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Key ‘Serial’ Witness Writes New Affidavit Supporting Adnan Syed

“I did not write the March 1999 letters or the affidavit because of pressure from Syed’s family,” Asia McClain says in new affidavit

Adnan Syed

Childhood artwork created by Adnan Syed sits on a table as his brother, Yusef, sifts through family mementos in Baltimore, Maryland on December 10th, 2014.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Asia McClain, the former classmate of Adnan Syed — the man convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee — has written a new affidavit reiterating the claim she made in the hit podcast “Serial” that she was with Syed at the library at the time Lee was killed, The Blaze reports.

McClain mentioned their conversation in the library in two letters she wrote to Syed following his arrest, and did write an affidavit stating her potential alibi for Syed at the time. However, she was never called to testify, and, as “Serial” reported, prosecutor Kevin Urick claimed in 2010 that McClain wrote the letters under pressure from Syed’s family.

Now McClain asserts that never happened. “I never told Urick that I recanted my story or affidavit about January 13th, 1999,” she writes in the new affidavit. “In addition, I did not write the March 1999 letters or the affidavit because of pressure from Syed’s family. I did not write them to please Syed’s family or to get them off my back. What actually happened is that I wrote the affidavit because I wanted to provide the truth about what I remembered. My only goal has always been to provide the truth about what I remembered.”

McClain told The Blaze that she never testified because she was “under the impression that there was a tremendous amount of evidence that convicted Adnan and that for whatever reason, his team was reaching out to me as a Hail Mary, so to speak.”

In 2010, Syed’s new defense team reached out to McClain again as they prepared to appeal for post-conviction relief. Their case was based, in part, on claims that Syed’s original attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, had been ineffective because she neither reached out to McClain, nor sought a plea deal. 

In her new affidavit, McClain says she spoke to Urick after being contacted by Syed’s attorneys in 2010, and claims the lawyer — who then worked in private practice — told her there were no merits to the defense’s claims, and that she shouldn’t bother testifying. Consequently, McClain didn’t testify. But four years later, she became determined to speak out after learning, through “Serial,” that her alibi for Syed coincided with the time the state claims he was killing Lee.

In a separate interview with The Blaze, Urick said McClain’s claims that he persuaded her not testify were “absolutely false. I was not the one that brought up anything about evidence. She asked me, was it a strong case? I said yes. That was about the extent of my response.”

Earlier this month, a Baltimore City Circuit Court denied Syed’s 2010 appeal, with a judge ruling that Gutierrez’s decision to not pursue McClain’s alibi for Syed was part of a defense strategy because her original letters did not state the time she saw Syed at the library and contradicted Syed’s own account of that day.

Syed has appealed the circuit court’s decision to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, and his defense team will likely submit McClain’s new affidavit in a new filing. Syed’s attorney, C. Justin Brown, declined to comment on the active case.

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