'Serial' Host Sarah Koenig Reacts to Adnan Syed's New Trial: 'It Was Such a Longshot'

Koenig recalls her previous conversations with Adnan, as she reflects on the news of his new trial.

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards

Last week news broke that Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular podcast Serial, was granted a new trial; and no one seems to be more shocked than series host Sarah Koenig.

“I happened to be on Skype with our Executive Producer Julie Snyder, and both of us did exactly the same involuntary thing of sucking in our breath and then putting out hands over our mouths,” Koenig wrote on her Serial blog. “We weren’t so much shocked because of the legal arguments, but because it was such a longshot, this outcome.”

According to the court order, which granted the new trial, Judge Martin P. Welch cited the cell phone tower data as the reason for throwing out the previous conviction. Specifically, Welch said that Syed’s former attorney’s “failure to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert about the reliability of cell tower location evidence,” as reason for the vacated conviction.

In Koenig’s posted opinion on the news, she delves into the problem which resulted in Adnan’s new trial, revealing that attorney Susan Simpson – in conjunction with Rabia Chaudry’s Undisclosed podcast – contacted “the cell phone expert who testified in Adnan’s trial, and found out he was unable to stand by his crucial trial testimony from back in 2000.”

RELATED VIDEO: Adnan Syed of Serial Podcast Will Get a New Trial as Murder Conviction Is Vacated

Revisiting her first conversations with Adnan, Koenig recalls how he seemed similar to other inmates in his optimism as he argued that things would look different, ‘”If only someone would take another look ‘”

Koenig recalls how the Serial podcast prompted many to do exactly that, including Judge Welch who had original denied Adnan’s request for a vacated conviction in 2010.

“To reduce his conclusion to one line: Welch found that Gutierrez’s (Adnan’s lawyer) cross-examination of the state’s cell phone expert at trial was so deeply deficient,” Koenig writes. “And her deficiency so avoidable if only she’d employed the twin virtues of reading comprehension and attention to detail, that Adnan’s convictions should be vacated, and he should be granted a new trial.”

The family of Hae Min Lee, Adnan’s ex-girlfriend who he was accused of killing, has not commented on his new trial. However, after the first day of Syed’s hearing for a new trial, earlier this year, Deputy Maryland Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah read aloud a statement from them.

The hearing is forcing “us to relive a nightmare we thought was behind us,” they said.

“We believe justice was done when Adnan was convicted in 2000,” the statement continued. “We look forward to bringing this chapter to an end so we can celebrate the memory of Hae instead of celebrating the man who killed her.”

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