Let’s just get this out of the way. At no point did Sarah Koenig or I ever supply or post Jay’s personal information anywhere. Shortly after the first podcast someone tweeted at me and asked me Jay’s last name. I tweeted back that it’s “Wilds”. I thought nothing of it since the trial and case documents are public domain, and some of the appeal documents are easily found online and his name is all over them. Sarah immediately contacted me and asked me to delete that tweet.
That was the start of delicate (ok sometimes pretty pointed) negotiations between Sarah and I. She had certain journalistic standards and had made promises to her sources about how they would be portrayed in the series (first name, full name, name replaced, voice scrambled, etc), but of course I was under no obligation to follow her rules. I never saw reason to follow them in fact, because as I’ve said a hundred times, none of the trial testimony is under seal. Its public domain. I also have no connection to This American Life, no involvement in the creation of the show, and saw no reason to be obligated to them.
Yet I acquiesced, sometimes after barely polite arguments, to Sarah largely because I respect her very much. Same reason I didn’t post more documents and trial transcripts while the show ran, I promised not to trump any of her work. So while my inner (and outer) Punjabi was very much screaming “F this crap, you’re not my daddy!” I clamped down and stuck to being as careful not to reveal any information Sarah herself did not reveal about the people connected to the case. If you follow my Twitter feed, you may have realized that it is no easy task for me to shut up. Consider these concessions to Sarah a tremendous jihad on my part, I know I do.
Sarah, in complete and direct contradiction to me, is a class act. Measured, professional, and only threatening perhaps to other journalists who she is superior to. Between her, the Serial team, me, Saad, and Adnan’s family and supporters, we did our best to keep an eye out for personal information that shouldn’t be circulating.
Jay should rest assured that whatever personal information was made public had nothing to do with any of us. It serves no purpose to Serial or those on Adnan’s team for that to happen.
But the Intercept interview definitely served our purpose (by “our”, I mean Adnan’s supporters). Sarah did absolutely no damage to Jay compared to his own interview. She really didn’t divulge much about Jay, or get such information from him that could have actually helped Adnan’s case. For his interview I would like to personally thank his attorney for advising him to do it (did I thank her already? If so, maybe I’ll just send her flowers now).
“Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.”
― Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
In my last post I pointed to some of the major inconsistencies (as for minor ones, well pretty much every sentence has an inconsistency compared to previous statements), but I just realized another.
Jay says in his interview that Adnan was running late for track practice (which started between 3-3:30 according to teachers/coaches) and asked to be dropped off at school, at which point he told Jay he had to “do something” so Jay should hold the car and phone and Adnan would call him later. If we’re to believe this, the sequence of events is such : Adnan goes to track, then later calls Jay from the Bestbuy after having committed the murder.
Which means, according to this timeline, that Hae was killed by Adnan after track practice – approximately 5pm or so. But in every other iteration of events, Adnan was supposed to have killed Hae before track practice.
Did Jay suddenly realize that there was nearly no time before track practice for Adnan to have committed the murder and driven around to park Hae’s car since Asia still confirms seeing him at the library until about 2:40pm, Hae is seen at the school around that time, and Adnan was seen heading for track practice around 3pm?
The hardest thing about Jay’s changing statements is trying to pinpoint the “why”. Either they are (poorly) calculated changes, or he can’t get his stories straight because its hard to keep track of lies. In this case, pushing the time of the murder to after track practice, he seems to be implying Hae was either still at the school after track or that Adnan managed to catch up with her somehow around that time.
But we know that’s not true. Hae went missing right after school because she never made it to pick up her little cousin.
I feel like Sarah and Dana did when they were attempting to figure out Jay’s movements that day from his statements -its like plotting a dream. Because almost none of what he said actually happened.
Adnan was in his last period at school that day, others remember him being there and so does he. Then he went to the library and Asia saw him. Then he went to track practice. And the first time he contacted Jay since giving him the car that morning was after track practice. But by that time, Hae had already gone missing.
