The Washington Post
Baltimore prosecutor criticizes attorney general over Syed case
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby issued a stinging retort aimed at Maryland’s attorney general Wednesday, alleging his office had made the “willful decision” to withhold evidence in the case against Adnan Syed, whose conviction was vacated by a judge this week.
Mosby’s comment increases the rancor between her office and that of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) over the handling of Syed’s case, which drew widespread attention after it was featured on the hit true crime podcast “Serial” in 2014.
After Mosby’s office persuaded a judge to vacate Syed’s conviction, citing problems in how evidence was turned over to defense attorneys years ago, Frosh issued a statement disputing that evidence had been withheld from Syed’s legal team.
“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,” Frosh said in a statement.
Responding Wednesday, Mosby (D) said Frosh’s office should “speak to his willful decision” to sit on evidence for seven years and evaluate any other errors.
“His inability to uphold this fundamental obligation denied Mr. Syed his right to a fair trial and now forces a family to relive an unimaginable nightmare because of his unconscionable misdeeds,” Mosby said. “As opposed to deflecting from his prosecutorial failure, I urge AG Frosh to ‘dig a little deeper’ and evaluate any other errors infringing on the rights of other Marylanders.”
Frosh’s office declined to comment on Mosby’s statement.
Syed was convicted in 2000 for the killing of his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Hae Min Lee and sentenced to life in prison. State officials had long defended their handling of the case as Syed sought a new trial.
But the Baltimore City state’s attorney’s office recently said in a motion in circuit court that it wanted the conviction tossed and Syed released.
The office said its own nearly year-long investigation into the case, which was conducted with Syed’s defense, had found new evidence of potential suspects, as well as materials that should have been handed over to defense attorneys that were not. Young Lee, Hae Min Lee’s brother, has said prosecutors’ motion to vacate the conviction left him feeling “betrayed.”
Mosby’s office now has 30 days to decide whether it will retry Syed or drop the case against him.
Mosby said in an interview with The Washington Post that she would drop the case if new DNA tests came back inconclusive. But she also did not commit to seeking a retrial if the tests pointed to Syed. In that instance, she said, she would “consider that option.”