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For decades, throughout his years in prison and even after his release, Anthony Broadwater insisted he was innocent of the rape of “The Lovely Bones” author Alice Sebold, a crime she described in his memoir, “Lucky”.

Sentenced in 1982, Broadwater spent over 16 years in prison. According to his lawyers, he has been denied parole at least five times because he refused to admit a crime he did not commit. And he passed two lie detector tests.

Broadwater, 61, has tried five times to overturn the conviction. And even after his release, he didn’t give up. But that didn’t happen – until Monday, when New York State Supreme Court Judge Gordon Cuffy overturned the rape conviction and other related charges .

The Onondaga County District Attorney joined the motion to quash the conviction.

Sebold described the rape, which occurred while she was a freshman at Syracuse University in 1981, in detail in her memoir. It was released in 1999, the year after Broadwater was released from prison.

Almost five months after being raped, Sebold saw Broadwater on the street in Syracuse. He reminded her of the rapist and she reported the encounter to the police, Broadwater lawyers claim. But later, she failed to identify Broadwater in a police line.

Broadwater was convicted on two pieces of evidence – Sebold’s account – a racial identification, since the perpetrator is white and Broadwater is black – and the analysis of a lock of hair which was later determined to be faulty, have writes his lawyers. .

“Research has shown that the risk of misidentification by an eyewitness is greatly increased when the witness and the subject are of different races,” the claim states.

Regarding the hair analysis, in 2015, “the FBI said that microscopic hair analysis contained errors in at least 90% of the cases reviewed by the agency,” according to the attorneys press release.

“We now know that the forensic chemist’s testimony stems from a largely debunked forensic approach to hair microscopy,” the claim said.

In “Lucky”, Sebold wrote that “a detective and a prosecutor told her after the training that she had chosen the wrong man and how the prosecutor deliberately trained her to rehabilitate her misidentification”, according to the affirmation.

CNN has contacted Sebold and his publishing house on several occasions for comment.

The unreliability of the hair analysis and the conversation between the prosecutor and Sebold after the training would likely have led to a different verdict had he been presented at trial, lawyers said.

“I am not going to smear these proceedings by saying I’m sorry,” District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said in the courtroom. “It is not enough. It should never have happened.”

Broadwater broke down in tears when the judge announced his decision.

“When the district attorney spoke to me, his words were so deep – so strong – they shook me,” Broadwater told CNN on Wednesday. “It made me cry with joy and happiness because a man of this magnitude would say what he said on my behalf… it’s, it’s beyond anything I can say for myself- same.”

After his release, Broadwater remained on a sex offender list. He described how the conviction ruined his life.

He struggled to find work after his release from prison when employers discovered his criminal record.

“I did what I could do, and it was just you know – creating work for myself doing landscaping, tree felling, hauling, cleaning,” a- he declared.

His wife wanted kids, but “I wouldn’t bring kids into the world because of it. And now we’re in the past, we can’t have kids,” Broadwater told reporters after the event. court hearing.

The couple met in 1999, about a year after being released from prison, he told CNN. After their first date, he gave her the transcripts and other documents of his case, telling her to read them and decide if she wanted to be with him.

“She believed me and she gave me more strength,” he said. “I just wanted a better quality of life, but I could never get a better quality of jobs.”

Part of the reason that Broadwater attorneys J. David Hammond and Melissa Swartz got involved in the case is thanks to Tim Mucciante, who was involved in a project to develop a film adaptation of “Lucky “.

Mucciante “had doubts that the story was as depicted in the film,” Hammond said, prompting him to hire a private investigator associated with their law firm.

“It didn’t take long, digging around, that we realized, OK, there’s something here,” Hammond said. He and Swartz listened to the trial transcript and discovered “serious legal issues” prompting them to file a motion, he said.

Hammond and Swartz are at least the fifth group of lawyers he has hired to help him with his case, Broadwater said.

“I never gave up. I could never, ever give up and live like this… I was going to do whatever I could to prove my innocence,” he said.

Days after the judge’s ruling, Broadwater said, “It’s so surreal, I’m still imbibing it. I’m a little scared – in a way. I’m so happy.”

As for Sebold, Broadwater said he would like an apology.

“I sympathize with her, which happened to her,” he said. “I just hope there is a sincere apology. I would accept it. I am not bitter and have no meanness towards her.”

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