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Wrongfully Convicted Men Share Stories at Innocence Project Fund - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Wrongfully Convicted Men Share Stories at Innocence Project Fundraiser at UVA

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Two innocent men who went to prison for crimes they did not commit are speaking at the University of Virginia School of Law Wednesday. They are talking about the Innocence Project, and how it played a key role in overturning their convictions.

Former NFL player Brian Banks and recently exonerated Edgar Coker are speaking at a fundraiser for the Innocence Project. They hope to raise awareness that other innocent people are stuck in prison and should be freed.

Banks was convicted of rape despite DNA evidence that demonstrated his innocence. After five years in prison, Banks' accuser said she lied about the accusations. Coker spent seven years in prison despite being innocent.

NBC29 spoke with them about their efforts to help the Innocence Project and how it feels to be free.

“For me, it is a simple message: I have experienced some hard times in my life. I was wrongfully convicted of a crime I didn't commit and because of that now I am in a position where I can turn around and educate people,” said Banks.

“To have my life taken away and finally get it back to finally live free, to finally go to a park when I want to go to a park and not have to work about signing this and printing this, it feels pretty amazing,” said Coker.

Professors at the Innocence Project clinic at UVA say it takes millions of dollars to free one person and they have a backlog of innocent prisoners waiting for help and funds.

Author John Grisham will introduce Banks and Coker Wednesday night. The Innocence Project hopes to raise $80,000 Wednesday evening and relies heavily on donations. The event starts at 6 p.m at the School of Law.

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