Asia McClain Speaks On Behalf Of 'Serial's Adnan Syed, Sharing Her Own Story With The Public — VIDEO
When I listened to the first episode of Serial all the way back in October 2014, I had no idea it would still be a part of my life a year and a half later. However, after watching Asia McClain speaking on behalf of Adnan Syed in court, oh boy, am I still invested. As I'm sure you recall from Sarah Koenig's explanation, McClain was one of Syed's fellow Woodlawn High School students back in 1999, who, after Syed's arrest in 2000, wrote two letters to Syed in which she claimed to remember speaking with him at the library during the time when prosecutors claim he would have been committing the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. You'd think that an alibi witness like McClain would have been crucial during the 2000 trial, but, actually, she was never even contacted by the defense, let alone called to testify.
McClain's absence in the first trial is what this current petition for post-conviction relief hinges on, as Syed and his lawyers claim that the fact that Syed's original lawyer Cristina Gutierrez never followed up with McClain is proof that she was ineffective counsel. Gutierrez, who passed away in 2004, cannot refute these claims, but the family of Hae Min Lee has released a statement of their own in which they said:
It remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime, who destroyed our family, who refuses to accept responsibility, when so few are willing to speak up for Hae... unlike those who learn about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials — so many witnesses, so much evidence.
This is a big moment for McClain, and Syed as well, of course, and I was really looking forward to hearing McClain speak for herself after all this time, instead of being spoken about. Much has been made about her decision to come forward, with all kinds of theories from the prosecution, the defense, and regular people, about what has led her to do so. However, she explained it herself in an interview with ABC:
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.
Honestly, there's not much she could have said that would be more convincing to me that she's speaking her truth, here. After all the months of discussion of her motives, I was really expecting McClain to say that she came forward because she thinks Syed is innocent, but she makes it clear that she doesn't actually have an opinion on that. Instead, she's speaking up solely because she feels like it's the right thing to do, and will trust whatever decision the judge hands down as far as whether or not to grant Syed a new trial.
I hope that enough information was presented to the judge for him to be able to make a rational decision. Whatever that might be, is in his hands.
No matter what happens, I'm just relieved to see McClain get some agency over her own story, and finally be invited to tell it.