In 2000, Adnan Syed, was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee and was given a life sentence plus 30 years. In July 2016, Judge Martin P. Welch vacated Syed's conviction and ordered a new trial. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

The producers of an HBO series examining the case against Adnan Syed in the murder of Hae Min Lee drew a rebuke last week from the administrative judge of Baltimore Circuit Court for airing footage of court proceedings.

State law forbids the broadcast of such proceedings. HBO included video clips and recordings from the old case in episodes of the four-part series “The Case Against Adnan Syed.”


“HBO should immediately cease any broadcasting of Maryland criminal trials,” W. Michel Pierson wrote HBO attorneys. The letter was provided to The Baltimore Sun. “A person who violates this prohibition may be held in contempt of court.”

When asked about the footage last week, an HBO spokeswoman emailed a statement to The Sun.

“The courtroom footage was obtained lawfully and relates to a matter of public concern. The First Amendment protects the filmmaker’s right to include it in the documentary.”

The public may request to privately watch old courthouse recordings. Court officials had previously considered holding producers of the popular podcast “Serial” in contempt for broadcasting audio of Syed’s trial.

Two state delegates have introduced legislation to allow media organizations cameras in the courtroom during sentencing hearings.

Here’s why Adnan Syed’s trial footage is not usually available to the public.