, in the sense that she’s recanting her testimony,” said Brooks, head of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law.

Now, Banks is able to finally pursue his dream of a career in pro football, thanks in large part to the work of a private investigator.

“I had a chance to make a difference in a man’s life,” Parish said.

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