A few years ago, Sarah Koenig became one of the most recognizable voices in America thanks to her podcast Serial, which started off by examining the strange case of Adnan Syed, a Maryland man convicted in 2000 of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee when both were teenagers. Although Serial moved on from Syed’s case in its second season (instead telling the story of Bowe Bergdahl), Syed’s story kept moving. On June 30, Judge Martin P. Welch vacated Syed’s conviction and granted him a new trial on the basis of reporting done for Undisclosed, another podcast about Syed’s story created by lawyer and family friend Rabia Chaudry. A week later, Koenig finally posted about the update on Serial‘s website.
“Last week, when I saw the news that Judge Martin P. Welch granted Adnan a new trial, 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 our hands over our mouths,” Koenig wrote. “We weren’t so much shocked because of the legal arguments, but because it was such a longshot, this outcome.”
Koenig posted her first taped conversation with Syed, who was “sunnily optimistic” despite his then-“moribund” legal situation, and a full copy of Welch’s opinion, which she described as “lively” and “fascinating.” She also noted that the crucial evidence that convinced Welch of the need for a new trial (deficient cross-examination of the state’s cell phone expert by Syed’s lawyer M. Cristina Gutierrez) was in fact brought to light by Undisclosed, not Serial.
Chaudry, who also wrote a book about Syed’s case, told EW she reacted to the ruling with “gratitude and disbelief.” She was also confident in Syed’s chances at getting a full acquittal this time around. “I am absolutely confident if this case goes to trial again we will get a full acquittal,” she said. “There is no evidence linking Adnan to the crime. In fact, the medical evidence, which I detail in my upcoming book, all but exonerates him.”
Chaudry also posted a new episode of Undisclosed on July 4, featuring her weepy phone call to the producers after hearing the news. Everyone else also shared their initial reactions to the news, from attorney Susan Simpson (who unearthed the crucial evidence) high-fiving her client to Colin Miller suddenly finding out on Twitter, as well as the podcast’s newest voice, Two and a Half Men‘s Jon Cryer.