The 62-year-old Black man who served 16 years in a New York prison for a crime he didn’t commit will be paid $5.5 million for his 1981 wrongful conviction.
According to the New York Post, the state agreed to pay Anthony Broadwater millions almost two years after a judge acquitted him of rape charges. Syracuse Court of Claims Judge Ramon Rivera doesn’t object to the settlement but hasn’t signed the agreement yet.
“Tony is grateful to the state of New York for swiftly revolving this matter,” Melissa Swartz, Broadwater’s lawyer, said.
Through his lawyer, Broadwater said, “I appreciate what Attorney General James has done, and I hope and pray that others in my situation can receive the same measure of justice. “We all suffer from destroyed lives.”
Sis2Sis reported in 2021 that Broadwater was convicted for rapping award-winning author Alice Sebold, who recounted the rape in her memoir “Lucky,” which was supposed to become a movie for Netflix but was shut down after one of the producers hired a private investigator due to inconsistencies in “Lucky” and the movie script.
The rape happened at Syracuse Thornden Park, near Syracuse University’s campus, in May 1981. Sebold was an 18-year-old freshman at the time. Broadwater was convicted after police claimed he was a suspect just because he was spotted near the crime scene. However, during a lineup, Sebold didn’t identify Broadwater as the rapist. She pointed out a different man.
Sebold then identified Broadwater as the rapist when she saw him in a courtroom, which could’ve happened because she remembered seeing him in the lineup and thought cops caught the man who violated her.
Besides Sebold’s faulty identification, Broadwater was convicted due to an erroneous hair analysis that the Justice Department now calls junk science. These two were the only evidence prosecutors had against the defendant.
Years later, the judge ruled that Broadwater was not “The lovely Bones” author’s violator. Days after learning her mistake, Sebold wrote an apology to Baordwater.
“I am grateful that Mr. Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he became another young Black man brutalized by our flawed legal system,” Sebold wrote. “I will forever be sorry for what was done to him.”
The 62-year-old’s lawyer said this was only her client’s “first step.”
“We are happy that this first step has been completed,” Swartz said. “And Tony is obviously happy to be able to financially have some security but in terms of vindication, we believe that [federal] lawsuit will give him the vindication he deserves.”