Prosecutors request new trial for ‘Serial’ subject Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — On Wednesday, prosecutors in Baltimore requested a judge to reverse Adnan Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a case detailed in the hit podcast “Serial.”The state’s attorney for Baltimore filed a request in circuit court, claiming that a protracted investigation done with the defense found new information that could jeopardize Syed’s conviction. Prosecutors have filed a motion to vacate Adnan Syed’s murder conviction, which drew international notoriety after being featured on the podcast Serial.

Syed, 42, has maintained his innocence for decades and attracted the attention of millions in 2014 when the first season of the “Serial” podcast focused on the case and raised questions about some of the evidence, including cellphone tower data.

Prosecutors push for Syed’s release

Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they are not claiming Syed is innocent, but that they lack trust “in the integrity of the conviction” and that he be released on his own recognizance or bond.

“We believe that detaining Mr. Syed while we continue to investigate the case with everything we know today when we lack confidence in the conclusions of the first trial, would be unjust,” Mosby stated.

If the court grants the state’s attorney’s motion, this would literally put Syed in a fresh trial status and his convictions will be vacated, but the case will remain alive.

The outcome of the ongoing investigation will determine whether the State ultimately pursues a trial in this matter or dismisses the allegations,” the state’s attorney’s office noted.

According to the state attorney’s office, two other individuals may be implicated. Prosecutors claimed that reinvestigating the case found evidence indicating the likely involvement of two more individuals besides Syed. According to the state’s attorney’s office, the two suspects may be involved separately or jointly. One suspect threatened Lee, stating “he will make her suffer.”

One of the suspects threatened Lee, claiming that “he would make her (Ms. Lee) disappear.” According to the petition, he “would murder her.”

Prosecutors said the suspects were known people at the time of the original investigation and were not adequately ruled out or given to the defense.

According to prosecutors, the inquiry also discovered a separate document from the original trial file in which a different source communicated information that can be interpreted as a motive for the same suspect to injure the victim. According to the state’s attorney’s office, the information about the threat and reasons to injure could have offered a basis for the defense but was not shared with the trial or post-conviction defense counsel.

Prosecutors also stated that new information revealed that one of the suspects was convicted of assaulting a woman in her vehicle, as well as multiple rape and sexual assault. Due to the continuing investigation, the state’s attorney’s office declined to divulge any information about the suspects.

Prosecutors also cited untrustworthy cellular data used to substantiate Syed’s whereabouts on the day of the crime during his court case. The warning on the records stated unequivocally that billing locations for incoming calls “would not be regarded as valid information for the location.”

The state’s attorney’s office stated that “evidence demonstrated that the State should not have relied on the incoming call evidence.”

Syed has been in prison for more than 20 years for strangling Lee, who was 18 at the time. Her body was discovered buried in a Baltimore park many weeks later.

Over a decade later, the famous “Serial” podcast disclosed previously unknown evidence and drew millions of listeners, breaking podcast-streaming and downloading records.

A lower court ordered Syed’s retrial in 2016 on the grounds that his lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, who died in 2004, failed to contact an alibi witness and gave incompetent representation.

However, following a series of challenges, Maryland’s top court denied a fresh trial in a 4-3 decision in 2019. The Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that Syed’s legal counsel failed to investigate an alibi witness, but it disputed that the failure affected the case. According to the court, Syed renounced his claim of ineffective counsel.




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