Split the Moon

Rabia Chaudry

Tag: asia mcclain

Ali, Orlando, Asia, Adnan, Undisclosed

ALI

When Muhammad Ali died I cried. A deep sadness set in and every so often I’d just have a little breakdown for the first few days. I know it wasn’t just me, I’m just one of millions of others who felt a connection to him, a pride in him and a love for him despite not sharing his faith or his race or really any part of his life, struggles, and achievements. It’s a common phenomenon when cultural icons die, whether it’s Prince or Princess Diana. Some icons mean more to us than others, some speak more to us than others, some represent us more than others. But in our attachment to all of them, we have to recognize a big part of what we really mourn when others die: our past, the memories connected to the people no longer with us, a little bit of us gone forever too, and of course our own life passing by.

ali

I recognize the selfish impulses that are connected to my mourning for Muhammad Ali. Ali is close to my father’s age, and whenever someone close to my father’s age passes away, a twinge of fear rises. Not yet, I think. It’s too soon. Not yet. My parents, immigrants from Pakistan, knew about the civil rights movement and the struggle for black dignity and equality only superficially – perhaps as superficially as Americans, including black American Muslims, know about the bloody partition, and all the horror stories leading up to it, and after it, of Pakistan and India in 1947.   Nearly everything my parents knew about black American history could be distilled down to two figures: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.

In a new country, with no family and faith community to support them, fish out of water, Malcolm and Ali were proof to my parents that Muslims belonged to America and America belonged to Muslims. It was not a mistake to raise their family here. We all belonged. That was his significance to my family.

I’ve watched over the past week as Muslims, including thought and religious leaders, duke it out over Ali. Others are too. Over who he belongs to, who can mourn him, what lessons we are supposed to take from his life, what he really represented, how everyone else is wrong, shouldn’t grieve him, shouldn’t co-opt him, shouldn’t even love him. I can only imagine how deeply distressed Ali, who loved people, loved to love people, and loved to be loved, would be at seeing these exchanges.

I’ve watched as some berated the lineup of powerful politicians at his funeral, scoffing at their presence in face of Ali’s revolutionary life, despite the fact that he planned his own funeral and that their inclusion was most likely of his own design.

I read a piece that said Ali became beloved to the establishment when he lost his ability to speak and stand up to power as he did in youth. But this video shows me that he was beloved to establishment even when he was in his prime.

I’ve read many declare that in memory of Ali’s life, they’ll become less apologetic, more outspoken, less careful with language, more ardent in speaking truth to power. It’s true, Ali spoke hard truths to brutal power, but so do many others. Social media is filled with people speaking hard truths to brutal power, not mincing their words (is there a safer way to do it than behind a keyboard?). But the difference with keyboard truth warriors, who often come across as assholes, and Ali, was that he was able to do so (and do other things we can’t get away with, like point out others as ugly but himself as beautiful) and still be loved and popular at the same time – that was his magic.

It’s a magic very few have, and that’s ok. We don’t all have to be Muhammad Ali. We can be like our Prophet (saw), gentle in word and humble always. We can be like Umar (RA), fiery but just. We can be like Ali (RA), wise and brave. We can be like Uthman (RA), shy, kind and gentle to the core. We can be like thousands of other good people, because there isn’t just one way to do life right, there isn’t just one way to be a good Muslim or a good person.

Even Muhammad Ali wasn’t just one way his entire life. He said it best himself.

Muhammad-Ali-quote-on-being-50-930x930

The truth is Ali was to people what they wanted him to be, and we all wanted a piece of Ali. We all wanted a connection to him. The most conservative Muslims, the ones who would ordinarily be deeply offended and opposed to it, loved Ali even though he accepted his daughters marrying out of Islam and raising children who are not Muslim. The most staunch BDS activists love him despite him supporting an endowment at an Israeli university. The most salafi and anti-CVE Muslims love him despite him taking bayaah with Sufi shaykh Hisham Kabbani,  who happens to be connected deeply to CVE work in the US.

It’s not that Ali was full of contradictions. It was that he could not ever be boxed in. And because he can’t be boxed in, the people who love him can’t be boxed in. He will always be loved by every kind of person. Despite what some may say, he belonged to us all simply by virtue of us loving him. No one has to justify their love for him.  I wish people would stop demanding it, and I’m glad to see, despite the struggles over who “owns” him, that the world came together to honor him when he was finally laid to rest.

