Two graduates of Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, who are sisters, came forward with their claims in August, in sworn statements to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. They claimed that in 1999, shortly after Syed’s arrest, Chapman (formerly Asia McClain) told them in a co-op class that she’d “make up a lie” to prove Syed didn’t kill their classmate Hae Min Lee – Syed’s ex-girlfriend.
The sisters also said they had a heated argument in class about it with Chapman, according to court documents.
But Chapman is pushing back against their recollections of that time period: She said in a statement Wednesday, obtained by PEOPLE, that the sisters could not even identify themselves in a photo Chapman had given them in March of the high school class, when fact-checking her memoir, Confessions of a Serial Alibi.
According to Chapman, one sister didn’t know the teacher’s name while the other “had no idea of what class the photo was taken,” Chapman said.
A spokeswoman with the attorney general’s office declined comment on Chapman’s statement to PEOPLE, saying in an email, “Our office does not comment on pending litigation.”
In February, Chapman testified for the first time, at a post-conviction hearing, that she was with Syed in a library on the school’s campus during the time that prosecutors claim he killed Lee, and that she had written him two letters stating this in the days after his 1999 arrest.
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Syed’s original defense attorney got the letters, according to documents presented at the hearing, but never contacted Chapman for his 2000 trial, which ended with his conviction and life sentencing.
In June, a judge vacated Syed’s murder conviction and life sentence and granted him a new trial – not on Chapman’s testimony, but on grounds having to do with the unreliability of cell phone tower data, which was cited as evidence at trial.
The state is now appealing that ruling. Attorneys for Syed have indicating that Chapman’s testimony could be relevant in the appeals process.
Justin Brown, Syed’s lead attorney, tweeted Tuesday, “The State’s ‘bizarre’ allegations regarding @AsiaRChapman only underscore the need to retry this case ASAP. #FreeAdnan”
In her statement this week, Chapman provided screenshots of Facebook conversations with the sisters, with whom she says she had a friendly relationship until they “verbally attacked” and blocked her this summer. Chapman was so taken aback by their change in attitude towards her that she thought one sister’s Facebook account had been hacked, she said.
“It has been with great dismay that I read these entirely false allegations from these two sisters and it is with great sadness that I am now forced to question the true purpose and motivations behind these awful and untrue allegations,” she said. “I have never wavered in my recollection of the events surrounding the murder of Ms. Lee.”