Will Adnan Syed Get A New Trial? Investigation Discovery Explores His Case In A New Special
Just like many people who listened to Season 1 of the Serial podcast, defense attorney Justin Brown thinks that Adnan Syed is entitled to a new trial. Syed was convicted for murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, but has always maintained his innocence. In the Investigative Discovery (ID) special Adnan Syed: Innocent or Guilty?, footage of an interview with Syed's new lawyer Justin Brown showed him discussing the major reasons why he thinks that Syed should not have been found guilty, despite his conviction. Years later, Brown he was able to secure a post-conviction hearing for Syed. The judge from the February 2016 hearing still hasn't ruled whether or not Syed will receive a new trial for the murder of Lee.
In the ID special, Brown's interview footage showed him reiterating his reasoning behind why he believes Syed deserves another trial. His first point was that he believes Asia McClain (now Asia McClain Chapman) should have been called to testify in the original murder trial. As seen in the special, McClain wrote a letter to Syed after his arrest that claimed she had seen Syed in the library during the time that the defense said he was murdering Lee. According to The Daily Mail, McClain took the stand during the new February 2016 hearing to describe her alleged interaction with Syed in the library on Jan. 13, 1999.
Brown's second reason that he believes the convicted Syed deserves a new trial has to do with those cell phone records Koenig had poured over in Serial. As Susan Simpson from the podcast Undisclosed discovered, there was an fax cover letter from the phone company included in evidence with Syed's phone records that said, "Any incoming calls will NOT be reliable information for location." (You can read the fax cover sheet yourself on Serial's website.) Now that this fax sheet has been discovered, Brown claimed in the February hearing that the cell phone evidence in the murder trial should not have been used.
According to the Huffington Post, Abraham Waranowitz, the prosecution’s expert witness during the murder trial, allegedly didn't know about this paper. The website reported that Waranowitz claimed in a 2015 affidavit that he wasn't given the page and "consider[s] the existence of the disclaimer about incoming calls to have been critical information for [him] to address." He also claimed in the affidavit that he if he'd known about it, he “would have inquired further within [his] organization and attempted to learn why this disclaimer was issued.”
So could a fax cover sheet, plus McClain's alleged library alibi, really give Syed a new trial? Brown definitely thinks so, but it's completely up to the judge who presided over the February hearing.
Image: Investigative Discovery