What’s Happened To Adnan Syed Since Serial?

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Since we first listened to Serial late last year, we’ve been haunted by the tale of Adnan Syed. We’ve gotten into arguments with friends, family and strangers about his decreed guilt. We’ve re-listened and reanalysed every clue and just got more and more confused. We changed our mind about what exactly Jay was lying about a million times. We just know he was lying about something. Right? But we still don’t know what to think about the case. So we thought it’s time for a revisit. This gives us a chance to figure out what’s happened to Adnan Syed since Serial. Maybe we’ll find new clues? Please?

Serial’s Impact

What's happened to Adnan Syed since Serial?
Sarah Koenig and crew

After Serial ended, there must’ve been a bittersweet sense of relief for Adnan’s family. Especially as his story had a new audience, and consequently, his defence had new momentum. Beyond that, avid listeners actually started a really popular, and at times controversial, Subreddit to help trawl through the masses of evidence that Sarah Koenig and her crew brought up. Opinion was obviously divided, but at least the debate was roaring. And with it being Reddit, there were obviously some tin-foil-hat theories. On a slightly different note, there was a landmark even after the podcast, which was The Intercept’s exclusive interview with Jay, where we finally got his side of the story. He was obviously pretty compelling, but there was still major inconsistencies, especially centred on his motivation in helping Adnan. He insisted that Adnan was lying because of the convenience of any scenarios of Adnan being innocent didn’t involve Jay.

New Hearing at Court

What's happened to Adnan Syed since serial?

Since Jay’s interview there’s been some pretty big changes in terms of the legal aspect of the case. An early petition for post-conviction relief was denied, stopping Adnan and his legal team from raising new evidence for the first time. However, remarkably, under re-appeal, it was granted. The truly remarkable thing is that post-conviction relief is granted in fewer than 2% of cases in Maryland. The turning point was his legal team filing a report from Asia McLain that indicated she was persuaded against testifying during the original trial, and only found out about the rest of the events when she heard Serial.

What’s more is the case has been moved back to a lower court, where McLain’s affidavit and testimony will be heard. And for the case, the lawyer working with Adnan Syed has filed a fax cover sheet from the phone company AT&T which puts doubt on the cell tower evidence used in the original trial. They actually indicate that incoming calls cannot help geolocate the phone receiving the call. Interesting.


What's happened to Adnan Syed since Serial? Rabia Chaudry has started a podcast of her own, known as Undisclosed
Rabia Chaudry, Credit: Baltimore Sun

Since April, Rabia Chaudry, a family friend of the Syeds who was actually partly responsible for Sarah Koenig and her team creating Serial, has been recording her own podcast. Undisclosed has been running on a weekly basis and has so far generated 11 episodes (and several clips) that re-examine old evidence and actually uncover some new stuff. Through the podcast Rabia has uncovered what is potentially an even greater case of the ball being dropped by the state – the potential cover-up of a paid tipster, and the fact there was no wrestling match at Woodlawn on the fateful day. The former is something that they’d have to have disclosed in court, and another indication that some parts of the case were botched by the state. Rabia continues to trawl through all the evidence in the trial in hope it aids Syed’s counsel.

The Future

What's happened to Adnan Syed since Serial? Jay's interview has just added more suspicion and confusion
Jay, Credit: The Intercept

This is a landmark case, for sure. Syed’s legal team will be pursuing the avenues presented to the them in order to open up a retrial. There’s no certainty that their appeal will succeed, or the original verdict will be overturned, but for a 16-year old case to be revisited is pretty unique. Especially as it comes as a consequence of a pop-culture-busting podcast that’s blended citizen journalism and investigative practices. This is landmark because it could lead to exoneration, and that changes the way we deal with law enforcement forever.


The case of Adnan Syed since Serial has also inspired SNL to create this awesome parody.


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