I have to say, Natasha’s final question was brilliant. It had to have been purposeful, it was no fluke. Now here’s the thing. It could be totally meaningless that Jay bought Stephanie, his girlfriend who believed Adnan was innocent until Jay “leaned” on her, a piece of jewelry that came in a box.
Honestly, while I appreciate Natasha’s question, I know it doesn’t necessarily mean much that Jay bought jewelry in a box the same day and something similar was found in Hae’s car. Many teenage girls have trinkets like this, so its not necessarily suspicious. But I will point out that if Adnan had bought jewelry in a gift box that day, it would absolutely have been used as evidence against him by the prosecutor.
Who, by the way, looks terrible now. How did the prosecutor rely on this guy? And now, not only has Jay screwed the state’s carefully crafted timeline, he’s totally omitted Jenn out of it, rendering her prior testimony and police statements useless. And oh hey, maybe that means Jenn committed perjury too.
Now, its totally possible that Jay and Jenn committed a fraud upon the court without the state’s knowledge (though its hard to imagine the cops and prosecutor did not realize Jay’s stories are full of lies – they did their best not to even attempt to corroborate or properly investigate out of fear of “bad evidence”). In that case, the state can remedy that fraud by revoking Jay’s plea and charging them both with perjury. At this point Jay is totally useless as a state witness in any potential future retrial against Adnan, he’s admitting he essentially trolled the DA and detectives and made up a lot of his testimony. The state doesn’t have to stand for that, and can refuse to be complicit at keeping an innocent man in prison.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE, EH?
Its really hard to gauge how much of Jay’s fear and trepidation of risk to his family comes from any real threat or a perceived threat. I say that because his characterization of Sarah’s interaction with him is pretty extreme. Her emails, as the world can see, were basically harmless, polite, and totally non-threatening. So his reaction to her seems out of touch with reality.
It could be that Jay is feeling highly threatened that this case gets reopened and he is once again a suspect. That and the potential for his DNA to be found from her body swabs and nail clippings, which could be big problem considering he has stated repeatedly that he never touched Hae (but got rid of his boots and clothing..ok). In that case, yes, Sarah poking around is a threat. Redditors sleuthing is a threat. Me blogging is a threat. Its all a threat.
While I feel sorry for any stress this is causing his wife and children, it is impossible for me to feel any sympathy for Jay. Whether you think he has a personality disorder, was fed information by the police, or is a manipulative liar who got away with a big crime, it should be clear that he knew where Hae was buried for six weeks and let her family suffer through that. It should be clear that his stories are full of lies and those lies were the basis for putting away a 17 year old for life.
Jay may be suffering slightly now. But for almost sixteen years, Adnan’s mother, and father, and brothers have suffered. His parents lost their son, his siblings lost their brother. They all lost their family.
And Adnan, who is housed in this maximum security prison, where even his guards tell him he doesn’t belong, lost his life. No college, no career, no family, no children, no holidays, no dinners with loved ones, no travels, no freedom. He has lived in a cage for nearly sixteen years.
Which brings me to this: for those who think it’s acceptable to get in my face to tell me you think Adnan is guilty, you are scummy. You’re entitled to your opinion, though its meaningless since you know nothing about Adnan and very little about the case, but have the decency to not rub it in my face. Or in the face of any of Adnan’s loved ones. Because we’ve witnessed not just collateral damage, but real damage.
You want to know what real damage looks like? It looks like a young man who has grown into a full man behind bars. It looks like a grown man who may turn into a middle aged man behind bars. And it looks like a middle aged man who may eventually die behind bars. Because that’s what we are dealing with. The possibility that Adnan may die in prison. The possibility that his parents might die without ever having their son home again.
We are entitled to fight tooth and nail to make sure that doesn’t happen. And no one has the right to question us as we do what anyone would do for a loved one they believe is innocent.