Syed always proclaimed his innocence
Adnan Syed's yearbook photo
Listen up, Serial fans—on Thursday afternoon, a circuit court judge in Baltimore ordered a new trial for Adnan Syed, whose 1999 trial for murdering his high-school girlfriend Hae Min Lee was the subject of season one of Serial, one of the most-downloaded podcast series ever. The judge also vacated the original conviction.
The whole Syed legal team is in a celebratory mood, including his defense attorney:
So is Rabia Chaudry, a family friend of the Syeds who originally brought the trial to the attention of Serial producer Sarah Koenig:
In a phone call to the Baltimore Sun, Syed’s brother Yusef confirmed that the family is “feeling great,” adding that he “had a feeling in my heart it was going to happen... We are just very happy. It's not only a win for us but a win for a lot of people who are stuck in the [justice] system.”
Baltimore City Court is hosting the order from judge Martin P. Welch in its entirety online.
Within, Welch agrees with a major claim of the defense—that by failing to cross examine a cell phone tower expert, Syed’s original lawyer provided ineffective counsel. The cell phone tower data was a subject of controversy on Serial—show creators even put together a map detailing its inconsistencies.
Not everyone on the internet is as thrilled about the news as Adnan’s friends and family, however (though it’s a little tough to admit it on a day when #FreeAdnan is taking over Twitter).