Friends seek new trial for 'Serial's' Adnan Syed with online petition

More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition seeking a new trial for Adnan Syed.

More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition seeking a new trial for Adnan Syed, whose story was told in the wildly-popular "Serial" podcast.

The petition, posted on change.org yesterday, says that new information revealed by the podcast and a recent interview with a key witness should prompt officials to reopen Syed's case.

Syed is serving life plus 30 years in prison for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, his former girlfriend. Both were seniors in a magnet program at Woodlawn High School when Lee's body was found in Leakin Park.

The petition states that Jay Wilds, the prosecution's star witness, has contradicted several of his sworn statements in a recent series of interviews with The Intercept. 

Wilds, a low-level drug dealer, had testified that Syed had asked him to help bury Lee's body in Leakin Park. His testimony was key to prosecutors winning a first-degree murder conviction for Syed, because he said that Syed had planned the murder in advance.

The petition also states that police and attorneys failed to investigate certain important pieces of evidence and locations, including Wilds' home and telephone.

It also says that nearly "300 references to Adnan's religion and ethnicity" were made during the trial.  Syed is Muslim and the son of Pakistani immigrants. 

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state's second-highest court, is currently weighing whether Syed received effective legal counsel.  The court has given prosecutors until Jan. 14 to say whether they believe that Syed's attorney did a good job of representing him. 

The online petition was launched by Rabia Chaudry, the attorney and family friend of the Syeds' who first brought Syed's story to "Serial" producer Sarah Koenig and attorney Dennis Robinson.

Chaudry and Robinson are also spearheading a fundraising effort for Syed's legal fees.

 

 

 

 

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