Serial Recap: The Multiverse

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Serial Day 2

“That’s when I was like [astonished gasp]”

It’s day two of Between Two Bathrobes with Sarah Koening, where she reports to us from a hotel room in Baltimore about Adnan Syed’s new hearing. The universe has fractured! Seasons one and two are happening concurrently! Everything’s all timey-wimey, last season Lost-y!

This is the second update in a series of daily ones set to last the length of the hearing. Some avid listeners are already doing some sleuthing of their own based on yesterday’s bathrobe pattern discussion:

To briefly recap: in this new hearing, Adnan’s lawyers are trying to prove that his original lawyer was so incompetent that his conviction should be overturned. To support this, they’re presenting a bunch of evidence not presented at the original trial which they feel should have been presented, and might have won the case for Adnan. In a sort of legislative backflip, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove any actual facts, just that the new evidence is questionable enough that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the original trial.

The stars of today’s hearing will be familiar to any season one fans: Asia McClain, and cell phone towers! Asia, you’ll remember from the last update, is unwavering in her memory that she was with Adnan at the public library while he was supposedly killing his ex girlfriend. Today, the prosecution hit her on two fronts. The first of these essentially boiled down to, maybe actually your memory sucks, Asia? They questioned her intensely about her memory that it had been snowing that day; in reality there had been an ice storm. Her reaction boiled down to, “Snow, ice ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It was bad weather.” The prosecution also focused in on a typed letter she wrote Adnan, dated March 2, 1999. Was she sure that letter was written on that date, they asked, before presenting a bunch of details in contained which they claimed she couldn’t have known by that date. Adnan’s lawyers, however, rebutted that by showing newspaper articles with all that info which had been published before March 2, so, point team Adnan.

The prosecution wasn’t done with that letter, however. They brought out some detective’s notes from the original investigation showing that one of Adnan’s friends (Ja’uan) claimed that Adnan had sent a letter to “a girl” which he’d asked her to type for him, “but she got the address wrong.” Next to this note is scrawled, “Asia?”

That’s the thing that made Koenig give an [astonished gasp]. The implication here is that the letter with the alibi was dreamed up by Adnan and executed by Asia, as part of a plan to cover his own tracks. This would mean that Asia has been lying this entire time. However, Koenig and her producer Dana Chivvis also have those notes, and reviewed them. They found them to be a lot more vague, and possibly just was a request from Adnan to get his address to his friends so that they could write to him. It’s ambiguous.

The rest of the day was all cell phones! I know all the tower-heads in the audience will be thrilled to hear about the re-emergence of what I considered to be the absolute #1 most boring part of Serial season one. But then, I don’t have the kind of detail-oriented mental illnesses that make me excited to listen to people discuss the state of cell phone technology in 1999. Speaking of thrilling! Today’s cell phone testimony hinged on a particularly dramatic fax coversheet. Who knew about the coversheet! When did they know it! What doest the coversheet tell us about their testimony!

In all seriousness, the fax sheet was pretty important, as it said that cell phone tower location data is only reliable for outgoing calls, not incoming ones. It was an incoming call that put Adnan’s cell phone in Leakin Park, where Hae Min Lee’s body was found. The cell phone expert who explained these facts in Adnan’s original trial has since signed an appidavit saying he didn’t know that, even though AT&T had stipulated that fact in, you guessed it, a fax coversheet.

That’s it for today! More updates tomorrow!

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