Convicted Baltimore murderer in 'Serial' podcast seeks hearing

Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:22pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - A lawyer for a Baltimore man whose conviction for murder was called into question by the 2014 "Serial" podcast asked a court on Tuesday to reopen proceedings so an alibi witness can testify for him.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals last month allowed the convict, Adnan Syed, to call a woman who said in an affidavit she saw him at a library around the time of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, on Jan. 13, 1999.

Syed appealed his 2000 murder conviction arguing that his legal counsel was ineffective for not interviewing the witness, Asia McClain, and for not seeking a plea deal.

The appeals court said it would stay that appeal and return the case to Baltimore City Circuit Court to re-open the post-conviction proceedings. McClain said in an affidavit the prosecutor had discouraged her from attending them.

The petition by Syed's lawyer, C. Justin Brown, formally requested the lower court to return the case to the Baltimore court.

The podcast, "Serial," was released by public radio station WBEZ Chicago in October and was the fastest to reach 5 million downloads, according to Apple.

A subsequent podcast, "Undisclosed: The State v. Adnan Syed," was produced by lawyers fighting to overturn his conviction, and aired its first episode in April.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)