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Just over a month after “Serial” podcast star Adnan Syed was granted a new trial, two witnesses have come forward calling into question the veracity of the woman who is his sole alibi.
Syed, subject of the wildly popular who-dun-it podcast, won a post-conviction hearing and was granted a new murder trial in June after a judge found his attorney made several legal errors — including not pursuing a potentially vital alibi witness.
That witness, Asia Chapman, testified at Syed’s post-conviction hearing saying that despite writing two letters and submitting an affidavit to defense attorney Christina Gutierrez, no one ever reached out to her.
Chapman said that she was with Syed in the library at the time prosecutors pinned him to the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.
Lee was found strangled and dumped in the woods of a Baltimore park. During the original trial, prosecutors largely used the testimony of an individual who said he helped Syed dig a hole for Lee's body and cell phone records putting him in the area where the body was buried.
But now, two witnesses who are former classmates of Chapman, are undermining the vital alibi, telling the Maryland Attorney Generals Office that Chapman told them she would “make up a lie” because she "believed so much in Adnan’s innocence," according to court filings made public Monday.
The witnesses, who are sisters, wrote an email to Attorney General’s Office in July saying “Chapman’s story about seeing Adnan in the library the day Hae was killed is a lie,” and that they even got into an argument with Chapman during co-op class over wanting to help Syed.
The sisters submitted sworn statements to the attorney general shortly after finding out that Syed would be getting a new trial.
According to court documents, they felt compelled to come forward and even reached out to Chapman over Facebook, saying "I think it's sad he may actually be set free because of you and this fabricated story."
Although Chapman’s testimony was not the sole basis of the court’s decision for retrial, her alibi could serve a crucial role in Syed's future legal proceedings.
The Maryland Attorney General's office is appealing the district court’s decision for a new murder trial. The office submitted a a formal request Monday to include the two witnesses' statements in the legal record if Syed pursues a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on Chapman's testimony.