In 1999, the case received only local media coverage. However, it became much more widely followed when the case became the subject of a viral Serial podcast in late 2014.
Adnan Syed, Hae Min Lee’s former boyfriend and schoolmate, was convicted of first degree murder, false imprisonment, kidnapping, and robbery in the case and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in February 2000. Syed has served more than 15 years for the crime while continuously maintaining his innocence in the case.
The Baltimore Sun has reported that Syed’s lawyer, C. Justin Brown, filed a motion in court Monday stating that cellphone evidence in the case against his client was unreliable, something that AT&T advised in a cover letter, which was somehow ignored by Syed’s original defense lawyer.
The unreliable cellphone evidence provided by AT&T placed Syed in Leakin Park at the time of Lee’s death. Asia McClean, another student, had provided an alibi for the whereabouts of Syed at the time of Hae Min Lee’s death, which was also missed by Syed’s original defense attorney, whose handling of the evidence and case has come under question.
Rabia Chaudry, a friend of the Syed family, can be heard speaking about the Asia McClean alibi in the following MSNBC interview.
In the motion, Brown made statements with regard to the veracity of the AT&T records originally used in the case.
“Much of, if not all of, the cellular evidence would have been rendered inadmissible… We feel that the fax cover sheet from AT&T is an extremely important piece of evidence, and we are bringing it to the court’s attention as quickly as possible. We hope the court considers it.”
“If AT&T, the architect and operator of the cell tower network, did not think incoming calls were ‘reliable information for location,’ it is unfathomable that a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge would have allowed an expert opinion.”
Jay Wilds, a friend of Adnan Syed, gave testimony during the original trial that he had helped Syed bury Hae Min Lee in the park. Rabia Chaudry states that she and a team of lawyers have demonstrated that the Baltimore City Police coached Wilds and that his testimony should be considered unreliable.
The new cellphone evidence, along with the Asia McClean alibi coming to light, still leaves questions with regard to Wild’s testimony. Brown wrote that with the new evidence in the case, “the credibility of Asia McClain [now] is pitted against the credibility of Jay Wilds.”
[Adnan Syed / Hae Min Lee Screenshot Courtesy MSNBC YouTube Account]