The last update from Syed’s case came in 2016, when a lower court judge ruled that he deserved another trial because his attorney failed to cross-examine a key witness, a cell tower expert, about the reliability of data that placed Syed’s cellphone near the burial site.
Maryland prosecutors appealed the ruling, but on Thursday, a panel upheld the grant for retrial.
In 2000, Syed was convicted of murdering girlfriend Hae Min Lee and spent 16 years in prison while maintaining his innocence. Syed’s defense challenged the testimony of an AT&T engineer whose sworn statements on cellphone data were used to link Syed to the park where Lee’s body was buried. The engineer, Abraham Waranowitz, said he was not shown a crucial disclaimer about cell tower data that would have affected his testimony in the murder trial.
In 2014, Syed’s case was chronicled on “Serial,” which led to speculation about his guilt and whether he had received a fair trial. The podcast was downloaded more than 100 million times and won a Peabody Award for its role in illuminating flaws in the criminal justice system.
The second season of “Serial,” hosted by Sarah Koenig, centered around U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The third season is expected to be released later in 2018.