Serial podcast host Sarah Koenig has shared her thoughts on Adnan Syed’s new trial.
Syed, now 35, is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999.
Interest in the case heightened following the award-winning first season of Serial, which investigated the murder, and a Maryland judge has now granted Syed a new trial.
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The news sent Koenig into shock.
“I happened to be on Skype with our Executive Producer Julie Snyder, and both of us did exactly the same involuntary thing of sucking in our breath and then putting our hands over our mouths,” wrote the former political reporter in a post on the Serial website. “We weren’t so much shocked because of the legal arguments, but because it was such a longshot, this outcome.”
Koenig went on to detail her earlier conversations with Syed, including one that took place shortly after Judge Martin P. Welch’s decision to deny Syed’s first petition for post-conviction relief in December 2013.
“At the time, it seemed to me Adnan was spinning optimistic,” continued Koenig. “Possibly falsely so. I mean, his legal options, by any clear-eyed assessment, were moribund. And yet Adnan struck this familiar jailhouse posture: ‘If only someone would take another look…’”
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While Serial has brought widespread attention to the case, Koenig added that one of the key findings which lead to the new trial – Syed’s then-attorney M. Christina Gutierrez conducting a “deeply deficient” cross examination of a cell phone expert – was not brought to light by the podcast.