If you've listened to the first season of the hit podcast "Serial," then you've become familiar with the story of Adnan Syed, a man who was arrested at age 17 for the murder of his then-girlfriend and fellow classmate, Hae Min Lee, back in 1999.
According to The New York Times, Syed has been granted a new trial by the Baltimore Circuit Court. The news broke after a tweet published by Syed's lawyer Justin Brown announced Judge Martin Welch's decision to grant the 35-year-old a retrial.
WE WON A NEW TRIAL FOR ADNAN SYED!!! #FreeAdnan — Justin Brown (@CJBrownLaw) June 30, 2016
Syed, who has continuously expressed his innocence since being convicted in 2000, has served 16 years of a life sentence so far.
The New York Times reports Syed's lawyer, Justin Brown, was asked if he thought a retrial would have been granted without the creation of "Serial" while at a press conference in Baltimore. Brown simply stated, "I don't think so."
There's no doubt that the creation of "Serial," which has been downloaded over 100 million times around the world, helped shine a bright light on Syed's case and allowed room for speculation on whether or not the man had been given a fair trial in the first place.
When asked his thoughts on whether or not he sees Adnan Syed being released from jail at some point, Brown revealed,
I'm feeling pretty confident right now. This was the biggest hurdle. It's really hard to get a new trial.
Judge Martin Welch's decision to grant a retrial sparked a number of congratulatory comments from Twitter users including an expressive tweet from one of Syed's family friends, Rabia Chaudry, who also played a huge role in exposing "Serial" creator and host Sarah Koenig to the murder case.
WE WON. WE WON. WE WON. WE WON. alhamdulillah WE WON!!!!!!!!! https://t.co/uo01OMbtxU — rabia chaudry (@rabiasquared) June 30, 2016
Aside from the podcast's exposure of Syed's case on a national level, Syed expressed that his initial defense counsel's negligence played a huge role in the ruling. Along with his legal team, Syed presented new evidence along with the testimony of an alibi witness.
But did all of this make a difference in such a convoluted story?
The Times reports,
The post-trial proceedings were held before Mr. Welch, a retired judge, who had granted Mr. Syed's request for a hearing in November. Mr. Syed first filed a request for a post-conviction hearing in 2010, but was denied. At the hearing in February, Mr. Syed's defense challenged the testimony of an AT&T engineer whose sworn statements on cellphone data were used to link Mr. Syed to the park where Ms. Lee's body was buried. The engineer, Abraham Waranowitz, said he was not shown a crucial disclaimer about cell tower data that would have affected his testimony in the murder trial. It was on that issue that the judge granted Mr. Syed a new trial.
We'll just have to wait and see where Syed's retrial takes his real-life battle.