The person at the center of the first season of the popular “Serial” podcast, Adnan Syed, is seeking to be released on bail while he awaits a new trial, according to court documents filed Monday in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Syed, 35, whose murder conviction was overturned in July, was serving a life sentence in the killing of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Her strangled body was found in a shallow grave in a park one month after she went missing in January 1999.
“Syed has now served more than 17 years in prison based on an unconstitutional conviction for a crime he did not commit,” the filing said.
The motion asserts that the case against Syed has “crumbled” and calls into question the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness, Jay Wilds, who had testified he helped Syed dig a hole for Lee’s body.
The motion also claims Syed poses no risk to the community or threat of skipping bail.
“He has no history of violence other than the State’s allegations in this case, and if released he would pose no danger to the community,” the filing said. “He is also not a flight risk; it makes no sense that he would run from the case he has spent more than half his life trying to disprove.”
Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed’s conviction and ordered a new trial in July, based on claims that Syed’s trial lawyer failed to cross-examine an expert witness about the reliability of cell tower location evidence.
“Under these unique circumstances, Syed, whose appeal could take years to resolve, respectfully asks that this Court fashion appropriate conditions of pretrial release,” the motion says.
Syed’s post-conviction lawyer, C. Justin Brown, shared the news on Twitter.
Raquel Coombs, Director of Communications at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, said in a statement, “We have not received the filing. Once we do, we will review and determine how best to respond.”