Last week, a new hearing was scheduled for Serial’s Adnan Syed. Proceedings have begun in Baltimore and Sarah Koenig, who got us all so worked up about this story in the first place, was thankfully in attendance. She shared the big takeaways from day 1 (of 3) with producer Dana Chivvis over the phone in a mini Serial update episode. The Baltimore Sun’s Justin Fenton also reported on the day's events. Here's what they had to say:
- The first half of the day was spent establishing that Cristina Gutierrez, Adnan's lawyer during his initial trial, had been declining physically, mentally and professionally. Two of Gutierrez' former colleagues testified about how she passed off cases to others around that time, due to the physical pain she was in, and said that her courtroom performance waned dramatically.
- The big witness of the day was Asia McClain, who has long claimed that she spoke with Adnan in the library during the time frame of Hae Min Lee's murder.
- Asia on why she was testifying: "I felt for justice to be served we should put all the information on the table. I just thought it was the right thing to do."
- Maryland Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah argued that Gutierrez not following up on Asia as a potential alibi was a strategic move and had nothing to do with declining ability. He also stood firm in the results of the first trial: "Mr. Syed was convicted on the basis of overwhelming evidence. Mr. Syed was convicted because he did it, and the state proved it."
- Asia on how Serial changed the way she thought about her role in Adnan's case: "I didn't think I was very important at all, I came to find out, as Sarah [Koenig] said, maybe it is important."
- According to Koenig, Asia came off really well for the defense, but anticipates the prosecution will attack the imprecise nature of her overall memory on day 2.
- A statement from Hae Min Lee's family: "Our family has lived without a heart for over 17 years and we continue to grieve everyday in private. The immediate family members have decided not to attend this hearing, but we are grateful for all the people who are there and will be there to support us and to give Hae a voice. She is the true victim. Although this has made us relive a nightmare we thought was behind us, we thank the State for standing up for us and continuing to seek justice. We believe justice was done when Adnan was convicted in 2000 and we look forward to bringing this chapter to an end so we can celebrate the memory of Hae, instead of celebrating the man who killed her. We ask that you keep Hae in your thoughts and prayers."
Listen to the Serial update:
And read Justin Fenton's full report: