Prosecutors in Baltimore City have asked a judge to overturn the conviction of Adnan Syed, who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999 in a case that became the subject of the investigative podcast, “Serial.”
In a motion filed on Wednesday, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office and Syed’s lawyers said prosecutors failed to disclose evidence to Syed’s defense counsel regarding two other suspects, which would constitute a Brady violation.
“The motion filed today supports a new trial for Syed based on a nearly year-long investigation that revealed undisclosed and newly-developed information regarding two alternative suspects, as well as unreliable cell phone tower data,” State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in the statement.
Prosecutors did concede Syed’s innocence but said in a court filing, “However, for all the reasons set forth below, the State no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction.” Prosecutors are also requesting Syed receive a new trial.
Syed and Lee attended Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County. Her strangled body was found in Leakin Park in Baltimore City three weeks after she disappeared in January 1999.
He is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment in February 2000. Syed, who is now 41, maintains he is innocent and has failed in his attempts to appeal his conviction over the past few years.
“The instant case is one such case where there is an abundance of issues that gives the State overwhelming cause for concern,” Sentencing Review Unit (SRU) Chief Becky Feldman wrote in the motion. “The State’s Brady violations robbed the Defendant of information that would have bolstered his investigation and argument that someone else was responsible for the victim’s death.”
Erica Suter, Syed’s lawyer and the director of the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law, released a statement in response to the motion.
“Given the stunning lack of reliable evidence implicating Mr. Syed, coupled with increasing evidence pointing to other suspects, this unjust conviction cannot stand,” Suter, an assistant public defender, said. “Mr. Syed is grateful that this information has finally seen the light of day and looks forward to his day in court.”
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