Tawana Brawley owes $431,000 -- or nothing at all
The woman at the center of a notorious 1987 New York City kidnapping case has ducked a defamation claim awarded to her accuser. That cost her 9% interest each year, but she won't owe anything if she recants.
Though shadows of each of the above linger -- most recently in parallels between Goetz and George Zimmerman in the midst of the Trayvon Martin case -- few left a wound so raw as that of the case surrounding then-15-year-old Tawana Brawley.
Her story of being kidnapped, raped, smeared with feces, carved up with racial slurs and left in a garbage bag by a gang of white men, including a police officer and a Dutchess County prosecutor, in 1987 was declared a lie by a grand jury and is repeatedly used by detractors of Brawley's key supporter, the Rev. Al Sharpton, as a bludgeon against his credibility.
With Brawley now paying the first installments of a defamation suit against her by one of the men she accused, her case and its aftermath are still fresh more than 25 years later. With interest.
Former Dutchess County Prosecutor Stephen Pagones won a defamation suit against Brawley and her supporters back in 1998. Sharpton was found liable for $66,000, Brawley attorney C. Vernon Mason was found liable for $188,000 and disbarred in 1995, and attorney Alton Maddox was ordered to pay $97,000. All had their fines paid by benefactors.
Brawley, meanwhile, was ordered to pay $185,000 at 9% annual interest. After moving to Richmond, Va., becoming a nurse and avoiding payment for 15 years, Brawley's share has ballooned to $431,492. She has now been required to pay Pagones $627 out of her wages each month and $3,764.61 so far.
Pagones, who watched his first marriage and career as a prosecutor fall apart after the case, is now with a New York private investigation firm. He has remarried, has three daughters and a son, and still lives in Dutchess County. He's spent more than a decade tracking down the now 41-year-old Brawley and told The New York Post that he'd forgive the debt if Brawley recanted her story and admitted wrongdoing.
"Every week, she'll think of me," he told The Post. "And every week, she can think about how she has a way out -- she can simply tell the truth."
Brawley, who now has a husband and a young child and is employed as a nurse in a nursing home, isn't backing down. According to the Post, in a July 22 legal brief signed by Brawley and submitted by Maddox, Brawley refused to comply with the order of the New York court that handed down the defamation verdict because an appearance in the court, "which inferentially sympathizes with the Confederate States of America, would be contrary to the U.S. Constitution and would amount to a 'badge of slavery.'"
Credit Maddox with the turn of phrase. He has petitioned a Virginia court to halt the garnishing of Brawley's wages and gave a quote to the Post about the double standard perceived in New York law -- a quote that sounds remarkably like the language of his legal brief.
"The common law applies to whites," he said. "The slave code still applies to blacks."
Meanwhile, one of New York City's more sordid stories continues, the anger lingers, and the wound still festers. Like Brawley's payout, its effects have only amplified with interest.
You are a disgrace.
Why is it not considered racism what she did? Accuse some innocent men because they are white. Sounds RACIST to me!
I lived in the area when this all happened, and remember how scared I was when her story first hit the news, as my husband at the time spent most of his time in New Jersey, leaving me alone most nights in military housing at what is now Stewart International Airport. It only took a month or so before it became clear that her story was a lie, as she was out with an older boyfriend and told the lie so that her step father wouldn't find out she had been out all night again with this guy. That was when her story got progressively more ridiculous and she starting blaming anyone and everyone who refused to believe her story.
It took me a long time to forgive Al Sharpton for his part in the fiasco that ensued, but until Tawanna Brawley steps forward and admits she lied, there will be no forgiveness for her from anyone. I am black and was in my early 20's at the time. At first I felt like I could have been her, but it didn't take long to realize she was nothing like me. Although I strongly feel that woman has no concience as evidenced by her turning to Louis Farrakhan when Al Sharpton had finally had enough of her and the backlash, I do hope that one day she finally admits her lie publically.
I'm black, and she should pay along with her father and anyone else who tried to capitalize off this racist lie!
Why wasn't Al Sharpton named in the lawsuit?
After all, he probably benefited the most from the whole deal.
I spent nine months as a Bodyguard for Steve during this Civil Trial of the Century as it was described at that time by some in the press.
Steve paid a terrible price for these racist hucksters lies. He lost his job and to some extent his family.
Unfortunately Al is still at it and now has his own TV show for his race baiting rants
He must have been overjoyed when the Zimmerman verdict came in. A whole new avenue to push racial hate and to support his life style while avoiding having a job.
In my opinion Sharptons involvement in the Brawley and Zimmerman cases have moved Americas race relations back to about the same level of trust that we experienced in the 1950 timeframe..
This woman - and Al Sharpton - really piss me off - bunch of liars, ruined a good mans life with their nonsense, and they refuse to take responsibility for it - earth to Tawana Brawley: Wrong is wrong and has zero to do with race - get your **** in gear and do the right thing!
PS Her logic is beyond ignorance and belief
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