New trial sought in ‘Serial’ case

Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore prior to a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 in BaltimoreImage copyright

A convicted murderer whose case was the focus of the wildly popular podcast Serial is in court for a chance at a new trial.

A three-day hearing in the case of Adnan Syed, 35, began on Wednesday in Baltimore.

The hearing will focus on an alibi witness never called to testify and mobile phone records defence lawyers say are misleading.

The case propelled the podcast, Serial, to an iTunes record, reaching five million downloads faster than any other programme.

The podcast raised questions about the fairness of Syed’s trial in Hae Min Lee’s death, but ultimately did not pass judgment on his guilt or innocence.

Syed is currently serving a life sentence for the murder.

The programme gained a cult following and last year, an Maryland appeals court granted a hearing on the possibility of a new trial.

“We’ve waited a long time to get back into court and to put on witnesses that will prove our claim, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do this week,” said Justin Brown, Syed’s lawyer.

Sarah Koenig, Serial’s producer and presenter, was in the courthouse for the hearing.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Sarah Koenig and the Serial team won a Peabody award for the podcast

The alibi witness in the case, Asia McClain, is expected to testify during the hearing. Ms McClain has said she saw Syed at a library the day Lee was strangled – and had contacted Syed before his first trial.

But his lawyer at the time never contacted her to testify at the trial.

The Maryland attorney general’s office, which is handling the case for the state, has opposed Syed’s request for a new trial

Prosecutors are expected to call the original prosecutor as well as an FBI agent who specialises in mobile data.

comments powered by Disqus