Rest in peace Muhammad Ali.  InshAllah we’ll see you again on the other side.

 

ORLANDO

There aren’t enough words, or even the right words, to express my grief and horror at this tragedy.

Brett Morian, from Daytona Beach, hugs an attendee during the candlelight vigil at Ember in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, June 12, 2016. (Joshua Lim/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Brett Morian, from Daytona Beach, hugs an attendee during the candlelight vigil at Ember in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, June 12, 2016. (Joshua Lim/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

I’m not yet over Sandy Hook, and actually I hope I never get over it, that none of us do, but since then almost 1000 mass shootings have taken place in the US. You read that right. I didn’t add an extra zero by mistake.

We have a gun problem, America. The reason I go straight to guns, and not religion, mental illness, bigotry, or straight up hate is this: no society will ever rid themselves completely of any of these things. We will always, always, always have people among us who are hateful of others, who are psychologically or emotionally unstable, who are violent and criminal, who are ideological extremists, and who are just evil. We can address and try to treat these conditions, but no way will we be able to wipe them out. In the face of that, I’d rather not that people who suffer from all sorts of seriously troubling conditions have easy access to weapons that can snuff out dozens of lives. It’s not complicated. We can’t control the human condition, but we can control guns. We just refuse to do it.

This attack is leaving people, both Muslim and not Muslim, deeply confused and conflicted. On one hand, there are the immediate pronouncements of radical Islamic terror, but then it emerged that the killer, Mateen, was himself gay, being a regular visitor of the club, where he’d often be escorted from drunk, that he destroyed two nights ago.

Much like in the case of Adnan you can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue he was a devout fundamentalist doing the bidding of Allah while at the same time acknowledge he drank and dated men, decidedly un-fundamentalist-like behavior.

Like many of the mass shooters this country has come to endure and tolerate (because really we are tolerating this crap), Mateen was an angry, unstable, sick man. Abusive, racist, conflicted over his sexuality. He wasn’t violent because he was Muslim or because he was gay. He was violent because he was deeply disturbed and he did damage because he was able to get guns easily.

This attack, like every attack by a Muslim perp, has again put the Muslim community into an impossible fix. We decry that such a deed has anything to do with Islam and yet we scramble to put on press conferences and issue statements knowing that people associate it with us no matter what.  We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t and are stuck having to respond publicly, as if there is collective culpability, to every Muslim piece of crap who does something awful in the West.  In the East there are daily terror attacks, because terrorists spend most of their time killing Muslims in case you didn’t realize it, but American Muslims aren’t expected to hold a press conference for those. A small comfort. Or not.

The next few weeks will packed with analysis over Mateen, homosexuality in the Muslim community, and ISIS. But as we continue to debate his motives, remember this: the families of 49 innocent people will remain shattered forever and other sick, scary people keep buying more guns.

I will continue to pray for the families of the victims, donate to help them through all of this, and point out that America is addicted to lethal weapons.

 

ASIA

Asia McClain’s book was finally released last week and I read it over the past weekend. It was a quick read because she writes with conversational comfort, direct and simple, a style I actually love. I have always hated the pomposity of presumptuous writing.

Just get the book. Trust me.

Just get the book. Trust me.

I couldn’t not read the book, after all I had to see what she had to say about the case, about Serial, about Urick and Thiru, and of course about Adnan and Hae. She didn’t disappoint. As she had since 1999, Asia remains firm in her conviction of seeing Adnan after school on the day Hae disappeared, and confirms what I recall, that both her boyfriend and his friend had also seen Adnan and during that time remembered it. All these years later they may not, but they were never asked to for 15 years.

I was deeply moved at how strongly she felt about doing the right thing after she heard Urick on Serial. It weighed on her heart heavily, and I could sense it in her words. I outright cried when she cited a mutual friend of her and Adnan who said he always believed in Adnan’s innocence and that Adnan is one of the sweetest people he’s ever met.

