LISTEN: 'Serial' releases surprise new episode after judge vacates Adnan Syed's conviction

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court.
Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

After spending more than 20 years behind bars for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, a judge approved a motion to vacate the murder conviction of Adnan Syed on Monday.


Syed was the subject of the first season of the hit podcast "Serial," and following the motion filed by Baltimore prosecutors last week asking for a new trial, Syed has been freed of his life sentence, The Baltimore Sun reported. Serial followed the news with a surprise new episode.

The now-free man was convicted on charges of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping, and false imprisonment in conection to the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn decided to vacate the conviction. In her explanation, she cited material from the state's investigation that had not been properly given to defense attorneys at the time and two suspects who could have been improperly cleared as part of the investigation.

After delivering her ruling on the motion, cheers broke out in the courtroom, and shortly after, Syed was uncuffed and walked out of the courthouse to his vehicle, a free man.

The podcast broke down Syed's conviction, and the case was released almost eight years ago. In its wake, there has been a true-crime podcasting boom and even an HBO docuseries on Syed's case, titled "The Case Against Adnan Syed," NPR reported.

The outcry to reexamine Syed's case also led to a year-long investigation, according to a news release from prosecutors, CNN reported.

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State's Attorney, shared in the release that prosecutors are "not asserting, at this time, that Mr. Syed is innocent" but that the state "lacks confidence in the integrity of the conviction." This resulted in the motion for a new trial.

Syed's defense attorneys praised the prosecutor's motion, saying it was righting a wrong. Assistant Public Defender Erica Suter shared a statement last week that the wrongful conviction of Syed could not continue to stand.

"Given the stunning lack of reliable evidence implicating Mr. Syed, coupled with increasing evidence pointing to other suspects, this unjust conviction cannot stand," Suter, Syed's attorney and director of the Innocence Project Clinic, said last week.

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