‘Serial’ alibi witness hits back at claims questioning her credibility
Asia McClain, who has offered alibi witness testimony in the effort to exonerate “Serial” podcast subject Adnan Syed, has hit back at new allegations from two former classmates that she is lying.
In a blog post on her website, McClain called the allegations “awful and untrue.”
“I have never wavered in my recollection of the events surrounding the murder of Ms. [Hae Min] Lee,” McClain wrote.
Syed was convicted by a jury in 2000 for the killing of ex-girlfriend Lee and sentenced to life in prison. In 2014, the “Serial” podcast raised questions about his case and helped revive his efforts for a new trial. In June, Judge Martin Welch overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial.
The judge’s ruling came months after a hearing in which McClain testified that she had seen Syed in a library during a time when prosecutors have said Lee’s murder was taking place.
The Maryland attorney general’s office has appealed the judge’s ruling. In a filing this week, the office said that one week after Welch’s ruling, it received an unsolicited letter from two former classmates of Syed and McClain who said they had gotten into a heated argument with McClain at Wood- lawn High School in 1999.
McClain’s “story about seeing Adnan in the library the day Hae was killed is a lie,” the letter said.
One of the classmates said she remembered that in a conversation in a cooperative education class, McClain said “she believed so much in Adnan’s innocence that she would make up a lie to prove he couldn’t have done it.”
“Both my sister and I (more so my sister) argued with Asia about how serious this situation was. She just said that it wouldn’t hurt anything — that if he was truly guilty, then he would be convicted. I’m not sure what can come of this information but I felt I had to let someone know.”
Both sisters submitted sworn affidavits, but their identities are being withheld by the attorney general’s office.
McClain questioned the attorney general’s office for using the classmates’ claims. “I highly encourage the public to continue to scrutinize these types of practices. This is after all, supposed to be a search for the truth,” she said.
McClain wrote on her blog Wednesday that while writing a memoir, “Confessions of a Serial Alibi,” she had contacted the sisters to confirm information about the co-op class, sending a class photo. She said one of the sisters was unsure of the teacher in the photograph, and the other didn’t know which class the photo was for.
Months later, after her testimony, the sisters contacted her on Facebook and said they vividly remembered the argument about helping Syed that took place in the class.
McClain also questioned why the attorney general’s office has not taken her up on an offer to meet to discuss the case.
“Instead, they choose to publish these hurtful untruths without giving me a chance to contextualize the allegations and demonstrate their falsity,” McClain wrote. “The prosecution should explain why they have never had time to meet with me, but will gladly take the opportunity to meet with, publish, and lend credence to my detractors.”
The debate about McClain’s testimony may end up mattering more in the court of public opinion than a trial court. Though McClain testified at Syed’s post-conviction hearing earlier this year, Welch ordered a new trial based on questions raised about cellphone tower evidence.
The attorney general’s office says it publicly raised the classmates’ claims because the defense has filed cross-appeal to be able to use McClain.