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Baltimore Sun/Contributor

Adnan Syed, of 'Serial' podcast, granted new trial in murder case

The Baltimore man's conviction became the subject of a popular podcast that speculated on his guilt and whether he received a fair trial.

Adnan Syed, whose conviction for his ex-girlfriend's murder in 1999 became the subject of the popular podcast "Serial," is getting a new trial, his lawyer said Thursday.

Justin Brown, Syed's attorney, announced on Twitter that his motion for a retrial had been granted.

Thursday's decision by Judge Martin P. Welch of the Baltimore City Circuit Court to grant a new trial is a major victory for Syed, who was convicted in 2000 for the murder of Hae Min Lee. Syed, now 35, has served 16 years of a life sentence in prison but has long maintained his innocence.

Syed's case became subject of a popular podcast titled "Serial," which captivated millions of listeners around the world by speculating on his guilt and whether he received a fair trial. The podcast was downloaded more than 100 million times and won a Peabody Award for highlighting "disturbing" flaws in the criminal justice system.

In his order, Judge Welch vacated the earlier conviction on grounds that Syed's original attorney provided ineffective counsel in her failure to cross examine an expert about the reliability of cell tower evidence.