An HBO docuseries on Adnan Syed’s conviction in the 1999 murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee is slated for a spring release.
HBO on Tuesday released a trailer for the four-part documentary, “The Case Against Adnan Syed.”
Syed, the subject of the wildly popular “Serial” podcast, was convicted in 2000 of killing his former girlfriend and Woodlawn High School classmate. But “Serial” raised questions about why his attorney, M. Cristina Gutierrez, did not call a potential alibi witness. The attorney died in 2004.
Syed’s conviction was vacated in June 2016 by a Baltimore circuit judge, and the Court of Special Appeals upheld the decision, prompting the state to bring its case for reinstating the conviction before Maryland’s highest court in November.
The HBO trailer prominently features Syed’s family friend, Rabia Chaudry, who brought the case to “Serial” host and former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig. The documentary, directed by Academy Award nominee Amy Berg, promises “a piece of evidence that nobody even realized existed for all these years.”
“When you are working on a case that you think is a wrongful conviction, you’re only on one side, and that side is getting to the truth,” Chaudry says in the trailer.
Syed’s initial appeal questioned the reliability of cellphone evidence used to place him at the spot where Lee's body was found. After Judge Martin Welch vacated the conviction on the cellphone grounds, the state appealed the decision, and Syed's attorneys also filed a separate conditional appeal, asking the Court of Special Appeals to look at the alibi issue.
The Court of Special Appeals rejected the argument that the mishandling of cellphone tower evidence was grounds for a new trial, as the lower court had found. But it upheld the lower court ruling nonetheless, accepting the argument that Syed’s defense should have called Asia McClain Chapman to the stand as an alibi witness, something the lower court had not accepted.
It’s unclear when the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, will make a decision. Chaudry said in November that Syed’s family expects a ruling by August.
A news release did not list specific air dates, and a spokesman said they were not yet available.