Thursday afternoon, an appeals court in Maryland upheld the decision to grant a new trial to Adnan Syed, subject of the podcast Serial. Syed was convicted in 2000 of murdering his high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee, but the conviction was vacated in 2016 due to a costly decision by Syed’s defense attorney. Syed’s attorney, C. Justin Brown, is holding a press conference to discuss the victory. Watch live in the player above.
A lower court said that the original conviction should be tossed on the grounds that Syed’s lawyer in the original trial didn’t question an important witness. That witness, Asia McClain, has said that Syed was in their school library at the time that prosecutors say he killed Lee in 1999. McClain has also said that she contacted Syed’s lawyer about this.
Prosecutors said that McClain shouldn’t be the basis for vacating Syed’s conviction, because they have two witnesses who claim that McClain said she planned on lying to help Syed.
Ultimately, Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward felt that not even questioning McClain during the trial constituted “deficient performance” on the part Syed’s trial lawyer.