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Adnan Syed Conviction Overturned After Popular Podcast Casts Doubts

The conviction of Adnan Syed was vacated by a judge on Monday, September 19th in Baltimore, Maryland on the slaying of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. This comes years after the hit podcast “Serial” breathed life into his case and cast doubt on his role in the murder.

The judge Melissa Phinn said that the prosecutors made a compelling case that Syed’s conviction was flawed and that he should go free. New evidence since the trial was also discovered that would have added “substantial and significant probability that the result would have been different.”

The judge’s ruling was met with loud cheers by Syed’s supporters inside the courtroom and those outside awaiting him in the car.

City State’s attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement “we are not yet declaring Adnan Syed’s innocence. We are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice, he is entitled to a new trial.”

Lee was 18 when she was killed and her body was found buried at Baltimore’s Leakin Park. In 2000, Syed was sentenced to life behind bars. It wasn’t, however, until the podcast “Serial” that he began to gain notoriety for his case.

The Peabody Award Winning podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig raised serious doubts about the legal case against the defendant and the reliability of a key cooperating witness, all while never making a definitive finding about Syed’s guilt or innocence. The podcast also explored that Syed’s Muslim faith may have contributed to juror bias.

When “Serial’s” first season ended Syed already had an appeal in 2014 awaiting him. In 2016, Syed’s conviction was vacated based on flimsy cellphone evidence and Syed’s attorney’s failure to interview a classmate who had said she saw Syed at the library at the time of the murder.

The popular podcast Serial reopened the investigation into Syed’s case to seek some sort of closure, which today leaves Syed a free man.

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  • Zainab Rights

    Zainab Rights is a Muslim American Journalist and Editor in Chief at TMJ News Network. She holds a double degree in Political Science and Homeland Security and a Masters in Journalism from Harvard University. She has over 12 years of experience in political commentary, writing and video production.

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