Serial: Adnan Syed's Lawyers Officially Request New Trial
"The errors committed by trial counsel were of such a fundamental nature that Syed must be given a new trial."
Adnan Syed's lawyers filed a 31-page brief on Monday in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals requesting a new trial in an effort to overturn his murder conviction.
"The errors by trial counsel were of such a fundamental nature that Syed must be given a new trial," attorney Justin Brown wrote in the brief, reports The Baltimore Sun. "The circumstances here are worse than the circumstances of any other case in which a court has found ineffective assistance of counsel relating to an alibi issue."
Syed's case was made popular by the Serial podcast, which investigated the 1999 murder of teenager Hae Min Lee and Syed's subsequent conviction and life sentence.
The brief claims Syed's previous lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, entirely ignored a potential alibi for Syed, Asia McClain, and failed to ask the prosecutor for a plea deal.
“Making matters worse,” the brief states, “rather than tell her client the truth about his case and counsel him, Gutierrez repeatedly lied to Syed, a 17-year-old who had never been in trouble before."
Gutierrez was disbarred shortly after Syed's conviction and died in 2003 following a string of health problems. The brief says Gutierrez's "complete failure to investigate was not an innocent mistake" and says her "decision to lie" cost Syed his case.
The Maryland Attorney General's Office has until April 30 to file an official response.