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Adnan Syed Of 'Serial' Fame Appears In Court To Seek New Trial

On Dec. 10, 2014, prison artwork created by Adnan Syed sits near family photos in the Baltimore home of his mother, Shamim Syed. Syed, convicted in 2000 of murdering his girlfriend, is appearing at a hearing Wednesday to request a new trial, based on evidence uncovered by the podcast <em>Serial.</em>

Previously, on Serial ...

"All this time I thought the courts proved it was Adnan that killed her. I thought he was where he deserved to be. Now I'm not so sure."

That's an email from Asia McLean to Sarah Koenig, as read on the very first episode of Serial, the podcast sensation produced by the creators of This American Life.

If you're just catching up, each season of Serial follows a single true story, told episode by episode.

The first season investigated the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend more than 15 years ago. Host Sarah Koenig and her team uncovered inconsistencies in his case — including the fact that Asia McLean was an alibi witness. She said she'd seen Syed at the time Hae Min Lee's murder occurred, but that testimony was never brought forth in court.

The podcast became the most-downloaded of all time, fascinating more than a million listeners and inspiring passionate communities of amateur sleuths and Adnan obsessives.

Now Syed is back in court — at a hearing that offers a chance at a second trial.

As Andrea Seabrook reported on Morning Edition, it's a surprising development for a case like this.

"Syed was convicted. He's been in prison for more than 15 years — he's 35 now," she says. "It's remarkable that he is getting a hearing now."

He was convicted in 2000 of the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999.

Seabrook says the hearing will feature new evidence, including the alibi and some serious questions about the reliability of cellphone data used in the original trial.

Syed's new defense attorney, C. Justin Brown, says he'll be presenting witnesses and exhibits, Seabrook reports. "We're confident that after we have entered all the evidence that the judge is going to carefully consider it and it's going to win Adnan Syed a new trial," Brown says.

As Seabrook notes, there's no guarantee of redemption here. Even Koenig, after researching Syed's case for a year, wasn't entirely convinced he was innocent.

But she did conclude, as she said on All Things Considered, that "something went wrong with this case."

It's not the first time Syed has requested a new trial. The Baltimore Sun reports that his most recent attempt, in 2012, was denied "in a sparsely attended hearing."

This time around, whatever the judge's decision might be, the room is expected to be packed, the Sun says.

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