Steven Phillips, a man who spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, faces losing his $4 million compensation to his ex-wife.
Steven Phillips, 51, faces a court battle to keep hold of the money he was awarded for his wrongful conviction.
The man was released from a life sentence for rape in 2008 after DNA proved he could not have been the attacker.
Now, Steven Phillips’ ex-wife, Traci Tucker, who divorced him three years into his life sentence, has taken him to court in a bid to get a share of the $4 million compensation.
Traci Tucker claims he owes her money that she would have been entitled to had they divorced and shared their assets.
But Steven Phillips said Traci Tucker has been with another man for over 20 years and has had nothing to do with her.
Steven Phillips’ lawyer, Tim McKenzie, described Traci Tucker’s claim as more “like winning the lottery 20 years after a divorce”.
“The overall issue is when people come into money, everybody comes out of the walls,” Tim McKenzie said.
Steven Phillips said his ex wife rarely visited him in prison and stopped coming altogether after three years.
Steven Phillips and Traci Tucker were divorced in 1991.
Lawyers said Traci Tucker, who has a son with her ex-husband, is attempting to make legal history by going after the compensation paid to a wrongfully convicted person.
Steven Phillips, a roofer, was jailed in 1982 for a two day crime spree involving several sexual assaults.
Investigators later found the DNA matched that of Sidney Alvin Goodyear, who went out to carry a series of further attacks. Sidney Alvin Goodyear had died by the time Steven Phillips was freed.