As his day in court approached, Brian says that his lawyer feared that he wouldn't get a fair trial, based on his age, size & race. So she, an African-American herself, convinced Brian to plead no contest to a crime he insisted he didn't commit.
His plea meant he'd avoid a possible 41 years in jail, but he was agreeing to a deal that included a sentence of anywhere from 18 months to five years, and Brian received the maximum.
Brian Banks: I remember leaving that courtroom and going back into a holding cell and just being angry at the world.
In addition to the criminal prosecution of the case, Wanetta Gibson sued the school system for a lack of security, winning a $1.5 million settlement. In 2007, after five years at Chino State Prison, Brian finally got out of jail at age 22, after serving 85 percent of his sentence.
But, he was still required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and, for the rest of his life, register as a sex offender wherever he lived.
Then last year came a turn he never could have expected when one day, searching for work online, he got a friend request on his Facebook page. It was Wanetta Gibson, the same woman who had accused him of raping her.
Brian Banks: And I immediately just-- I froze. And I didn't accept the request. Instead, I sent a message to her. And my message asked her, "Why would you friend request me?" And she replied back that she was hoping that we could allow bygones to be bygones. She was really adamant about wanting to see me and wanting to hang out. It wasn't about wanting to help. It was more of wanting to reconnect.
James Brown: Hang out?
Brian Banks: Yep. "What you been up to? What are you doing tonight? What are you doing tomorrow? Let's hang out."
Brian was in disbelief. But he also knew instantly what kind of opportunity this might be. And with the help of a friend's father, a private investigator, they set up a meeting with hidden cameras.
James Brown: You were surprised that she showed up?
Brian Banks: Very much surprised.
With the cameras rolling, Brian asked for her for help in getting exonerated, and here's how she responded.
[Wanetta Gibson: I mean, I will go through with helping you, but at the same time - all that money they gave us - I mean, gave me - I'm not going to give back ... that would take a long time.]
Though Wanetta admitted to not wanting to give back the money she won in her civil lawsuit against the school, she was willing to meet a second time and it was then that Brian and the investigator worked to get the ultimate admission on tape.
[Detective: He's accused of rape, he's accused of kidnapping...
Wanetta Gibson: A lot of stuff.
Detective: Yeah, and I just need to hear from you that those things -- and I'll put it all in the piece of paper -- and I'll meet up with you and we'll go from there...
Wanetta Gibson: You want me to say it now?
Detective: Just so I could- did he rape you?
Wanetta Gibson: No, he did not rape me.
Detective: Did he kidnap you?