'Serial' Prosecutor Explains Why He Helped Jay Wilds in New 'Intercept' Interview
'The Intercept' has released part two of their interview with Kevin Urick.
The Intercept published the second part of their interview with Kevin Urick on Wednesday, after a delay due to their controversial first article featuring Urick. Urick was the lead prosecutor in Maryland's case against Adnan Syed, a case made famous by the Serial podcast.
While part one of Urick's interview with The Intercept contained a lengthy introduction by reporters Natasha Vargas-Cooper and Ken Silverstein criticizing Serial host Sarah Koenig, part two's introduction was brief and straightforward. Urick's interview touched on DNA evidence, Syed's lawyer Cristina Gutierrez, and why Urick helped key witness Jay Wilds find a defense attorney.
Here are some highlights:
On helping Wilds find defense attorney Anne Benaroya: "At that time, I had a case with Anne Benaroya. ... I told her about Jay. I said, ‘Can you think of any place I can tell this guy to go, because he wants representation. He’s not comfortable talking to the state without someone advising him about what’s best for him.’ Prosecutors can’t advise a criminal defendant what’s in their best interest. They need independent counsel. She volunteered to talk to Jay to tell him his options of where he could go for representation. So I told Jay there is this attorney who was willing to talk with him about that, and I asked would he like to meet with her? He said yes. Anne met with him. She came back to us and said basically that she found him a meritorious person who needed representation, and she was going to volunteer to handle it, which I think was admirable, commendable, and that’s what attorneys should do."
On whether jurors in the first trial would have acquitted Syed: "If the jury was polled that way, it had to have been by the defense after the mistrial. My experience from my early days is not to poll the juries. I have found that a lot of times, if you try to talk to jurors, some of them are going to tell you what they think you want to hear. So you’re not getting a very good, accurate thing."
On DNA evidence in the case: "I don’t recall any DNA evidence in the case. The body was out in the field for, what, five weeks? I don’t know how well DNA stands up at that point. We had no DNA evidence at trial. That was 1999. DNA had been accepted in Maryland as valid scientific evidence by that time. If anything in evidence had shown promise for DNA testing, that is, there appeared to be biological matter that could have come from the crime, I am sure we would have asked for it to be tested."
On bringing up Syed's Muslim background during the case: "As I recall, our primary motive was there was a relationship here that broke up, and he couldn’t deal with it for whatever reason, and it erupted in violence. This was well before Sept. 11. Nobody had any misgivings about someone being Muslim back then. They have a very strict society. Does that contribute to it? I don’t think that was our primary argument. Our argument was this is a pretty much run-of-the-mill domestic violence murder."