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NYC offers $40M to Central Park Five

The city is offering to pay about $40 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the five men wrongly convicted and imprisoned in the Central Park jogger rape case, according to the city comptroller.

The so-called Central Park Five would share the settlement agreed to by their lawyers, which still must be approved by the comptroller, Scott Stringer, and the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit, which sought $250 million.

Stringer said Friday that his office has received paperwork about the settlement, and that the $40 million figure reported by The New York Times appears to be "in the ballpark" of what's been proposed.

The men were teenagers when they confessed and were found guilty in 1989 of a brutal attack on a woman jogging in the park. They maintained their innocence despite the confessions but served between 7 and 13 years in prison. A convicted rapist later confessed to committing the crime alone and was linked to the crime via DNA. A judge vacated the men's convictions in 2002.

Nina Morrison, a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project, an organization devoted to using DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongly convicted, said the money would help the men ease their financial burden and begin to compensate them for the ordeal.

"No amount of money could ever compensate these men for what was taken from them and what they suffered," said Morrison, whose group consulted on the case. "It's very difficult to put a number, a dollar figure, on liberty and especially the shame and humiliation and unfair judgment that these young men and their families went through."

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