The witnesses allege Asia Chapman told them she would "make up a lie" to prove Syed's innocence
Asia Chapman, formerly Asia McClain, said that she was with Syed in a school library at the time prosecutors believe he killed his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. But two former classmates of Chapman’s told the Maryland Attorney Generals Office in an email that her story is untrue.
“Chapman’s story about seeing Adnan in the library the day Hae was killed is a lie,” one of the witnesses, who are sisters, wrote. She noted that Chapman told them she would “make up a lie” because she “believed so much in Adnan [sic] innocence,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. The documents were filed as part of an appeal by prosecutors of a judge’s June decision to grant Syed a new trial.
The documents include a Facebook chat exchange between one of the witnesses and Chapman, with the woman writing, “I think it’s sad [Syed] may actually be set free because of you and this fabricated story.”
Lee was found strangled and dumped in the wooded area of a park in Baltimore. Syed, now 35, was convicted of her murder in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison.
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Chapman’s testimony was part of Syed’s effort to land a new trial earlier this year. Among other alleged legal errors, lawyers claimed that Syed’s former attorney Christina Gutierrez never contacted Chapman.
However, Judge Martin P. Welch’s decision to grant a new trial wasn’t based on Chapman’s testimony but rather the reliability of cell tower evidence the prosecution used to place Syed was in the park where Lee’s body was found.
The sisters, who were former classmates at Woodlawn High School, approached the attorney general’s office this summer, after Syed was granted the new trial. Officials asked that the sisters’ statements be used in court in the event that Chapman’s story is introduced.
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The sisters told the attorney general’s office that they tried to talk Chapman out of allegedly lying to help Syed.
“Both my sister and I (more so my sister) argued with Asia about how serious this situation was,” one of the women said. “She just said that it wouldn’t hurt anything – that if he truly was guilty, then he would be convicted.”
Chapman’s attorney, Gary Proctor, questioned the claims of the witnesses in a Monday statement, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“Given that the case is now before an appellate court, we question the timing of these bizarre, and wholly factually untrue, allegations,” he said.