Serial: Witness Asia McClain Says She Never Recanted Adnan Syed's Alibi
McClain has written a new affidavit about the events of Jan. 13, 1999, following the success of the NPR podcast
There could be hope for Adnan Syed just yet.
In a new affidavit, Asia McClain has once again vouched for the Serial subject, insisting she was with him at the time the state claims he murdered his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.
After Syed’s arrest, McClain wrote him two letters in which she said she remembered speaking to him at the time he supposedly killed Lee. But those letters never came to light at either of Syed’s two trials and McClain has said she was never contacted by Syed’s attorney, the late Cristina Gutierrez.
McClain, now 33, told Serial host Sarah Koenig she never questioned why no one contacted her because she assumed the state had enough evidence against Syed that her testimony was irrelevant.
But at the urging of Syed’s family, following his conviction, she later wrote an affidavit that stated she spoke to Syed from 2:20 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. the day of Lee’s murder, effectively throwing a wrench in the state’s timeline for the murder, which states Lee was dead by 2:36 p.m.
However, prosecutor Kevin Urick disputed this affidavit during one of the appeal proceedings for Syed, claiming McClain told him she’d written it under distress.
“She told me that she d only written it because she was getting pressure from the family, and she basically wrote it to please them and get them off her back,” he testified.
Now McClain has stepped forward to say that never happened.
“I never told Urick that I recanted my story or affidavit about Jan. 13, 1999,” she writes in the new affidavit. “In addition, I did not write the March 1999 letters or the affidavit because of pressure from Syed s family.
“I did not write them to please Syed s family or to get them off my back,” McClain continues. “What actually happened is that I wrote the affidavit because I wanted to provide the truth about what I remembered. My only goal has always been to provide the truth about what I remembered.”
McClain says she did speak to Urick about the appeal proceedings, but implies that she was misled.
“He told me there was no merit to any claims that Syed did not get a fair trial,” she writes. “Urick discussed the evidence of the case in a manner that seemed designed to get me to think Syed was guilty and that I should not bother participating in the case.”
Adds McClain: “Urick convinced me into believing that I should not participate in any ongoing proceedings.”
In the new affidavit, McClain also reaffirms what she knows about that fateful day that Lee was killed. She says she was at the library waiting for her boyfriend when she saw Syed enter around 2:30 p.m.
They spoke about Syed and Lee’s breakup. He “seemed extremely calm and caring,” writes McClain. “He explained that he wanted her to be happy and that he had no ill will towards her.”
She left the library around 2:40 p.m. Syed, she writes, was still there.
So why is she speaking out now? “After I learned about the podcast,” McClain writes, “I learned more about Koenig s reporting, and more about the Syed case. I was shocked by the testimony of Kevin Urick and the podcast itself; however I came to understand my importance to the case.
“I realized I needed to step forward and make my story known to the court system,” she adds.
For his part, Urick says McClain’s version of events is “absolutely false.”
“I was not the one that brought up anything about evidence,” he told The Blaze. “She asked me, ‘was it a strong case?’ I said yes. That was about the extent of my response.”
He added: “She definitely told me that she wrote what she wrote, was to appease the family, to get them off her back that’s what I recall, the gist of the conversation, that she wrote something to get the family off her back, which can be interpreted that she was getting pressure.”
Urick acknowledged that he did not take notes during the conversation.
Last week, the Maryland attorney general’s office recommended the court reject Syed’s request for an appeal. The appeal hinges partially on the fact that Gutierrez did not reach out to McClain.