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"Serial" Subject Adnan Syed Granted Appeal, May Get a New Trial

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Liz Raftery

Adnan Syed, the subject of the podcast "Serial," may be granted a new trial.

On Friday, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals granted Syed's request to appeal his conviction, the Baltimore Sun reports. The ruling means that Syed will be able to argue before a judge about why he believes he deserves a new trial.

Watch Saturday Night Live's perfect parody of "Serial"

Syed has been in jail for 15 years, serving a life sentence after he was convicted of murdering his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. He previously filed unsuccessful requests to appeal in 2003 and again in 2010. (The 2010 request was denied just last year.)

Syed maintains that his original trial attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, provided him ineffective counsel because she did not interview a classmate of Syed's, Asia McClain, who says she could provide an alibi for Syed's whereabouts at the time of Lee's murder. In addition, although Syed wanted a plea deal, the attorney failed to ask prosecutors about this possibility before the trial. (Gutierrez is now deceased.)

A legal fund that "Serial" host Sarah Koenig has set up for Syed has raised $82,000.

"In Episode 10 of the podcast, I reported that this appeal was alive by a thread," Koenig wrote Saturday in a post on the "Serial" website. "Now, I'd say it's more of a ... well-made string, maybe. Like the nylon kind. Because it means that the Court of Special Appeals judges think the issues Adnan raised in his brief are worth considering. That's a pretty big hurdle for any appellant to clear.

The Court of Special Appeals will consider Syed's case in June, at which point they'll either deny Syed's request or grant him a new trial, according to the Sun.

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