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New York Paying $5.5M to Man Exonerated in Rape Of Writer Sebold

After being wrongfully convicted of rape and serving 16 years in prison, Anthony Broadwater has settled a lawsuit against New York state for $5.5 million, reports the Associated Press. The settlement comes after Broadwater’s conviction for raping writer Alice Sebold in 1981 was overturned in 2021. It was signed by lawyers for Broadwater and New York Attorney General Letitia James, said Broadwater attorney David Hammond. Broadwater, 62, said, “I appreciate what Attorney General James has done, and I hope and pray that others in my situation can achieve the same measure of justice. We all suffer from destroyed lives.” Sebold said, “Obviously no amount of money can erase the injustices Mr. Broadwater suffered, but the settlement now officially acknowledges them." Sebold was an 18-year-old first-year student at Syracuse University when she was raped in a park near campus. She described the attack and the prosecution in a memoir, “Lucky,” published in 1999. Sebold, who is white, wrote in “Lucky” that she spotted a Black man in the street months after being raped and was sure that he was her attacker.


Police arrested Broadwater, who was given the pseudonym Gregory Madison in “Lucky.” Sebold failed to identify him in a police lineup, picking a different man as her attacker. Even so, Broadwater was convicted in 1982 after Sebold identified him as her rapist on the witness stand and an expert said microscopic hair analysis tied Broadwater to the crime. Since then, the U.S. Justice Department has called that type of analysis junk sciencee. Broadwater was released from prison in 1999. He was required to register as a sex offender until his conviction was vacated in November 2021. District Attorney William Fitzpatrick of Onondaga County, which includes Syracuse, joined the motion to vacate the conviction, noting that witness identifications, particularly across racial lines, are often unreliable. James said, "Anthony Broadwater was convicted for a crime he never committed, and was incarcerated despite his innocence. While we cannot undo the wrongs from more than four decades ago, this settlement agreement is a critical step to deliver some semblance of justice to Mr. Broadwater.” The settlement must be approved by a judge.


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