Split the Moon

Rabia Chaudry

Tag: Undisclosed (page 2 of 2)

So Hard to Say Goodbye

Let me start by saying Eid mubarak to all of the Muslims celebrating the end of 29 days of summer fasting! Wishing you a peaceful and blessed day, full of family and friends, laughter and food. And gifts. Or gift cards. Cash ain’t so bad either.

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See, when I was a kid, and well through my young adult years, my mother repeated the same story every year towards the end of Ramadan – that her grandmother would weep for hours and hours as the last few days and nights of Ramadan passed.  Having prepared her home before the month of fasting as if she would be receiving a special guest, when that guest (Ramadan, in case you’re not following) was ready to leave, she just couldn’t handle it.

Frankly, I wasn’t buying it. Sad to see a month of no food or drink from sunup to sundown end? Not me, no sir. I almost didn’t believe the story, thinking my mom was making it up to make me feel awful for not loving deprivation so much or my great-grandma was putting people on. I guess I was wrong.

Now that I’m a certified grown-up, I get it.  Because Ramadan ended last night.

It’s all over and though I can have a cup of hot, strong, sweet tea right now, WHILE THE SUN SHINES, I actually I feel deeply sad. This stuff hit me about a decade ago, when I first realized that crap, I do really miss Ramadan when its over. Even though we literally go 16-18 hours without a drop to drink or a morsel to eat in the summers, the days go by fast (amazing what the body can adjust to) and the nights are really short because they’re packed with friends, family, prayers, food, and its the most communally spiritual thing that happens all year round.

Imagine if you will a month of Christmas mass and feasting with friends every night. You’d miss it too.

But today begins our three day holiday called Eid which very creatively means “Celebration/Feast/Holiday”. We have two Eids in the year, one at the end of Ramadan, and one a couple of months later when the annual pilgrimage called the Hajj happens. The Hajj, in case you’re not familiar, is a commemoration mostly of the story of Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael.

Ramadan lasts either 29 or 30 days, depending on if the new moon is sighted. That’s because, like the Jewish calendar, the Islamic calendar is lunar.  The tradition is to wait until night to see if new moon is spotted. If it is, the month is over, new month starts that night, and the next day you celebrate Eid. Of course in the West this can get tricky, especially because the we all want to take time off of work or school for it. But imagine explaining to your employer, “well you see, I don’t know EXACTLY when I’ll be taking the day off, but let me just take a look at the moon and get back to you”. Having said that, not all Muslims are celebrating Eid today, some have said “NOPE DID NOT SEE THE MOON”, and will be fasting one extra day.*

 

Now as odd as fasting seems to Western sensibilities, it is a fairly integral part of most orthodox faith traditions, both Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and non-Abrahamic (Hinduism, Buddhism). There is nary a religion that doesn’t have a season or days of fasting in some shape or the other. The point in all traditions is not just to starve yourself. In fact, that is the least of the goals. Its really to detach yourself from worldly things, discipline your body and spirit, refrain not only from sustenance but also from being “bad” – cursing, fighting, being miserly.  Its a time when you’re meant to do your best, in prayer, in charity, in whatever you can.

Of course, we’re all human, some days are good, some aren’t so hot. I haven’t cursed (online) all Ramadan and for that I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back.

Now other than the fact that I’m doing a little 4-1-1 about Ramadan because it just ended, I’m also doing it because the day Hae Min Lee disappeared, January 13, 1999, also fell in Ramadan. Again, because we’re on a lunar calendar, Ramadan moves around, and that year it fell in the winter months.

Like many observant Muslims, or those who come from observant families, Adnan also went to the mosque pretty much every night in Ramadan. We have special night prayers that only happen in Ramadan called “taraweh”.  On the 13th, it seems he was also at the mosque. But folks say, hold up, wait a minute, his phone called all sorts of numbers all evening.  HOW COULD HE DO THAT AT THE MOSQUE, HMMMMM???

From the Serial website, calls made from Adnan's phone on 1/13/99

From the Serial website, calls made from Adnan’s phone on 1/13/99

Well he could. Because taraweh prayers are like that, there are breaks between prayers almost every 5-10 minutes or so depending on how fast or slow the Imam is reciting the scripture. People stay as long as they feel like it, until the end of prayers, or halfway, or just for a few rounds of prayer. This not like a church service where you have to take a seat and stay till the end.

As an example, I took some video a couple of weeks ago from the gorgeous new Turkish mosque built close to my home. It may look like I’m somewhere in Istanbul, but I’m actually in Maryland. FYI, most mosques in the US do not look this fancy, Erdogan had $100 million to throw at this new mosque project, and I’m just lucky its close by.

In the video, I’m first in the mosque courtyard then I wander inside. Once inside you’ll see men praying towards the front, women are praying to the left and right of me, and then all of the sudden, when that portion of prayer is done, a loud sing-songy things happens during which people get a couple minutes break, or make a break for it themselves and head out.

