Adnan Syed Is Finally Getting A New Trial, And He Has All Of Us To Thank For It


Serial Podcast

Wooooooo. Shout out to all of us who did the extremely easy and extremely passive task of listening.

We accomplished something.

Well, not really. But many other people did.

Adnan Syed, the focus of the first season of the breakout podcast Serial, has been granted a new trial thanks to the dogged reporting of Sarah Koenig and the persistence of his lawyer.

C. Justin Brown, his new lawyer, tweeted the news of the retrial.

The retrial was granted by a judge in Maryland, who found that the defense provided by Syed’s original lawyer was grossly negligent.

From The New York Times:

The announcement by Mr. Brown follows three days of post-conviction hearings in February during which Mr. Syed and his legal team were able to present new evidence, including the testimony of a new alibi witness, and argue that his original defense counsel had been grossly negligent.

In February, Mr. Syed’s defense challenged the testimony of an AT&T engineer whose sworn statements on cellphone data were used to link Mr. Syed to the park where Ms. Lee’s body was buried. The engineer, Abraham Waranowitz, said he was not shown a crucial disclaimer about cell tower data that would have affected his testimony in the murder trial.

But much of the defense team’s argument for a retrial centered on the testimony of Asia McClain, an alibi witness who also figured prominently in “Serial.”

Ms. McClain testified on Wednesday that she had seen and chatted with Mr. Syed in a public library in Woodlawn, Md., at the time that Ms. Lee was killed. She was not called as a defense witness in the original trial.

Mr. Brown had argued that the decision not to call Ms. McClain to testify deeply damaged the defendant’s case and constituted gross negligence on the part of his original trial lawyer, Maria Cristina Gutierrez.

A date has not been announced for his retrial.