The reported $40 million settlement agreement between the city and the "Central Park Five" is one step closer to being finalized.
On Thursday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced his office approved the final agreement between the city's attorneys and lawyers for the men who were arrested and convicted as teens for an assault they said they never committed.
"In my judgment, this settlement is a prudent and equitable solution for all parties to the lawsuit and closes a very difficult chapter in our City’s history," Stringer said in a statement.
The proposed deal now goes to U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, who began working on the case in 2003 when the five men filed suit against the city for its prosecution of the case that led to a combined 39 years of what they say was wrongful imprisonment.
For more than a decade under the Bloomberg administration, the city argued that prosecutors had grounds to pursue the case against the men, despite DNA testing that identified only convicted rapist and murderer Matias Reyes as the assailant of Manhattan woman Trisha Meili in 1989.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio — who announced support for a settlement in the case during his time as public advocate — defended his administration's willingness to settle with the men.
"I think the question here – the history is quite plain, what the legal outcome was for these young men and the fact that they spent a lot of their lives in jail, imprisoned wrongly," de Blasio said.
"And we have an obligation to turn the page," the mayor added. "We have an obligation to do something fair for them, but for the whole city to turn the page and move forward."
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria