Adnan Syed: Serial podcast topic could be released after prosecutors seek new trial | American News

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Baltimore prosecutors have filed a motion seeking a new trial for Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was the subject of the highly popular Serial podcast.

Syed was 17 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 murder of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

He has maintained his innocence and appealed his conviction for years – the case first brought to the world’s attention by the hit 2014 podcast, which raised doubts about Syed’s guilt.

After serving more than 20 years in prison, he could now be released, pending a new trial.

Serial evidence suggested by witness Asia McClain could have corroborated Syed’s account that he was in the library at the time of the murder.

The motion filed today in support of a new trial for Syed revealed new information regarding two alternate suspects.

It is claimed that evidence pointing to two other people – including one who threatened to kill the victim – was not disclosed to Syed’s defense lawyers at the time of his initial trial.

According to the trial record, one of the suspects said, “He would do it [Ms. Lee] vanish. He would kill her.”

Both have been known to police since 1999, according to a court filing.

New information also revealed that one of the suspects was convicted of assaulting a woman in her vehicle and one of the suspects was convicted of serial rape and sexual assault.

The victim’s car was also found directly behind the home of one of the suspect’s family members.

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Adnan and Hae Min Lee at the ball. Image from the trial against Adnan Syed. Pic Pic: HBO / Sky Atlantic / NOW TV
Adnan Syed in 2016
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Adnan Syed in 2016

Unreliable and inconsistent testimonials

The state also acknowledged concerns that the conviction was based primarily on one witness’s unreliable and inconsistent testimony, corroborated by inaccurate and misleading forensic evidence.

Much of Mr Syed’s initial trial relied on cellphone data records, which corroborated some of Jay Wilds’ testimony regarding Syed’s whereabouts throughout the day. However, the notice on the records specifically stated that billing locations for incoming calls “would not be considered reliable location information.”

Despite this notice, prosecutors used the billing location for incoming calls for exactly that purpose – to prove that the defendant was in a particular area at a particular time.

“For this reason, after nearly a year of investigation into the facts of this case, Syed deserves a new trial where he is adequately represented and where the final evidence can be presented,” prosecutor Marilyn Mosby said.

She said prosecutors had spoken with Ms. Hae Min Lee’s family.

Read more: Serial and the case against Adnan Syed

The case against Adnan Syed: Photo: HBO/ Sky Atlantic/ NOW TV
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Adnan was only 17 when he was sentenced. Photo: HBO/Sky Atlantic/NOW TV
Syed was only 17 when he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.  Photo: AP
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Syed was only 17 when he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. Photo: AP

Demand that Syed be released

If the court grants this motion, it will effectively place Mr Syed in a new trial status – his convictions will be overturned but the case remains active.

“Whether the state will ultimately pursue a trial in this case or dismiss the charges will depend on the outcome of the ongoing investigation,” the filing said.

“The state will request that the defendant be released on his own responsibility or on bail pending inquest if this court grants the immediate request.”

Prosecutors are not saying Syed is innocent but said “the state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction.”

Shamim Rahman, Adnan Syed's mother, wipes away a tear in the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2018
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Shamim Rahman, Adnan Syed’s mother, wipes away a tear in the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2018

“Given the overwhelming lack of reliable evidence implicating Mr. Syed, coupled with growing evidence pointing to other suspects, this unjust conviction cannot stand,” said Assistant Public Defender Erica Suter, Mr. Syed’s attorney and Innocence Project Clinic Director.

“Mr Syed is grateful that this information has finally come to light and looks forward to his day in court.”

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