Jay's Part Two Interview About 'Serial' Reveals His Interactions With Sarah Koenig Weren't Great
The voice that we've been missing since Serial started was Jay, the one testimony that convicted Adnan Syed for Hae Min Lee's murder. Now, Jay is ready to speak out and he has done so with The Intercept, and reporter Natasha Vargas-Cooper. In part one of his interview, we learned about the discrepancies in the case that seemed to be entirely because Jay changed his story a million times. We got a better understanding of the timeline that Sarah Koenig had created the day of Hae Min Lee's murder.
In part two, Jay is revealing what his interactions with Sarah Koenig were like, and who he thinks might have been behind the anonymous call to the cops. Here is everything we learned from part two of Jay's interview about Serial .
Who was behind the anonymous call the police received suggesting they look into Adnan?
Jay obviously doesn't know who made the call, but he has an idea. Jay thinks it could have been a mosque leader (let's call him Mr. B), who called cops and told them to look into Adnan Syed. Jay thinks that Adnan might have confided in him (in a confessional type way), and the leader might have felt it necessary to warn the police. Jay thinks this because Mr. B cooperated with police during the investigation, but during the grand jury trial, he pleaded the fifth on the stand... which could have been a way to protect himself if he would have shared something self-incriminating.
Does he feel shame for helping bury Hae Min Lee?
Yes. Jay even says he felt suicidal at one point. He feels like he should have done something when Adnan mentioned killing her (something he didn't take seriously — from part one).
What are his thoughts on the users on Reddit and Twitter that say he should have been punished?
Not all your humanity is gone when you do something wrong. Criminals are criminals, and they do fucked up shit, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have some sort of a moral compass. And once you engage in a criminal act….You don’t lose your link to humanity.
What would Jay have changed?
Jay doesn't know if he had a direct affect on Hae being killed. He thinks he could have listened better and taken things more seriously.
How did Jay feel when Sarah Koenig came poking around?
Jay was aware that Sarah was asking about him, since he had received phone calls from friends saying that she was "harassing" those that knew him at their places of work and via the phone. His personal interaction was incredibly uncomfortable. Jay says that when Sarah knocked on his door he knew she was the one asking about him and that he knew it was about Hae's murder. According to Jay, the only time he wanted to go through the details of what happened again were if Hae's mother asked to know the details of what happened. Only then would he want to provide a timeline of what he knew.
Did Jay feel that Sarah Koenig was acting sneaky?
According to Jay, Sarah never mentioned a podcast, much less the name Serial (NOTE: Jay says Sarah did mention This American Life multiple times, so it isn't that strange that she didn't use Serial since that wasn't a known name when Sarah visited him). Sarah also mentioned putting Jay on video, as a sort of a documentary. Jay says his wife — who knew about his past — was very paranoid about details of their life getting out, so when Sarah showed up she became upset. At one point, Jay asked Sarah (and Julie) to leave. Sarah told Jay, "It's going to be in your best interest to talk to me," which Jay took as a threat.
What did Sarah's email to Jay say?
Hello Jay, I promise I won’t use this email address to badger you. But I did want to thank you so much for talking to us yesterday and for letting us into your house. I know it wasn’t an easy visit for you or your family. Both Julie and I felt pretty terrible that we caused such upheaval. We didn’t want or mean for that to happen, but I completely understand why it did. I thought it would be important for you to meet me in person, so you could get a sense of who I am and what my intentions are. But I also recognize what a jarring intrusion it was, and I’m sorry about that. I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to think it over. I get that it’s a big decision. Of course we’d be more than happy to have coffee or a drink with you and [Jay's wife] today (Saturday) or tomorrow, to answer your questions and to try our best to ease any fears you might have. Again, I’m not out to vilify anyone – no one’s talking about revenge or retribution here. That’s not what this is about. I’m not on anyone’s side. I’m a reporter, and I’m trying to figure this case out. I know you and your wife were concerned that we found you. Alas, it wasn’t difficult at all. So I can’t protect you from that, obviously. But I can do my best to make you hard to identify in the story, so that if someone googled your name, for instance, my story wouldn’t come up. I’m not using your last name, and I won’t say where you live – or anything about your family. When you ask what’s the benefit to you, it’s a little hard for me to answer, because it’s kind of a personal question specific to you, and I don’t know you enough to know the answer. But what I can tell you with confidence is that I think in the end, you’ll feel better with the end result if you’re an active voice in the story — rather than someone who’s being talked about, you get to do the talking. I think the simplest pitch I can make to you is: You have a story about what happened to you, and you should be the one to tell it. That’s why I came to [location redacted], to ask you to tell your story. You’re in the documentary either way, so it just seems more respectful and fair to you to let you tell what happened, rather then having me piece it together from whatever I can glean from the record. On paper, in the trial transcript, you’re two-dimensional. But in real life, of course you’re more than just a state’s witness. You’re a person who went through a traumatic thing. To hear you call yourself a “scoundrel with scruples” – that made me want to understand who you were then, and who you are now. And also, even just meeting you yesterday for that short time, hearing you talk so forcefully about what you saw, and about Adnan’s guilt – for both Julie and me, that was powerful and clarifying. No one else knows what you know about this whole case, and so even just the few things you said – it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting to hear. . . .
Did Jay tell Sarah his side of the story?
Sarah mentioned that there was new evidence in the case, but Jay wasn't interested in that. All he told Sarah about the case was that no matter what the new evidence was, it didn't change what he saw in the trunk of the car... Hae's body.
Did Jay listen to Serial?
Nope, he couldn't. According to Jay, he felt demonized by the show. His wife would read the transcripts online and friends would call and tell him his name and voice were being played on the radio, but Jay never listened to the show.
How has his life changed?
A direct quote:
Do you ever read Reddit? Have you read the subReddit about this case and about me? Everything’s changed.
Part three of The Intercept's interview with Jay will be released soon.