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Prosecutors ask court to throw out murder conviction of ‘Serial’ subject Adnan Syed

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Baltimore prosecutors are asking a judge to throw out the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, whose case found fame after it was featured on the hit podcast “Serial.” 

According to a motion filed Wednesday, prosecutors are asking for a new trial after an investigation, conducted with the defense, uncovered new evidence indicating the potential involvement of two alternative suspects. 

The ongoing investigation also found some Brady violations, or evidence improperly withheld, which the state said in the filing “robbed the Defendant of information that would have bolstered … his argument that someone else was responsible for the victim’s death.” 

Syed has long maintained his innocence in the 1999 killing of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. In 2014, the case became the topic of the first season of “Serial,” which questioned whether Syed had received a fair trial. 

“To be clear, the State is not asserting at this time that the Defendant is innocent. However, for all the reasons set forth below, the State no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction,” Assistant State’s Attorney Becky Feldman wrote in the filing. 

Syed’s legal team has long been pushing for a retrial.  

A Maryland judge in 2016 vacated Syed’s conviction on the grounds that his trial attorney had been ineffective counsel. Prosecutors appealed the decision, but Syed’s team won and a special appeals court granted a new trial in 2018.  

But prosecutors again appealed, and Maryland’s top court later denied the new trial request, stalling the effort. 

Syed asked last year for his case to be reviewed for resentencing, and prosecutors in March agreed to run new DNA tests on evidence, according to The New York Times.

Now, with new evidence of two potential suspects — who have not been named in the ongoing investigation — prosecutors are pushing for a retrial.  

“Recent history has unfortunately revealed systemic issues in the arrests, investigations and prosecution of minorities in Baltimore. These concerns can plague the credibility of some past convictions, which occasionally necessitates looking at cases where newly-discovered or additional evidence suggests the wrong person has been convicted,” prosecutors wrote, adding that this “is one such case.” 

The state also said in the filing that Syed’s continued incarceration while the investigation is ongoing “would be a miscarriage of justice.” 

Syed’s attorney and Assistant Public Defender Erica Suter said in a statement from the Maryland Office of the Public Defender that Syed is “grateful that this information has finally seen the light of day and looks forward to his day in court.”

Syed, 17 years old at the time, was convicted in 2000 of killing fellow Woodlawn High School student Lee and burying her body in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. 

Tags Adnan Syed retrial Serial
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