Even with all of its podcast-related momentum, there was no indication that Adnan Syed’s effort to appeal for a new trial in the murder of Hae Min Lee would be easy. Attorney General Brian Frosh demonstrated why this week, contesting Syed’s case on nearly every point.
In a 40-page brief, Syed’s legal team argued that his original attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, did not do enough to investigate legal avenues that would help his case. In his own brief filed May 5, the state’s team argues that Gutierrez’ actions were a result of her legal strategy, not incompetence. They found a 1999 letter in which Syed praises Gutierrez.
“Her presentations in court are remarkable, as is her success rate,” the letter states. “Personally, she has a warm, caring, even motherly atmosphere that offers me a great deal of comfort. It is not her winning record, however, that compels me to retain her. It is her hardwork, determination & belief in my innocence that assures I am in the best hands.”
The state also questions the infamous Asia McClain alibi, indicating that initial prosecutor Kevin Urick said McClain signed an affadavit stating she was with Syed in the Woodlawn library on the afternoon of Lee’s murder due to pressure from the defense team. They also wade into the territory of a key Serial theme, claiming Syed’s memory appears incomplete.
“Syed’s sharpened recollection nearly 14 years after the murder stood in contrast to the statements he gave police in the early days of the investigation and contradicted…that, even after he was convicted of murder, he had no memory of where he was after school on January 13, 1999.”
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for June 9.
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