Brow Beat

New Motion Claims Serial’s Adnan Syed Was Convicted on Faulty Evidence

Adnan Syed.

Courtesy of This American Life

Once again, the plot has thickened in the case of Adnan Syed, the Baltimore man and Serial subject convicted in 2000 for the murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. On Monday, Syed’s attorney filed a new motion arguing that key evidence used to convict his client was unreliable and inadmissible.

The evidence in question is cell tower data: Prosecutors repeatedly stressed in 2000 that several incoming calls proved Syed was near Baltimore’s Leakin Park at the same time Lee’s body was buried there. But according to the Baltimore Sun, Syed’s latest motion cites an AT&T cover sheet that accompanied the phone records, which states that “outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will NOT be considered reliable information for location.”

As prosecutors exclusively used incoming calls to place Syed at the scene of the crime, the cover sheet introduces fresh doubt as to the fairness of Syed’s original trial, as well as to the abilities of his defense attorney at the time, Cristina Gutierrez. Syed’s current attorney, C. Justin Brown, told the Sun that “we feel that the fax cover sheet from AT&T is an extremely important piece of evidence,” and wrote in Monday’s motion that if the sheet had been “properly raised at trial” by Gutierrez, “much, if not all, of the cellular evidence would have been rendered inadmissible.” The attorney general’s office has yet to comment, but it looks like Syed is a bit closer to winning a post-conviction hearing.