Serial Podcast Host Reacts to Adnan Syed's Release From Prison

In a Sept. 20 podcast episode, Serial host Sarah Koenig recalled hearing the news that Adnan Syed’s conviction was vacated by a judge.

By Mike Vulpo Sep 20, 2022 6:33 PMTags
Watch: How "The Case Against Adnan Syed" Differs From "Serial" Podcast

One of Adnan Syed's most vocal supporters is speaking out and celebrating his legal victory

Just one day after a Baltimore judge vacated the 41-year-old's conviction for the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee, Serial podcast host Sarah Koenig reacted to the courtroom ruling in a new episode. 

"I was in the courtroom for the hearing," Sarah shared in the Sept. 20 episode of her true crime podcast. "At the beginning, Young Lee, the brother of Hae Min Lee whose murder was about to be unsolved, spoke via zoom directly to judge Melissa Phinn. Young Lee tried to keep it together, but he couldn't. He also told the judge he believes in the justice system. He's not against a new investigation. He said to Judge Phinn, ‘Make the right decision.'" 

Ultimately, the court ruled that prosecutors made a compelling argument that Adnan's conviction was flawed. According to NBC News, the judge stated that the state violated its legal obligation to share evidence that could have supported Adnan's defense.

True Crime Documentaries Worth Watching This Summer

When Sarah walked out of the courtroom, she described seeing Adnan's old attorneys hugging him. She also witnessed strong emotions from supporters, who pushed for his release for many years. 

Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun via ZUMA Press Wire

"The pent up strain of years worth of rage and frustration suddenly loosed on the sidewalk spilling onto Calvert Street," she said. "Adnan and I have talked on and off over the years. More recently, it seemed like he was trying to tamp down his hopes, not get ahead of himself."

As for why the judge made such a big decision, Sarah had her theories.

"You might be asking what on earth happened," she said on her podcast. "I've spent the last few days trying to understand…The prosecutors today are not saying Adnan is innocent. They stopped short of exonerating him. Instead, they're saying that back in 1999, we didn't investigate this case thoroughly enough. We relied on evidence we shouldn't have and we broke the rules when we prosecuted. This wasn't an honest conviction."


After the judge's decision, Steve Kelly, who represents the Lee family, released a statement to People detailing his clients' pain about the whole ordeal.

"For more than 20 years, the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office has told the family of Hae Min Lee that their beloved daughter and sister was murdered by Adnan Syed," his statement read. "One week ago, for the first time, the family was informed that, through a year-long investigation that is apparently still ongoing, the state had uncovered new facts and would be filing a motion to vacate Mr. Syed's conviction.

"For more than 20 years, no one has wanted to know the truth about who killed Hae Min Lee more than her family," the statement continued. "The Lee family is deeply disappointed that today's hearing happened so quickly and that they were denied the reasonable notice that would have permitted them to have a meaningful voice in the proceedings."

Outside court on Sept. 19, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby commented on the ruling telling reporters, "We're not yet declaring Adnan Syed's innocence. We are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice, he is entitled to a new trial."

But Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh called Marilyn's allegations "incorrect."

"Neither State's Attorney Mosby nor anyone from her office bothered to consult with either the Assistant State's Attorney who prosecuted the case or with anyone in my office regarding these alleged violations," Brian said in a statement to NBC News. "The file in this case was made available on several occasions to the defense."

For more true crime updates on your need-to-know cases, head to