Rev. Al Sharpton Defends His Handling of Tawana Brawley Rape Case

    Reverend Sharpton (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

    *Rev. Al Sharpton is standing by his handling of the controversial Tawana Brawley case of 1987.

    Brawley was a 15-year Black girl who was found covered with feces and wrapped in garbage bags outside condos in Wappingers Falls, New York. She told authorities that a group of white men kidnapped and gang-raped for four days.

    Sharpton supported the young girl by calling for prosecutors to bring her case to trial. A grand-jury investigation ultimately concluded that her accusations were bogus. 

    Over the years, Sharpton has denied that he coached Brawley to lie. During an appearance on the PBS program “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover “on Friday night, he addressed the “rape hoax” claim, saying Tawana “deserved” to have her day in court, National Review reports. 

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    “I don’t have any different understanding because a grand jury is not a trial,” Sharpton said. “She deserved to have a day in court. Let us bring the case to court. And this prosecutor would not do that.”

    Sharpton also noted that in the 35 years since the case, he still has not accepted the grand jury’s findings. He recalled being charged by a prosecutor working on the case who accused him of stealing from his youth group. “So why would I believe what he did with the grand jury when I saw what he did to me?” he asked Hoover. 

    Sharpton has previously made clear that he never asked Brawley about what happened to her. 

    “Her lawyers is who I talked to. I’m not going to ask a 15-year-old girl all the details that you said. I have no reason to feel she misled the lawyers. I believe that it never went to court, and therefore we do not know what evidence was presented that backed up what he presented to a grand jury,” Sharpton said of the Brawley case.

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