Maryland appeals court upholds decision overturning 'Serial' subject Adnan Syed's murder conviction

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Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was the subject of the popular "Serial" podcast, has been granted a new trial.

Syed was convicted of first degree murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and robbery in February 2000.

The podcast "was enormously helpful" in garnering support for Syed, his lawyer Brown said at a press conference Thursday. A Baltimore Circuit Court vacated that conviction in 2016, citing the "ineffective assistance" of Syed's former attorney. The appeals court stayed that decision until the government could appeal.

Quick refresh: In 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted of killing his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, and burying her body in a Baltimore park. Since the podcast's first season, questions have arisen about Syed's innocence, as well as how effectively his lawyer represented him in trial.

The Court of Specials Appeals' decision overturned Syed's convictions and upheld a ruling by a Baltimore court in 2016 that Syed had been denied effective counsel.

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The podcast star's lawyer said defense attorney Cristina Gutierrez - who passed away in 2004 - had fallen "below the standard of reasonable judgment" by not investigating McClain in the original trial.

Prosecutors appealed that decision, only to lose that appeal Thursday in a 2-1 ruling.

Syed has unsuccessfully appealed his conviction before, but Serial's breakout success helped refuel public interest in his case. If the new trial does happen, new evidence will likely be presented including testimony from witness Asia McClain Chapman, who claims she saw Syed in the library at the same time that he supposedly killed Lee.

"In addition to being incredibly entertaining, it was a great piece of reporting by [producer] Sarah Koening", Brown said.

Brown is optimistic they will get a new trial. But the state appealed that ruling.