Asia also publishes her letters from 1999, the ones she wrote to Adnan, in the book with notations. She scrupulously tries to explain nearly everything that could be left up to interpretation. I understand why she does it, given the awful way Thiru tried to twist everything she wrote as a 17 year old at the PCR hearing. I hope on the inside he is ashamed of himself. He’s no better than the idiotic guilters who have harassed Asia to no end, including saying terrible things about her baby (she’s due next month) and organizing a campaign to give her book one star ratings on Amazon. One asshole, a female one from the chubby, scruffy nail-polished finger I could see in the pics, bought the book a couple of weeks ago from Barnes & Nobles and took photos of some pages to share with the cockroach sub. At least she bought the book, because no one else did. Within a jiffy the roach gang apparently uploaded a pirated copy. Of course ten sad angry people reading a pirated copy does not a revolution make, and though they tried hard to screw Asia on Amazon reviews, the result is pathetic. Every single star left is from someone whose purchase can’t be verified, ie they got hearts full of vitriol but empty, broke-ass wallets. Every verified purchaser has left her four and five stars. That says something.

I’m going to be writing my review in the next day or so. The book was sweet, funny (I lol’d a few times), and authentic. I will never be able to appreciate enough Asia stepping up to the plate, to the scrutiny, to the assholery of the state, to the sickness of online trolls, all for the sake of truth. It won’t be in vain sister.

I’m asking all my readers, followers, supporters to buy Asia’s book and leave her the reviews she deserves for being brave and sticking by the truth despite being harassed and intimated by trolls and Thiru. I promise you the shyte the trolls are saying about her book are lies. Because the idiots haven’t even read it.

Thank you Asia. Power and prayers to you and your family.

 

ADNAN’S STORY

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Speaking of books and reviews, my book has been reviewed by the two toughest reviewers in publishing – Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly. Kirkus, I’ve been told, lives to rip authors a new one. Only 10% of the books that are submitted to them for review get the coveted Kirkus Star. PW is called the Bible of the book review industry. Both of these review outfits help determine the amount of media your book will get, if bookstores will carry it, and even the kind of sales you are likely to see.

Both Kirkus and PW have now given Adnan’s Story starred reviews. It is rather unreal to me. I looked up some of my favorite books and authors on both sites and realized how most of them didn’t get the star. My agent and editor are thrilled of course, but I’m still not believing it. After reading my book through about 2300 times for edits, I can’t quite take it anymore. Despite my skepticism, it seems the book is not half-bad.

You can get your not-half-bad book here: adnanstory.com. If you preorder before August 9, you get a bookplate personally signed by me, just fill out the form on that site. My hand will be just fine after signing 5000 of them, who needs fine motor skills? After August 9, sorry no more bookplates.

But you may be able to get your book signed in person, because there will be a number of events coming up, including an actual launch event on August 9, on the Baltimore harbor itself. The list of cities is not yet complete, and they’ll be added over time. If you don’t see your city, feel free to tweet at my agent Lauren Abramo (I love you Lauren, sorry) and see if something can be set up.

I look forward to meeting folks around the country and signing your books, but let’s face it, I have to love my pre-order readers more. You’ll feel the love in every cramped signature. Apologies in advance for any chai or Mr. Beans hair that ends up on them.

And yes, there is an audiobook. I’m recording the sucker. “How hard can it be?” I thought when I was asked to do it. Let me just put it this way: it takes me about 5 hours to read 50 pages. The book is over 400 pages. Do the math. I’ve recorded for 5 days and have about 3 more days to go. By the end of every recording day I can barely form words anymore. Some words, words I use all the time, don’t even sound right anymore. After a while I start wondering if anything I’m saying is even coherent. I periodically break into tear when reading hard passages. My intestinal track is one loud beast, a revelation to me, and often competes for the mic in the dead-silent recording booth.

All in all, I feel deeply sorry for the sound editor who has to deal with me saying “sorry”, “thirsty”, “tummy”, “need a tissue” and a host of other things a million times as we trudge through my inability to simply read with expression. Nonetheless they seem hopeful that it will actually get done, so I have hope too. You can order the audiobook on Audible.com.

Adnan’s story isn’t just what’s in the book of course. It’s what is going on right now, this very minute. I must get at least a dozen inquiries a day about the status of his appeal, about if the judge has ruled.

