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Cuccinelli Aids Wrongly Accused Man That Spent 27 Years In Jail

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Thomas Haynesworth says he does not harbor bitter feelings toward his original accusers -- "they made an honest mistake," he says.
Jonathan Wilson
Thomas Haynesworth says he does not harbor bitter feelings toward his original accusers -- "they made an honest mistake," he says.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is working with a non-profit group to overturn Haynesworth's convictions after he spent the past 27 years in prison for crimes it now seems he did not commit.

"I told the detective from day one, who this guy was ... he lived right down the street, about 30 yards from me," Haynesworth says. "I told him from day one, go check this dude out."

Amazingly, Haynesworth harbors no bitterness toward law enforcement officers or his accusers; he says they simply made honest mistakes.

Haynesworth and Cuccinelli appeared together at The Innocence Project's annual awards luncheon Wednesday, where Cuccinelli says Haynesworth's story was one that made him and his staff cast some old law school habits aside.

"They tell you to keep arms distance from your cases," Cuccinelli says. "There are just some cases you can't keep at arms distance."

Cuccinelli is working to vacate Haynesworth's other convictions.

If that happens, Cuccinelli says there is precedent for the General Assembly to award Haynesworth compensation which could total several hundred thousand dollars. It's an amount of money that is largely symbolic, Cuccinelli adds, since no one would ever trade it for nearly three decades behind bars.

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