Man wrongly convicted of raping award-winning author Alice Sebold will receive $5.5m settlement

Francis Akhalbey March 28, 2023
Anthony Broadwater (left) and author Alice Sebold (right) Photos: AP/Getty

Anthony Broadwater, the man who spent 16 years in prison after he was wrongly convicted of raping award-winning author Alice Sebold, will be paid $5.5 million by New York state to settle a lawsuit. 

According to The Associated Press, Broadwater’s lawyers announced the settlement on Monday. As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Broadwater was exonerated in 2021 after flaws in his case were exposed during the production of a film of the author’s memoir. The rape was the basis of Sebold’s 1999 bestseller, “Lucky”, which launched her career, leading to her 2002 novel “The Lovely Bones”.

“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,” Broadwater, 62, said.

Responding to the settlement in a statement released from a spokesperson, Sebold said, “Obviously no amount of money can erase the injustices Mr. Broadwater suffered, but the settlement now officially acknowledges them.”

Broadwater was wrongly convicted of raping Sebold in 1981 while she was a student at Syracuse University. He was 20 years old and had returned home after serving with the marines when he was accused of raping Sebold in May 1981. He was found guilty after Sebold identified him in court and on the evidence of microscopic hair samples. That hair analysis is now considered junk science by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Broadwater was released from jail in 1999 but had remained on New York’s sex offender registry until now. In 2020, “Lucky” was being filmed for a Netflix movie when executive producer Tim Mucciante realized that the script’s first draft differed so much from the book. He started raising doubts about the trial, and when he was later dropped from the project, he hired a private investigator to examine the case, who then connected him with David Hammond and Melissa Swartz of the firm, CDH Law.

Hammond, who would become Broadwater’s attorney, listened to the transcript of the trial and found “serious legal issues”, CNN reported. He subsequently filed a motion to have the conviction overturned.

A judge is yet to approve the settlement Broadwater has reached with the state to make it final, The Associated Press reported. “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,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

There is another pending federal civil rights lawsuit Broadwater has filed against Onondaga County, the city of Syracuse, an assistant district attorney, and a police officer who also handled his case. 

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: March 28, 2023


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