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New developments in the Serial case: Adnan Syed’s lawyer questions cell data

The almost 20-year-old saga that inspired Serial soldiers on: In court on Monday, Adnan Syed’s defense attorney filed a motion officially challenging the cell phone material used to convict his client more than a decade ago. The Baltimore Sun reports that Syed’s attorney, C. Justin Brown, cites an old AT&T fax cover sheet in his brief, noting that even the cell phone company said “Outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will not be considered reliable information for location.” As Serial listeners know, that kind of hesitancy is important considering much of the state’s case against Syed was based on a series of incoming calls he received back in 1999. (Specifically, the state used the calls to place Syed with Hae Min Lee’s dead body.)

According to The Sun, Brown believes this new evidence could be used to overturn Syed’s conviction, saying that without the phone data, the state would have had to rely solely on Jay Wilds’ semi-questionable testimony. Moreover, as Brown writes in the filing, the state had “argued forcefully, at multiple stages of the proceedings, that [the phone records] corroborated Wilds’ story.”

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If nothing else, Brown hopes this material—alongside new testimony from previously ignored witness Asia McClain and some speculation that Syed’s attorney may not have been in the best state of mind at the time of his original trial—will be enough to get his client a new trial.

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