Oh my f*cking God, if you still believe the case against Adnan Syed is 100 percent airtight—and that there's no room for any reasonable doubt when it comes to the evidence and testimony that was used to convict him—you better stop what you are doing right now, and listen to this week's episode of Undisclosed.
As Popdust previously reported, the 34-year-old has spent the past 15 years behind bars, after being sentenced to life plus 30 years, for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee back in 1999—Syed vehemently maintains his innocence.
The case garnered national attention last year after NPR reporter, and This American Life producer, Sarah Koenig, covered it in great depth, on Serial, her weekly podcast series. However, after twelve gripping episodes, listeners were left no clearer as to Syed's innocence or guilt.
Rabia Chaudry, the lawyer who first alerted Koenig to the case, along with fellow attorneys, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller, are giving their all in an attempt to remedy that—working tirelessly to tear apart the State's case against Syed—and they are broadcasting their findings every two weeks on their podcast series, Undisclosed: The State Vs Adnan Syed.
During the first episode of Undisclosed, the team dissected the State's version of what occurred on January 13, 1999, the day Hae was murdered—pulling to pieces many of the witness statements, and turning up two shocking new accounts of what allegedly went down that day, that were never presented at either the first trial (which ended in a mistrial), or the second, which resulted in Syed's conviction.
In a follow-up special broadcast a week later, titled, Addendum 1: New Information About The Trip To Cathy's, Chaudry, Simpson and Miller shredded another vital, key piece of the prosecution's case against Syed—what purportedly went down January 13 (post murder, pre-body dump), at the apartment of "Cathy" [real name Christy], a close friend of the prosecution's star witness, Jay Wilds.
The second installment of Undisclosed, focused on Hae's movements that fateful day—and, as became evident very early on in Serial, the prosecution's version of events appears to be more than a little “off."
Then, in a second special, broadcast, last week, titled Addendum 2: More information on Takera, and on Hae's other diary—they presented the revelation that Hae kept a second diary, which, if found, could possibly hold the key to Adnan proving his innocence.
But, it's this week's broadcast, covering the purported events of Jay's day on January 13, that proves to be the real Kryptonite when it comes to the State's case against Syed.
And, as became very apparent, very early on, and then continued throughout the entirety of Serial, there is something very very rotten in the state of Maryland...specifically Baltimore.... more specifically Baltimore Police Department.
“January 13, 1999, is the seminal day in this case," Chaudry starts off as way of introduction. “That is the day Hae Lee would leave school and disappear forever. Today, we get to the heart of the State's case—the center of gravity in this murder charge against Adnan, a wormhole that warps timelines, and maybe the most mysterious figure in this story, according even to Serial—today, we look at Jay's day."
She then goes on to lay out what we DO know about Jay:
“Who is Jay? Jay is a former Woodlawn Hills student," Chaudry says. “He graduated a year before Adnan and Hae, he knew them primarily because of Stephanie, his girlfriend—Stephanie and Jay had dated since middle school….Stephanie had been friends with Adnan since middle school, they were pretty close, they were in the magnet program together, and they had been crowned the King and Queen of junior prom in the spring of 1998."
Then, what people who have been following the case always want to know—were Jay and Adnan friends?
I mean, I'm not the only one here wondering, why would Adnan call Jay and ask him to help bury the body of the ex-girlfriend he just brutally murdered, if the two weren't at least friends? Makes no sense, right?
“According to the statements we have—both at trial, and police statements—whether made by Adnan, or Jay, or Jen—Jen was also a Woodlawn High 1998 graduate, and a friend of Jay's, and very much involved in the prosecution of the case…according to all those folks, it seems like they weren't actually really friends," Chaudry claims, going on to reference Jen's interview with cops in 1999, where she talks about Jay and Adnan not being “friend" friends, and Jay's own testimony during trial in 2000, where he says they “weren't really tight" and that Adnan was more of an acquaintance than a friend.
OK! Well, so what actually happened between these two “acquaintances" on that fateful day? What do we know to be real, true, actual fact?
“We start the day with Adnan dropping off his car with Jay," Chaudry explains. “They both agree on the time… there's a 10.45 am call to Jay, after which, Adnan comes by his house…the problem with telling the story about Jay's day, is that Jay has given a minimum of seven different stories about what happened on January 13th…four police interviews, two trial testimonies, and most recently, an interview he gave to the Intercept."
“Simply put, these stories are not consistent at all," Miller continues. “Despite the prosecution's claim at trial, there's no spine to Jay's story that holds it together…there's very little detail that's consistent across even really two of these different stories by Jay—and even if we ignore the minor details, there's simply no consistency in the big picture of what Jay is telling the cops, and eventually the jury at trial.
“When we really break it down, there's only been a few things that have really been consistent throughout Jay's story and they're pretty minor.
“And so, first, he consistently says that Hae's body was buried in Leakin Park, although the time for this burial varies quite dramatically, he does consistently say that at least one of the instruments that was used to bury Hae's body was a shovel, and, he does say it came from one of his relatives' houses, but, he doesn't say which house consistently across interviews.
“He does acknowledge he had Adnan's car and phone on January 13th…. he does consistently say that he was at Jen's house on Jan 13th, until at least 3.40…which, of course, is inconsistent with the State's theory at trial—which is that Hae was killed by 2.36…which is when the Best Buy call took place.
“And, finally, he is consistent that on January 13th, Adnan showed him Hae's body, in the trunk of her Sentra—although, both the time and the location of this trunk pop varied quite meaningfully across his interviews and testimony…And so, when we look at these consistencies in Jay's story, they really mean nothing without, again, this big spine and structure that holds it together.
