Prosecutors are asking Maryland’s highest court to reverse a ruling that grants a new trial to “Serial” podcast subject Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of his Woodlawn High School classmate Hae Min Lee.
Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office asked the Maryland Court of Appeals on Monday to reverse a lower court’s ruling to overturn Syed’s conviction in the case.
Convicted in 2000, Syed was sentenced to life in prison for killing Lee, his former girlfriend, whose body was found in Leakin Park.
Syed has maintained his innocence, and his case attracted international attention in 2014 when it was featured on “Serial.” The podcast was downloaded millions of times and prompted legions of listeners to scrutinize the case online.
He appealed his conviction on the grounds that his previous attorney failed to call a key alibi witness. He also questioned the reliability of cellphone evidence used to place him at the spot where Lee's body was found.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals accepted only the argument that Syed’s attorney erred in not calling the witness. In March, the judges ordered his conviction be thrown out.
Now, prosecutors are asking the state’s highest court to reverse that order. They argue Syed’s defense attorney did a thorough job and the witness, Asia McClain, would not have changed the outcome of the case.
“The record in this case is replete with evidence of defense counsel developing, investigating, and presenting at trial a battery of defense, including an alibi defense that a seasoned attorney could reasonably have concluded would not have been aided — and more likely would have been compromised — by the proposed narrative of a single added witness,” wrote Thiru Vignarajah, special assistant to the attorney general.
This latest appeal likely means Syed won’t know for months whether his conviction will stand or if he will receive a new trial.