Attorney Rabia Chaudry, Adnan Syed‘s family friend and advocate, was the person who introduced Serial host Sarah Koenig to Syed’s case. Since the podcast’s premiere, Chaudry has been very vocal about Koenig’s reporting, both on Twitter and her blog. And on Monday Chaudry gave her first public talk about the podcast at Stanford Law School.
According to the Stanford Daily, Chaudry said she was very grateful to Serial for opening doors for Syed’s case. “We are light-years away from where we were years ago,” she said. “We have hope now.”
However, that doesn’t mean Chaudry wholeheartedly agrees with what Koenig chose to include or exclude as she reported on the case. She admitted, though, that she and Koenig do not have the same agenda since Chaudry is Syed’s advocate.
Chaudry said Koenig was initially upset by some of her blog posts responding to the podcast. “Sarah’s telling a story, but I want to tell Adnan’s story,” said Chaudry. “I wasn’t following her rules.” She explained that she eventually stopped revealing information about sources and material that would come up in future episodes. However, she disagreed with Koenig’s treatment of Syed’s defense lawyer, the late Cristina Gutierrez.
“I was livid because I thought Sarah was really easy on Gutierrez,” said Chaudry. Syed’s advocate claimed that when Koenig aired an audio clip with Syed talking about his feelings toward Gutierrez, she didn’t provide the context that he was referring to his teenage opinion of her, not his current one following the news she may have mistreated his family.
Chaudry also said Syed wrote a letter to Koenig about his feeling for Hae Min Lee, stating that he never would have murdered her. Chaudry said Koenig chose not to include this letter in Serial. In the finale, Koenig did read a portion of a long letter from Syed, but she focused on what he said about the podcast, not Lee.
Chaudry’s talk comes in the midst of post-Serial drama drummed up by The Intercept, which has created controversy over its criticism on Koenig’s reporting. The Intercept has posted new interviews with people who would not speak to Koenig for the podcast.
Today, Jan. 13, marks the 16-year anniversary of Lee’s disappearance.