Sep 20, 2022
Adnan Syed murder conviction vacated Transcript
Vic Carter: (00:00)
Adnan Syed walked down the steps of the Elijah Cummings Courthouse uncuffed, and met with unrelenting support after his 2000 murder conviction is vacated. Tonight he is home and one step closer to being a free man. Welcome to those of you watching on CBS News Baltimore and on WJZ TV. I’m Vic Carter.
Rick Ritter: (00:18)
And I’m Rick Ritter. Adnan Syed was convicted in the 1990 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. And since then there have been a series of books, documentaries, even a hit podcast with their own theories about what actually happened.
Vic Carter: (00:30)
Last week it all came to a head after Baltimore city State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby’s office filed a motion to vacate Adnan’s conviction after they say new evidence points to two other potential suspects.
Rick Ritter: (00:41)
And today a judge agreed throwing out that conviction. And our live team coverage does continue tonight with WJZ’s investigator Mike Hellgren, and Annie Rose Ramos, and Cristina Mendez.
Vic Carter: (00:50)
Let’s begin with Mike Hellgren for more on the judge’s ruling. Mike, you were there inside the courtroom when judge Melissa Finn announced her decision.
Mike Hellgren: (00:59)
Vic and Rick, the ruling was actually fairly quick. It was emotional. There were cries of joy and tears in the courtroom. The judge ordered the shackles removed from Adnan Syed, and within a few minutes he came out these doors behind me to freedom.
Mike Hellgren: (01:18)
Following more than two decades in prison and appeal after appeal, Adnan Syed walked out of court to cheers and headed home after a judge threw out his murder conviction. As the decision came down in court, Syed told his lawyer, Erica Suter, he could not believe it was real.
Erica Suter: (01:35)
Adnan has been in prison since he was a 17-year-old child, 23 years. As you can imagine, today is both joyful and incredibly overwhelming.
Mike Hellgren: (01:44)
It’s not over. Prosecutors still have to decide whether they want a new trial in the killing of Hae Min Lee, Syed’s classmate at Woodlawn High School, who was found strangled in Lincoln Park in 1999. Lee’s brother told the judge he’s been living a nightmare. And his attorney said he was given too little notice.
Steve Kelly: (02:02)
The way the State’s Attorney’s office acted in this case is just inexcusable. They knew about this for more than a year. It was clear from their conduct. They absolutely did not want to afford this victim any meaningful opportunity to address this motion.
Marilyn Mosby: (02:16)
You believe that you have closure and the case comes back up and it rips a whole new sort of wound.
Mike Hellgren: (02:24)
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will have to make the call on a new trial after her office made stunning admissions. Cell phone evidence that placed Syed at the murder scene was faulty. Witnesses lacked credibility. The lead detective was accused in another case of manipulating evidence that wrongly placed a man behind bars for 17 years. And the bombshell, the initial prosecutors illegally failed to turn over evidence, handwritten notes contained in boxes of case files about two suspects, one of whom threatened to kill Lee. Both have histories of violence against women.
Marilyn Mosby: (02:57)
We’re not yet declaring, not yet declaring Adnan Syed is innocent, but we are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice, he is entitled to a new trial.
Mike Hellgren: (03:09)
The podcast Serial drew international attention to Syed’s case. Now as the world waits for what’s next, Syed is enjoying his first taste of freedom as an adult.
Erica Suter: (03:19)
Adnan is one of many. Today the evidence in Adnan’s case has finally led to his freedom.
Mike Hellgren: (03:30)
Now Mosby says her office is still waiting for more DNA test to come back. And the Maryland Attorney General’s office slammed the city State’s Attorney saying they never consulted with them before filing this motion to get the conviction thrown out. And all those case files were always available. They claim nothing was hidden. Our live team coverage continues with Cristina Mendez and more reaction to this bombshell development.