'Serial' Host Sarah Koenig Reacts to Adnan Syed's New Trial

Sarah Koenig Getty H 2016
Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

"It was such a long shot, this outcome."

Serial host Sarah Koenig has shared her reaction to last week's news that podcast subject Adnan Syed has been granted a new trial.

Koenig said she heard of Judge Martin Welch's decision to vacate Syed's convictions while Skyping with Serial executive producer Julie Snyder. "Both of us did exactly the same involuntary thing of sucking in our breath and then putting our hands over our mouths," wrote Koenig in a post on the podcast's website. "We weren’t so much shocked because of the legal arguments but because it was such a long shot, this outcome."

She summarized Welch's conclusion that Syed's original defense attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, did not properly discredit cell phone tower evidence.

"Welch found that Gutierrez’s cross-examination of the state’s cell phone expert at trial was so deeply deficient, and her deficiency so avoidable if only she’d employed the twin virtues of reading comprehension and attention to detail, that Adnan’s convictions should be vacated, and he should be granted a new trial," recapped Koenig.

She pointed out that the cell phone tower evidence Welch was referring to was not discovered by Serial but by attorney Susan Simpson. Simpson co-produced a spinoff podcast to Serial entitled Undisclosed. Simpson worked on the podcast with Rabia Chaudry, who first connected Koenig with Syed. Koenig said Simpson "tracked down the cell phone expert who testified in Adnan’s trial and found out he was unable to stand by his crucial trial testimony from back in 2000."

In the post, Koenig published a portion of her first taped interview with Syed. It was recorded following the news of Welch's first decision, which denied Syed post-conviction relief in December 2013. Syed expressed his disappointment in Welch's 2013 ruling, saying he feels like his issues are "still strong."

"Hopefully one day if someone looks at the totality of my entire case perhaps, in an effective way, perhaps something good will happen," said Syed.

Two and a half years later, Welch has granted Syed a new trial, and his attorney is seeking his release on bail.