‘Serial’ Host Says Adnan Syed’s New Trial Was A ‘Long Shot’

Many Serial listeners were stunned when they found out that Adnan Syed was finally granted a new trial. No one was more surprised than Serial host Sarah Koenig, who had combed through the case so thoroughly that the podcast captured the nation, and stirred up excitement for murder mysteries.

Now, Koenig is reacting to the news of Syed’s new trial. In a blog post for Serial, the host of the popular podcast series wrote that she thought it was a long shot that she would ever hear that Adnan would be granted a new trial. It would be remiss not to highlight that it’s due to Koenig’s work, combined with public outcry and offshoot podcast, Undisclosed: The State v Adnan Syed, that Adnan was granted a new trial.

In her blog post Koenig said the following.

“I happened to be on Skype with our Executive Producer Julie Snyder, and both of us did exactly the same involuntary thing of sucking in our breath and then putting out hands over our mouths.

“We weren’t so much shocked because of the legal arguments, but because it was such a longshot, this outcome.”

Many believe that Adnan was wrongly convicted of the 1999 murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. As a result of his first trial, Syed is serving a life sentence plus 30 years. As stated, interest in the case cropped up again after the 2014 podcast Serial picked it up as its first season.

Following the podcast, Syed asked for an appeal off of the testimony by Asia McClain who said that Syed was talking to her in the library when officials had pointed to the exact time in which he allegedly murdered Lee. McClain didn’t testify in the original trial, but instead came forward years later, and testified in a “post-conviction hearing” on February of 2016. As an alibi witness, McClain told ABC News about her decision to come forward.

“I was compelled by my children. Keeping that legacy, integrity, and stepping up to tell the truth was very important to me. I want my kids to know their mom was strong.”

“I just happened to be at a specific place at a specific time.”

With this evidence, as well as the cell phone tower data, the previous conviction was thrown out. According to Judge Martin P. Welch, Syed’s former lawyer’s “failure to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert about the reliability of cell tower location evidence” which led to the conviction being thrown out.

That said, the Serial host doesn’t take credit for the specific finding. She writes that because of the podcast many officials from all over looked into the case.

“Many people — reporters, attorneys, detectives, technical and legal experts — have taken another look. And in a 58-page opinion released June 30, boy oh boy did Judge Welch take another look.”

She continued:

“(This particular problem, by the way, was not brought to light because of Serial’s reporting. It was discovered by attorney Susan Simpson, working with the Undisclosed podcast started by Rabia Chaudry. She tracked down the cell phone expert who testified in Adnan’s trial, and found out he was unable to stand by his crucial trial testimony from back in 2000.”

Here’s a full transcript of Judge Welch’s opinion.

Do you think there will be a positive result from Syed’s new trial?

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