Author Alice Sebold apologized to a man who last week was exonerated of her rape, a crime she wrote about in her memoir “Lucky,” but the writer also appeared to place as much blame on a “flawed legal system” as she did on the role she played in his conviction.
“First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through,” Sebold, the author of “The Lovely Bones,” wrote in a statement posted on Medium.com.
Broadwater, who has always maintained his innocence, was convicted of the rape in 1982 and spent 16 years in prison. He was denied parole at least five times because he wouldn’t admit to a crime he didn’t commit, according to his attorneys. He tried at least five times to get the sentence overturned, he told CNN.
Last week, a New York State Supreme Court judge exonerated Broadwater and vacated his conviction and other counts related to it. The Onondaga County district attorney joined in the motion to vacate the conviction.
Broadwater was convicted on two pieces of evidence — Sebold’s account and a cross-racial identification — the author is White and Broadwater is Black — and the analysis of a piece of hair that was later determined to be faulty, his attorneys wrote.
In “Lucky,” Sebold wrote that after she failed to identify Broadwater in a police lineup, “a detective and a prosecutor told her after the lineup that she picked out the wrong man and how the prosecutor deliberately coached her into rehabilitating her misidentification,” according to the attorneys’ affirmation that led to Broadwater’s exoneration.
The unreliability of the hair analysis and the conversation between the prosecutor and Sebold after the lineup would probably have led to a different verdict if it had been presented at trial, the attorneys said.
Sebold described the rape, which occurred when she was a freshman at Syracuse University in 1981, in brutally honest detail in “Lucky.” It was published a year after Broadwater was released from prison.
Her publisher Scribner, and its parent company, Simon & Schuster, will stop distributing the book in all formats “while Sebold and Scribner together consider how the work might be revised,” said Brian Belfiglio, Scribner vice president of publicity and marketing, in a statement to CNN.
Link to the rest at CNN
PG hasn’t been in a criminal courtroom in a very long time, but he can’t imagine any prosecutor he ever dealt with way back when doing what Ms. Sebold says the detective and a prosecutor did in her case.