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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 03/23/2011

Cuccinelli apologizes to freed inmate

Rosalind S. Helderman reports in the Virginia Politics blog that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli personally apologized to Thomas Haynesworth on Tuesday, telling the man who was released from prison Monday after serving 27 years for a string of rapes and assaults that prosecutors now believe he did not commit that Virginia’s justice system had failed him.

Cuccinelli (R) said he has closely reviewed every bit of evidence in Haynesworth’s case and has come to believe that the Richmond man did not commit any of the crimes of which he was accused — not two rapes in which DNA evidence has now implicated another man and not two others for which DNA evidence does not exist.

“It almost brings me to tears to think of the 27 years,” Cuccinelli said in an interview. “As I said to him, ‘I’m sorry doesn't do it, on behalf of the people of Virginia.’ But there isn’t much more. I can’t get those years back.”

Haynesworth was an 18-year-old high school dropout when was arrested and charged with rape. He had no criminal record and has maintained his innocence ever since. He was paroled Monday after his case was reviewed by the state’s parole board at the request of Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R). He will argue to the Virginia Court of Appeals on March 30 that a court should declare him innocent and clear his name.

Cuccinelli said Haynesworth was reserved and quiet in their meeting.

“I think he’s shell-shocked chocked about it all,” he said.

Read the entire post on the Virginia Politics blog.

By Washington Post editors and Rosalind S. Helderman reports in the Virginia Politics blog that  |  11:46 AM ET, 03/23/2011

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