Justices reject call for new trial in ‘Serial’ podcast case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Maryland man’s bid for a new trial based on information uncovered by the hit podcast “Serial.”

The justices did not comment in leaving in place a 4-3 ruling by Maryland’s highest court that denied a new trial to Adnan Syed, who was convicted of strangling a high school classmate he had once dated.

Syed is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2000 of killing 17-year-old Hae Min Lee and burying her body in a Baltimore park.

Syed’s lawyers had argued that his trial lawyer’s failure to investigate an alibi witness violated his right to competent legal representation.

In its debut 2014 season, the "Serial" podcast shined a spotlight on the case that led to renewed court proceedings.

Two Maryland courts found that Syed deserved a new trial. His lawyer during his first trial, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to contact a woman who said she saw Syed at a library at the time prosecutors say he strangled his ex-girlfriend in 1999. Gutierrez has since died.

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Officials escort 'Serial' podcast subject Adnan Syed from the courthouse following the completion of the first day of hearings for a retrial in Baltimore on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
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BOSTON - MARCH 29: Sarah Koenig, producer and host of the podcast Serial speaks at Boston University's 'Power of Narrative' conference in Boston Massachusetts March 29, 2015. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Convicted murderer Adnan Syed leaves the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
Convicted murderer Adnan Syed leaves the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. The Maryland man whose 2000 murder conviction was thrown into question by the popular "Serial" podcast was in court today to argue he deserved a new trial because his lawyers had done a poor job with his case. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Convicted murderer Adnan Syed arrives at the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. Syed, 35, was convicted in 2000 of kidnapping and strangling his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, 18, and is serving a life sentence. He is seeking a retrial based on new evidence about his case amid questions about the fairness of his conviction raised by the popular "Serial" podcast. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Convicted murderer Adnan Syed (C) arrives at the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. Syed, 35, was convicted in 2000 of kidnapping and strangling his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, 18, and is serving a life sentence. He is seeking a retrial based on new evidence about his case amid questions about the fairness of his conviction raised by the popular "Serial" podcast. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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But in 2018, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Syed a new trial, even though it agreed his trial lawyer’s work was lacking. The state high court said there was little chance the outcome would have been different if Gutierrez had done what she should have.

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