“For instance, the shovels…sometimes he says there was one shovel, sometimes it's two shovels, sometimes there's a pick involved, sometimes he's helping to bury the body, sometimes not. Whose house did they come from? Was it from his mother's house? His grandmother's house? And so, we have all these various stories about the burial… and in terms of the trunk pop…. where did that take place? Was it the Woodlawn library? Was it a strip off of Vincent Avenue? Was it Franklin Town Road? The Best Buy, the story at trial? Was it a pool hall as he told his friend? Was it a gas station? Was it at his grandmother's house?
“And so, if we look at all these stories, up until 2014 they vary very wildly, and then, finally in The Intercept interview, he actually says he lied to the police initially, and said the trunk pop happened at “Cathy's" house, despite that never being disclosed to the defense at trial.
“And so, what we see, is that when we try to decipher what Jay is saying in these various statements, it's almost meaningless to do so, because these accountings are so very different...and, in fact, he's admitted himself, that he's lied in various statements about the events of January 13th 1999.
"And so that then leaves us with just two things we can look at when trying to decipher what aspects of Jay's day might in fact be reality—and, the first is to look at other witnesses and what they have to say about interacting with Jay on January 13th… and the second is to see the evolution of Jay's story…where it started, and how it got from point A to point Z when he eventually testified at trial."
The two witnesses are Jen and "Cathy" [real name Christy]—and Miller breaks down Jen's story bit by bit—first, when Jay went over to Jen's house in the morning….second, what did Jen and Jay do while he was at her house? Third, when did Jay leave her house? Next, when did Jen and Jay meet up again later that evening? Finally, what did they actually do that evening?
And, it soon becomes crystal clear that Jen's account does not match with Jay's at all….
For instance, when it comes to them meeting up for the first time in the day, Jen told cops, “I want to say I got home, probably between 12.30 and 1, and then I'd say Jay got there probably between 1 and 1.30."
However, Jay claims he went to the house to hang out with Jen's little brother Mark, they played video games together, went to the mall, returned to the house and then Jen turned up.
How about what the two did after that? Does that match at all?
Nope, not really.
Jen says that she and Jay were at her place all afternoon and that Jay never left. However, according to Jay, he left and came back multiple times. They also don't agree when it comes to the phone calls that Jay received while at Jen's house—one of them supposedly from Adnan, post murder, asking Jay to, “come and get me, the bitch is dead."
One thing they do consistently agree on though—is that Jay was still at Jen's house until around 3.40pm, when Jay supposedly got the call from Adnan….and that's pretty damn significant, because, as Miller points out, it completely debunks the “Nisha call" theory that the State relied on at trial to “prove" Adnan had killed Hae by 2.35, and been back with his phone [which Jay had borrowed for the day] by 3.32.
Plus, it doesn't fit anywhere with the call log for Adnan's cell from that day—which shows a call at 3.15 and then next one not until 4.30….
So, when you consider how many times Jay's story has changed—how all the different supposed facts shifted and morphed time and time again, why did he consistently stick to the 3.40 time claim?
Well, drum roll…..
“That's [Jen and Jay's] alibi," Chaudry opines. "Jen and Jay were together till 3.40, a time when we know Hae had already been intercepted and was probably already killed. So, if Jen and Jay were together till 3.40 pm, like they say, then neither could be responsible for her murder."
OK, well, what happened that evening—supposedly after Jay had helped Adnan bury Hae's body in Leakin Park? Do Jen and Jay's stories match there?
Once again—nope....not the f*ck at all.
Jay claims he and Adnan buried the body, then they abandoned Hae's car on a vacant lot, then he and Adnan stopped by the mall to toss the shovel/shovels/pick/whatever in a dumpster, that Adnan then dropped him off at home, and then Jen came to pick him up from there later. He goes on to claim that after she picked him up from his house he told her what had just just happened and Jen took him to a dumpster to dispose of the clothes he had been wearing.
However, Jen claims Adnan dropped Jay off at the mall and that's where she met him—and, according to Jen, they didn't drive to drop off the clothes until the next day!
And, that's the version of events that the prosecution chose to run with at trial.
So, finally….. what did Jen and Jay do after they met up (wherever it actually was?!!)…
Well, once again, who really knows, as their accounts vary dramatically…
They both agree that they stopped by Stephanie's house—and bizarrely, they both claim it was around 8.30—which is categorically not possible, as Stephanie was playing a basketball game that night which didn't finish till just before 10.30 pm.
However, after both agreeing on something that couldn't have actually happened, their accounts of the rest of the night go their separate ways—with Jen claiming they went to a party at an on-campus sorority house for an hour or so, before heading to “Cathy" [Christy] and Jeff's house—and Jay claiming they went straight to their house and did not go to a party before hand.
But, now we get to the real crux of the matter.
As Simpson says, “We've always known Jay lies, he admits he lies… but the real enigma here is… why?"
That's the million dollar question… what would be his motivation? What's the utility of these lies?
Turns out, as Chaudry explains, “All this time we had been trying to plot Jay's dream, but it turns out, it was ever his dream to begin with."
Then shit gets real….. REAL real......real f*cking crazy.
The Undisclosed team plays audio from Jay's interviews with cops—and, if what we are hearing is true and un-doctored in anyway, their argument that the Baltimore Police coached their star witness during his interviews, and coerced and bullied him in to giving false testimony against Adnan, holds pretty damn true.
It's dynamite—and you can listen to it below.
Meanwhile, keep checking back on Popdust for more updates on the story—and head over to audioboom for more Undisclosed: The state Vs Adnan Syed.