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Tears in court as former football star's kidnap-rape conviction dismissed

Nick Ut / AP

Brian Banks becomes emotional as his attorney Justin Brooks, right, and attorney Alissa Bjerkhoel stand by, as Banks' rape conviction is dismissed on Thursday in Long Beach, Calif. It has been 10 years since Banks, then 16, pleaded no contest to a rape charge brought after a childhood friend falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus, shattering his dreams of a pro career.

Nick Ut / AP

Brian Banks, center, reacts with his mother, Leomia Myers and father, Jonathan Banks, outside court after his rape conviction was dismissed on Thursday.

Linda Deutsch of the Orange County Register reports that though Banks maintained his innocence, "his lawyer urged him to plead no contest rather than risk a sentence of 41 years to life in prison if convicted."

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A former California high school football star, Brian Banks, has been cleared of a rape and kidnapping conviction that derailed his life more than 10 years ago. Now, he is hoping to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL. NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports.