More than a quarter of a century after claiming she was raped by a gang of white law enforcement officers, Tawana Brawley has started making defamation payments to a man she falsely accused of the crime.
Back in 1987, Brawley was just 15 years old when she claimed she was the victim of a crime in New York that sparked national outrage and stirred up racial tensions. A grand jury concluded Brawley's story was a hoax.
The New York Post reports that last week, 10 checks totaling nearly $3,800 were delivered to ex-prosecutor Steven Pagones. Those are the first payments Brawley has made since a court determined 15 years ago that she defamed him.
“It’s a long time coming,” Pagones said. He’s still more interested in getting a confession from Brawley than the money.
Brawley was initially ordered to pay $190,000 but now owes more than $400,000 with interest, reported ABC News.
“Every week, she’ll think of me,” Pagones added. “And every week, she can think about how she has a way out — she can simply tell the truth.”
The 41-year-old Brawley now lives in Virginia and works as a nurse.
She’s forced to pay Pagones $627 each month, possibly for the rest of her life. Under Virginia law, she can appeal the wage garnishment every six months.
“Finally, she’s paying something,” Pagones’ attorney Gary Bolnick stated. “Symbolically, I think it’s very important — you can’t just do this stuff without consequences.”
Brawley’s advisers in the infamous race-baiting case — the Rev. Al Sharpton, and attorneys C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox — have already paid, or are paying, their defamation debt.