He hasn’t. Yes, it’s been four months or so. Yes it feels like forever and I am really really ready to get that ruling already. But there is no deadline, no time limit, no way to predict when it will happen. I love you people, but please, I can’t keep repeating the same thing over and over on social media. You can bet when the judge rules it will be all over the news, my timeline, Justin Brown’s timeline, and the timeline of anyone associated with the case or Undisclosed, including Saad, Susan, Colin and others. YOU WILL NOT MISS THE NEWS WHEN IT BREAKS, believe this.

Lots of people ask if it’s a good or bad thing that Judge Welch is taking so long. It’s neither. He’s taking as long as it takes for him to try and make his judgment iron-clad. It will be his legacy after all, the last ruling of his career, having been brought out of retirement for it. The last thing he wants is to be overruled by the higher court. Whatever he decides, he wants to make sure it will withstand an appeal.

Because it will be appealed. If we lose, we appeal. If the State loses, they appeal. Judge Welch’s decision is very important, but it may be that the final decision will be with the higher court anyway.

It’s hard to be patient, I know. Just remember that Adnan and his family have waited 17 years. We got this.

 

UNDISCLOSED

Have we got a story for you

Have we got a story for you

Season 2 is upon us soon. We will start off a brand new wrongful conviction case, one that will make your head spin, on July 11, 2016. It doesn’t mean we won’t continue to cover Adnan’s case, we will. You know we can’t and won’t ever walk away from it. So anytime there is a development, we’ll update you on it, rest assured.

It’s not just a new case we’re bringing to you, and a new defendant to fight for, we also have some big changes that we’re over the moon about. Actor Jon Cryer has joined the Undisclosed team! I know, we can’t believe it ourselves. You may be wondering how this all came about, but no worries, we’ll soon have an episode explaining all that.

Jon with his book "So That Happened". It's the first and only audiobook I ever heard, a gift from Jon, and it is hilarious, moving, wonderful :)

For now what you should be really excited about is this: every Monday you’ll get your Undisclosed episode with Susan, Colin and I. Every Thursday you’ll get an Addendum episode hosted by Jon. That’s right. Two episodes a week.

And that’s not the last you’ll hear of Undisclosed news. There’s more to come, soon enough. The criminal justice system won’t know what hit em.

Happy Birthday Adnan

Adnan with little brother Yusuf, back before an entire team of adults railroaded him into a life sentence

Adnan with little brother Yusuf, back before an entire team of adults railroaded him into a life sentence

Today is Adnan’s birthday. Today he turns 34.*

I wrote before about how, in the early years of his incarceration, my mother dreamt that Adnan would be released from prison in his 30’s, specifically after the age of 35. My husband says my mother told him it would be at 35.

Fifteen years ago that was a hard pill to swallow, the idea that he would stay in prison for so long, lose his 20’s entirely, half his 30’s, it stuck like a lump in my chest. Even now, as I type, the lump moves to my throat.  You want to be happy for someone on their birthday, but with Adnan a birthday is another year lost for him and his family. I want to be happy, but I can’t. I just feel angry.

35 is around the corner though – and things are looking bright.  My mother knows whats up.

Happy birthday little brother. Next year, God willing, you’ll celebrate with your loved ones.

IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE

Adnan’s post-conviction effort -to get a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel, to get Asia’s testimony heard – began five years ago. A lot of folks don’t realize that. Justin Brown, who is still lead counsel, filed for post-conviction relief in 2010.

It was denied just over a year ago, in January 2014, and we immediately applied for leave to appeal the denial. The State moved to request the Court to deny our application. We responded and three days later, this past February, the MD Court of Special Appeals (COSA) granted the application, something that happens in less than 2% of cases in Maryland. Oral arguments were scheduled for June 9th, and then, just four days ago, a most astonishing thing happened.

While a grassroots team of volunteers was preparing to organize the many supporters who wanted to be present at the hearing, and Justin was getting his response to the State’s brief (which I shall shortly gag er comment upon) ready, poof, it all went away.

COSA issued an order essentially remanding the case back down to the Circuit Court in order to include Asia’s new affidavit into the official record.  There are no two ways about this – this is the relief we were asking of COSA.  And it was granted without even getting to oral arguments. It’s like they just thought, “ah who are we kidding, don’t need a hearing to figure this out.”

