The state of New York has consented to pay $5.5 million to Anthony J. Broadwater who was exonerated after serving 16 years in prison for the rape of writer Alice Sebold, reports CBS News. He was wrongfully convicted of the crime.

Last week, Broadwater’s legal team, along with New York Attorney General Letitia James, signed off on the settlement.

“Anthony Broadwater was convicted for a crime he never committed, and was incarcerated despite his innocence,” James said in an emailed statement. “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.”

Expressing his gratitude for the settlement, Broadwater released a statement that was read by one of his lawyers, David Hammond.

“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,” Broadwater said. “We all suffer from destroyed lives.”

Sebold, who is white, also issued a statement following news of the settlement.

"Obviously no amount of money can erase the injustices Mr. Broadwater suffered, but the settlement now officially acknowledges them," her statement read.

As an 18-year-old freshman student at Syracuse University, Alice Sebold was raped at a park near campus in May 1981. Through graphic details, she described the attack in her memoir, Lucky, which was published in 1999. In the book, she claimed that she saw a Black man several months after the attack, and she knew without a doubt that he was the assailant. She gave him the pseudonym "Gregory Madison" in the biography.

"He was smiling as he approached. He recognized me. It was a stroll in the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the street," she wrote. "‘Hey, girl,’ he said. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ "

The police arrested Broadwater, although Sebold could not pick him out of a police lineup. She identified another man as her attacker.

After Sebold identified Broadwater as the rapist during the trial and experts claimed that he was tied to the crime because of microscopic hair samples—which has now been described as "junk science" by the U.S. Department of Justice—Broadwater was convicted in 1982.

Following his release from prison in 1999, he was required to register as a sex offender until his conviction was vacated in November 2021.

William J. Fitzpatrick, district attorney for Onondaga County, vacated the conviction, noting that “witness identifications, particularly across racial lines, are often unreliable.”

In 2021, Alice Sebold apologized to Broadwater in a letter that was posted on Medium.

"40 years ago, as a traumatized 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice—not to perpetuate injustice. And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man's life by the very crime that had altered mine," Sebold wrote. "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. I will forever be sorry for what was done to him." 

After Broadwater's conviction was overturned due to the numerous flaws that led to his imprisonment, Lucky stopped being distributed by its publisher.

Additionally, Broadwater has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Onondaga County, the city of Syracuse, an assistant district attorney, and the police officer who was involved in his prosecution. That case is still pending.