Wading into a racially-charged case from his past, Donald Trump indicated that the "Central Park Five" were guilty, despite being officially exonerated by DNA evidence decades after a notorious 1989 rape case.
"They admitted they were guilty," Trump said to CNN in a statement.
"The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same."
The five men were convicted as teenagers after implicating each other under intense questioning over a brutal sexual assault on a jogger that dominated the tabloids. Defenders said they were coerced into confessing and all five were later cleared by DNA evidence and a separate confession in 2002 from another criminal who took credit for the assault.
New York paid them $41 million in a settlement in 2014 over their ordeal.
Trump took out a full-page ad at the time of the crime calling for New York to reinstate the death penalty in response.
The case was notable for its racial politics: Four of the Central Park Five were black and one was Latino while the victim was a white banker.
Hillary Clinton's campaign denounced Trump's recent statements on the case Friday.
"The facts here are clear: These men were exonerated. Another man has admitted to committing the crime, as proven by DNA evidence," the campaign said in a statement. "Trump rushed to judgment on the case, has refused to admit he is wrong and continues to peddle yet another racist lie, a pattern for him and a clear reason why he is unfit to be president."