Does this ever happen? No, in the name of all that is good and holy, it doesn’t. Justin, when he told me the news, said that with this case, it doesn’t seem like there are any rules.

Thanks to Serial, because without Serial, Asia would’ve been forever lost to us. If she hadn’t heard the podcast, and heard Urick lie on the stand about their interaction, no one would have been the wiser. And thanks to the work of Susan and Colin, who keep busting the State’s case open further and further, stripping away all the lies and misrepresentations.

I’m not saying the COSA judges are listening to Undisclosed. But I’m saying, prove to me they’re not 😉

BAD FICTION

I had a bit of a meltdown when I read the State’s brief that was filed with COSA last week. Not because there was anything new or damaging, it was the same old losing arguments we’ve seen before. My melodramatic reaction mirrored the harlequin-cheap-crime-novel feel of their brief  – and my rage was at the outright lies/misrepresentations.

In fact, let’s start with the lies (of course its pretty much all a lie technically since Adnan had nothing to do with Hae’s death, but let’s just pretend the State is working in good faith and actually believes he did – that still leaves us with the stuff even they know is bullshit):

  • “The week of the murder…Lee’s affection for Syed visibly flickered”: No, a lie. Adnan and Hae had broken up in December, at least a month earlier, and by New Years they were both seeing someone else. The very first person Adnan called when he got his new cell was his new girl, Nisha.
  • “Syed lent Wilds his vehicle and his new cell phone”: Lie. Jay testified on the stand that Adnan had left his phone in the car glove compartment, not actually lent or given it to Jay. Just fucking left it in the car. Of course the cops FORCED Jay to lie that Adnan planned giving it to him in advance (Episode 3, Undisclosed), and the State used that to get a maximum sentence for premeditated murder against Adnan.
From Jay's Intercept Interview in December. What's that Jay? You don't know if it was premeditated? WASN'T THAT THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF HIM GIVING YOU THE CAR? Oh my bad, that's what the cops made you say.

From Jay’s Intercept Interview in December. What’s that Jay? Are you saying it wasn’t planned?  WASN’T THAT THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF HIM GIVING YOU THE CAR? Oh my bad, that’s what the cops made you say.

More from the State's star witness, back in December.

More from the State’s star witness, back in December.

  • “Syed’s possessive behavior toward Lee”: Lie, unless you think taking a coffee cake to a friends house is possessive. Every single mutual friend repeatedly told the police that Adnan was only ever gentle and kind with Hae and her diary, which the State has, confirms it. There isn’t a shred of evidence of intimidation, anger, violence, or any behavior suggesting the relationship was abusive in any way, and the State knows it.

    Becky, a mutual friend, recalls their relationship

    Becky, a mutual friend, recalls their relationship

Trial testimony

Debbie’s trial testimony

From Becky's notes when asked to recall Adnan

From Becky’s notes when asked to recall Adnan

  • “Syed’s peculiar conduct after the murder”: Lie. Unless by peculiar conduct the State means Adnan was acting totally normally, which is what every witness they asked told them. God, the lies.
A statement given by Stephanie to the PI

A statement given by Stephanie to the PI

  • “Lee felt compelled to keep her growing interest in Cliendinst a secret from Syed”: Lie. Unless by “keep a secret” the State means introduce them to each other, which is what Don testified to.
  • “feigning that he had no memory at all of the day his ex-girlfriend vanished”: Lie.  Adnan told the detectives the same damn thing he’s been saying for 16 years. After giving the car to Jay, he was at school, did not leave the campus, went to track, and next saw Jay after track.
  • “Nisha Tanna, a friend of Syed’s, claimed she remembered receiving a call from Syed”: Lie. Nisha specifically recalled talking to Jay only ever ONCE and that was when he was at the porn shop – which he didn’t start working at until a couple of weeks after Hae disappeared. Even Serial told us how Urick manipulated Nisha on trial to cut that fact out, and Gutierrez never made the point.
  • “Kristi Vincent also observed Syed and Wilds together the evening of the murder”: Lie. Ok maybe an inaccuracy, it could be the State still believes the “facts” produced by the shoddy investigation, but in Episode 1 of Undisclosed we proved that Kristi’s recollection was not from Jan 13th. It was from Jan 22nd.
  • “both men were acting ‘real shady,’ and she noticed that Syed seemed to be hiding his face”: Lie. Putting aside the fact that none of this happened on the 13th, what’s hilarious is the State cites to TWO PAGES of the Kristi’s testimony to make this declaration. In other words, they’re making it up. All Kristi ever said was Adnan was stoned out of his mind, slumped over. And the shady part?  In reference to Jay, not Adnan. What the State forgets is that other folks also have these two pages.
These are the pages the State cites to. Even I'm embarrassed for them.

