Serial fans rejoice! Adnan is getting a new trial!
If that sentence didn’t make any sense to you, let me explain. In 2014, NPR began airing a podcast called Serial. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, a producer on This American Life, the first season of the podcast was a deep dive into the trial and murder conviction of Adnan Syed from Baltimore, MD.
Syed was in prison for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. He was convicted on the strength of cell phone tower data and the testimony of others. Syed himself claims his innocence but wasn’t able to do much for his defense because he literally couldn’t say where he’d been during the time Lee was killed.
The case came to the attention of Serial producers when a family friend, Baltimore area lawyer Rabia Chaudry, contacted them. Chaudry was hoping for a new trial for Syed because of what she saw as malpractice on the part of this defense lawyer. Specifically, the lawyer ignored possible evidence of an eyewitness who could place Syed at a library — not murdering anyone — during the time the murder had occurred.
There’s also been testimony that the cell-tower data that places Syed’s phone in different spots is faulty by its very nature, something his original lawyer did not question at trial.
And did we mention that Syed’s lawyer was in the midst of a personal crisis during the time of the trial and would end up being disbarred due to financial malfeasance a few years later? Yeah. All of this adds up to an inadequate defense claim that a judge granted this week.
No word on when the new trial will happen, but here’s hoping Serial will be present to break it all down for us!