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More developments in the Serial case: Even the expert questions the cell tower data now

Host Sarah Koenig may be hoping we don’t get obsessed with season two of Serial, but that damage was done a long time ago for season one. The podcast’s first run wrapped up with the mystery of who murdered Hae Min Lee still not really any closer to being solved, but there have been some interesting developments in the case recently. Back in August, the lawyer for Adnan Syed (the man convicted of the murder) filed a motion to challenge a key piece of evidence that was used against him in his trial, specifically cell phone records that placed Syed where Hae Min Lee’s body was found. The lawyer’s argument was based on a cover sheet that was supposed to be attached to cell phone records from AT&T at the time that contained a disclaimer that said “incoming calls will not be considered reliable information for location,” which is a disclaimer that would’ve put a huge hole in the state’s case had it been brought up at the trial.

Now, according to the official Serial blog (written by Koenig herself), the actual cell phone expert who testified to the accuracy of those cell phone records at Syed’s trial has stepped forward and announced that he no longer stands by his testimony. The reasoning? He never saw that AT&T cover sheet or its disclaimer, so he had no idea that AT&T itself said that determining a location based on incoming calls wasn’t reliable. To people following the Serial case this is—as Koenig puts it in her blog—”kind of a stunner.”

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Basically, it means that the guy who testified that Syed’s cell phone records placed him at the scene of the crime now thinks that the evidence doesn’t hold up. Koenig goes into serious depth about what all of this means for Syed’s case in her blog, which also has the added benefit of allowing you to read it in her voice, so it’s kind of like having an entirely new episode of Serial. You’ll have to hum the theme song and recite the Mail Chimp ad yourself, though.

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