These are the pages the State cites to. Even I’m embarrassed for them.

Good try Urick.

Good try Urick.

  • “they went to an area a distance off the road and started digging Lee’s grave…(W)ilds estimated it was around 7 p.m”: Lie. For fucks sake, did you not read Jay’s Intercept interview? Yeah you actually did but now have to stick to the record, but guess what, you know the burial couldn’t have happened then (Undisclosed Episode 5 will explain why, dear readers)…which is why Jay changed his story in the Intercept. I’m on to you on this one, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Jay's Intercept interview. Midnight you say dear chap? Well so much for the "Leakin Park pings". Unfuckingbelievable.

Jay’s Intercept interview. Midnight you say dear chap? Well so much for the “Leakin Park pings”. Unfuckingbelievable.

More on Jay's recollection of getting picked up at his nana's house around midnight. Of course, there is no record of any call to Jay's house from Adnan's phone that night. In fact there are no calls made at all after

More on Jay’s recollection of getting picked up at his nana’s house around midnight. Of course, there is no record of any call to Jay’s house from Adnan’s phone that night. In fact there was only one single call made to Jay that day, the one in the morning before Adnan gave him the car, and there are no calls made at all after 10:30pm.  So why did Jay change his story? I think I know. Keep reading.

  • “the expert actually visited locations where a call was supposedly made and initiated a test call to determine what tower the call engaged”: Lie. The expert never stepped a foot into Leakin park. Wait for that Undisclosed episode.
  • “Syed also elected not to attend the memorial service for Lee, telling Inez Hendricks, another teacher at Woodlawn, that he skipped the service because he and Lee practiced different religions.”: Lie. God my stomach turns at the absolute evil of this fabrication.  There were two events after Hae’s death, a private funeral held at her family’s Korean church, and a school memorial. Not a single student attended the private funeral because NO ONE WAS INVITED. As for the memorial, Adnan helped to actually organize and develop it but WAS ARRESTED before it took place. “Elected not to attend”. Elected from the inside of a jail cell right.
  • “Fashioning an alibi for Syed’s whereabouts that supported Syed’s statements to police was a clear priority for Gutierrez”: It was such a priority that the ONE SINGLE WITNESS Adnan offered to her, complete with contact information, she never even attempted to contact. Stop lying, MD.
  • “Kevin Urick, one of the original prosecutors, testified that McClain called him after the post-conviction was filed to say she had written the affidavit only because of pressure from the defendant’s family and hoped that, by doing so, they would leave her alone.”: Urick lied under oath and now you’re repeating his lies State of Maryland. And you know it. Guess what, COSA knows it too. That’s why we won the remand.
From Asia's recent affidavit. The one that the Circuit Court will now, most probably, enter into the record.

From Asia’s recent affidavit. The one that the Circuit Court will now, most probably, enter into the record.

  • “the State presented overwhelming evidence of Syed’s guilt”: yeah I just have to laugh at that one, nothing further to be said

There are lies, and then there are lies of omission. Here’s the facts that the State omitted from the brief:

