'Serial' podcast subject Adnan Syed granted new trial

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On Thursday (local time), the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the ruling, granting Syed a new trial.

Adnan Syed, the Baltimore man who has spent the last 18 years in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee and was the subject of the hit podcast Serial, enjoyed a court victory on Thursday when an appeals court ruled he was deserving of a new trial.

Syed was convicted in 2000 of killing Hae Min Lee, his high school sweetheart. A month later, her body was found in a Baltimore-area park. Today, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals decided it would uphold that ruling, paving the way for Syed's new case.

Prosecutors declined to comment or to say whether they will appeal the ruling to the state's highest court.

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Judge Martin Welch, who overturned the conviction in 2016 in Baltimore City Court, agreed with that assessment, saying that Syed's first attorney "fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment". Prosecutors appealed that decision to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state's intermediate appeals court.

In 2014 the case was explored in the podcast, which sparked a surge in interest in the story.

Serial became one of the most popular podcasts to have ever been released and the fastest in iTunes history to reach 5 million downloads and streams.

Syed's trial lawyer tweeted the news about the new trial on Thursday afternoon.

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Koenig's telling of Syed's case questioned the state's evidence against him and focused several episodes on Chapman, who said she had seen Syed at the library at the time Lee's murder was said to have taken place - giving him an alibi.

"We hope that they will come to the conclusion that this has gone on long enough", he said.

"We are now reviewing today's decision to determine next steps", Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, said in an email. The podcast "was enormously helpful" in garnering support for Syed, his lawyer Brown said at a press conference Thursday.

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