  • “When police executed a search warrant at Syed’s residence, they found a November 1998 letter from Lee tucked into a textbook, in which Lee sought to reassure Syed that they would both survive a breakup”. A note, written months before she disappeared, and written during a breakup after which THEY ACTUALLY GOT BACK TOGETHER.  Guess what else? The search warrant didn’t turn up another damn thing. More on that in a future Undisclosed episode.
  • “When Syed learned Lee was missing and when her body was discovered in Leakin Park, Syed never attempted to contact her”: Let’s not forget that the man who was currently dating and slept with Hae less than 24 hours before she disappeared, and who was supposed to see her on 1/13, never attempted to contact her again.
  • “Syed wrote a long letter to the court, pleading with the judge to permit him to keep Gutierrez because of the strong personal and professional bond between them”: Yeah, this happened months BEFORE HIS FIRST TRIAL, before Gutierrez had failed to give him in competent counsel. Before she neglected to contact an alibi witness and anyone realized it, before she failed to pull his email records, before she failed to subpoena phone records for Jay, Jenn, Patrick, Phil, before she failed to investigate Mark Pusteri, before she failed to retain a medical expert or cell expert, before she took money to bus the jury to the burial site and then didn’t, before she essentially dropped every ball in the case. Here is what the State is arguing: Adnan hired her and really wanted her so it means she gave him effective assistance. Like Adnan could see into the future. Like anyone can know if their lawyer will fail them at the time they hire them.  Go home, State of Maryland, you are drunk.
  • Gutierrez “provided to the State a list of 80 potential alibi witnesses on October 5, 1999”: except she didn’t interview a single one or present a single one as a witness at trial, which is why SHE WAS INEFFECTIVE and also, she never included Asia on that list, which is ALSO WHY SHE WAS INEFFECTIVE.
  • They totally mischaracterize all of Asia’s documents and written testimony, why not, she’s much LESS reliable than their star witness, but anyway I’m not getting into the details here. We all know it’s bullshit, so does COSA, which is why her testimony will now be part of the record. The State can try what it wants when Asia is on the stand, but from the one time I met/spoke to her, I remember she can and will hold her own. Urick may not hold up as well once we get him on the stand to answer for his perjury. Oh yes, he will be subpoenaed.

Now i have to talk about the drama in the brief.  I’ve never seen a legal brief written so…descriptively.

Here are some of the words and phrases they used to illustrate their “statement of facts”:

  • shallow grave
  • turbulent ten-month relationship
  • affection for Syed visibly flickered
  • kill that bitch
  • killed Lee with his bare hands
  • tried to apologize to Syed with her last breath
  • Lee’s crumpled body
  • Syed lured Lee away
  • Emboldened after speaking with jurors
  • ploy to get a ride from Lee after school
  • imploring Syed
  • ominous words
  • decomposing body
  • ensconced in a relationship (ensconced? really? snort)
  • Syed and Lee were nevertheless consumed with one another (am I reading a bodice-ripper?)
  • the course of that fateful night
  • both men seemed disturbed and disoriented by the gravity of the moment (code for “this is why Jay can’t tell a coherent, consistent story in which he either is at the burial or is not at the burial and can communicate with Adnan even though they’re in two different cars with one phone between them)

I could go on with the cheesy language, but you get the drift. I’ve written countless briefs in my years of practice. I know what a brief sounds like, what a blog sounds like, what an OpEd sounds like, what a policy paper sounds like. The statement of fact in the State’s brief reads like a lurid novella , and initially I couldn’t figure out why they wrote it like that.

Then I realized what was going on. That brief wasn’t written for COSA. It was written for the public. Because that’s where the State is getting slammed and humiliated. While I can blog and tweet and emote, the State must pack all of its emoting to briefs (and maybe to the bowels Reddit as well, because dollars to donuts their team is represented in the dark sub).

I’m guessing COSA also figured out the brief wasn’t written for them and was as unimpressed as I was, since they issued their order less than a week later. A fine and swift smack in the rear to their brief. In the immortal words of Jay the Deceiver, “aw, snap”.

THE DEAL WITH JAY, PART 85

We're getting closer to the truth. Photo credit: firstlook.org

Photo credit: firstlook.org . We’re getting closer…..

In episode 3 of Undisclosed, we dropped the bombshell that Jay had been coached by the police and showed how exactly they did it. Tapping. Not only did they have the phone records, cell tower maps, a chronology all laid for him, they had to tap to continuously remind him to correct himself, and he would -apologizing often, changing course, even totally changing the story. We heard him get bullied into accepting that he was an accessory to murder.

In this week’s Addendum we showed you that Jay had been meeting with the cops a number of times before the official record reflected it, and before they met with Jen. So they had plenty of times to work out the story, rather, the cops had plenty of time to tell Jay what the story would be.  Now, you can either believe the cops in good faith thought Adnan really had killed Hae and were just trying to get a conviction one way or the other, or that they knew this was not their guy but they didn’t care – there was a tremendous amount of pressure on them from the Korean community and local media to close this case, and they needed it done.

I want to think the cops were acting in good faith, but I can’t get around the fact that they elected not to test the DNA that was collected from the site, and other lapses in the investigation that make it clear they were afraid they’d find something proving it wasn’t Adnan.

They had nothing connecting Jay to the crime, but they made him think they did. They actually didn’t have anything connecting anyone to the crime, but they found that with enough pressure and threat of arrest, Jay would turn against Adnan to save himself.

Its not like this doesn’t happen. A significant portion of wrongful convictions happen because a witness, having gotten a deal, lies to help the prosecution secure a conviction.

So what’s the deal with Jay? Was he completely railroaded, then roped Jen in to back him up? Other than his own statements, which are near useless, is there any evidence tying him to the crime? Not really.

The State knows it doesn’t have anything – it never did but Gutierrez didn’t do her job properly. It certainly doesn’t now because Jay changed much of his story with the Intercept interview. I always wondered about that interview, it never made sense to me.

Why would Jay’s attorney Benaroya, the SAME attorney that Urick got for him in 1999, advise him to do an interview and then actually find the reporter to do it? The same reporter that then interviewed Urick?  That’s no coincidence. I can guarantee that was coordinated between Urick and Benaroya, if not others.

At this point I don’t think Jay says anything he isn’t told to say. He was told what to say back in 1999 and 2000. I think it is entirely probable he was told what to say in the Intercept interview. If Benaroya actually arranged the interview, there is every reason to believe she’d tell him what to say – I refuse to believe someone with a lawyer who is so deeply involved would say anything that lawyer did not approve.

So why would his lawyer (and by extension Urick if they coordinated) want Jay to change the timeline? Probably because they realize that 1) the cell tower records are useless and will be thrown out in any future trial so using them to corroborate anything doesn’t matter anymore but 2) there is medical evidence proving Hae could not be buried at 7pm, and that evidence, which Gutierrez didn’t catch, has now been caught (Undisclosed, episode 5).

They figure Jay got away with dozens of lies before, if they have to go to trial again, maybe he can get away with yet another change in story. Just like when Jay was forced to change his story to fit an inaccurate cell tower place on a map near Krista/Cathy’s house, he will again be forced to change his story to fit the medical evidence they know would bury the existing timeline in a new trial.

...and closer to the truth

…and closer to the truth. Photo credit: firstlook.org

They keep setting Jay up, and he keeps complying. But we’re on to it now.

 

*The case records with the MD case search engine incorrectly show Adnan’s year of birth as 1980. He was actually born in 1981, and he turns 34 today, not 35.

 

 

 

Perjury, Witness Tampering, Obstruction of Justice, and it’s only Tuesday!

It's too late. He already wrecked himself. Also thanks to the Tweeter who came up with this ;)

It’s too late. He already wrecked himself. Also thanks to the Tweeter who came up with this 😉 Natasha Vargas-Cooper, how you feeling about Urick now?

Urick is ok with obstructing both truth and justice. He lied to Asia, and he lied under oath during the post conviction appeal hearing.

I learned that a couple of months ago, when Asia McClain, having heard “Serial”, stepped up and contacted Adnan’s lawyer, Justin Brown. Yes I’ve known about this, as have other key folks, but of course it was kept under wraps until Justin took it to court.  And for the record, it was Asia who came forward, none of us ever contacted her. I have not seen or spoken or reached out to her in 15 years. It was the sheer power of Sarah’s work and the podcast that made her realize what happened, and I am again and again thankful to Sarah for that.

Asia never told Urick that she wrote her letters or the affidavit she gave to me under duress, he lied about it.  She called him after our private investigator reached out to her a couple of years ago – she was confused and wanted to know what was going on in the case. Urick assured her that Adnan had been convicted with overwhelming evidence (which he actually repeated in the Intercept interview – maybe he does not understand what the word ‘overwhelming’ actually means), and literally told her NOT TO TESTIFY at the hearing. Continue reading

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