As you can see, beyond the breaks, people are generally always wandering in and out, talking, and yes, using their phones as the prayers are going on. If I was a 17 year old who just got a new cellphone in an era where few of my friends had them, you can be darned sure I was using it – even at the mosque.

In an earlier episode of Undisclosed we discussed the number noted as “Jenn’s pager”, which we now think may not have been her pager at all (Jay repeatedly refers to the “owner” of the number as a he and Not-Her-Real-Name-Cathy doesn’t recognize it though she should if its her close friend’s pager).  If you’ll scroll back up to the call log you’ll see that number is actually not called all day, its only called 7pm and later, which is when Adnan is already back with his phone after track.  Jenn’s house is repeatedly called during the time Jay probably had the phone exclusively, most likely because he was talking to either Jenn or Mark at home, and he was never even there that day.

Which means its not necessary that Jay was the one calling that number. It could have been Adnan, since it is likely not Jenn’s pager at all. For all we know, Adnan may have already dropped Jay off at home (like Jay said)  around 7pm, headed home, and then went to the mosque with his dad around 7:30 like Uncle testified.

That’s one possibility. The other is that it was Jay making those calls, which also works because in the winter the prayers start around 8pm and last till about 10:30pm. Adnan could have headed to the mosque shortly after 8 too. Uncle may have been off by 40 minutes.

WHERE TO START?

We’ve discussed a lot on Undisclosed since I last blogged, including the following seminal points:

  • The police honed in on Adnan very early on in the investigation, before they ever spoke to Jay
  • They spoke to Jay before they spoke to Jenn, who then later “sent them back” to Jay
  • The Enehey Group, which wrote the deeply Islamophobic memo, was helping the police, having been retained by Hae’s uncle, with the missing person’s investigation and may have been (in my estimation) what pushed the cops/prosecution to go with the “Muslim honor killing” theory. Once the cops had a suspect and motive, all they had to do was build the case.
  • They used the DEA to get phone records, but selectively. No records for Jenn or Jay’s home, Jenn’s pager, Phil, or Patrick. But a random Pakistani lady who was helping Adnan’s parents get his school records? Yep, her records got pulled. Sorry Aunty Alfreda, you didn’t deserve that.
  • When the defense PI went to interview Stephanie, Jay and Phil showed up at her house and were turned away. The statement she gave to the PI that night changed by the next time he spoke with her, probably because Jay had gotten to her and asked her to change it. Interesting that she did not repeat the additional new detail in her story (in which she says she called Adnan’s phone on 1/13/99 between 4:15 and 5:30pm and he was with Jay) when she gave a statement to the police the following month. She was never called to testify at trial either. My theory? She was “leaned on” by Jay to tell the PI about a call that never happened, then refused to repeat the lie to cops later.  Thus, not useful at trial. Because if she had told the cops she made that call and Adnan and Jay were together, damn skippy she would have been a prosecution witness. Thank you Stephanie for refusing to lie to the police. If only Jay and Jenn were like you.
  • Hae used an ATM that was across the street from where Roy Sharonnie Davis lived. Davis had killed Jada Lambert the year prior, another Woodlawn High senior, but wasn’t caught for many years. So in January 1999, he was a free murderer in close proximity to a place that Hae would have passed on her way to pick up her cousin, and a place she had stopped in the past.
  • A woman, Mrs. S. had a “vision from God” that Hae’s body was in Leakin Park, was killed by two men in a car, the driver tall and slim with dreadlocks, 18-19, wearing tan jeans and timberlands. The daughter of “God vision” lady went to Woodlawn high, also a senior like Hae.  Weird? Yes.
  • Adnan was questioned for at least 6 hours without an attorney. He waived his right to an attorney initially, but after 6 hours the police got nothing from him. The attorneys retained by his family immediately began attempting to speak to their juvenile client only to be blocked over and over again by the cops.
  • Adnan was charged as an adult when Detective Mac added a year to his age in the arrest warrant, and making the case a capital offense eligible for the death penalty. There is no bail for capital offenses, therefore at the first bail hearing the judge denied bail based on a faulty charging document that wasn’t corrected.
  • At the second bail hearing Adnan was denied bail because prosecutor Vicky Walsh made the disgusting and totally false argument that there was a pattern of Pakistani men killing their girlfriends and fleeing the country. Despite having 600 letters of support, no priors, a minor with an impeccable record, Adnan was denied bail again. Thank you, you lying sack of crap Vicky Walsh. May karma forever bite you in the ass.
Vicki now works for the Baltimore County police department, which probably explains why we can't get any documents from them despite numerous public information requests. Whaddup Vicki?

Vicki now works for the Baltimore County police department, which probably explains why we can’t get any documents from them despite numerous public information requests. Whaddup Vicki?

WHAT I CAN’T SHAKE

…is the burial site, lividity and Hae’s car. There is a lot that was manipulated by the cops and state to nail Adnan (and we’ve got more mind-blowing revelations coming up), and his defense counsel was a hot mess, but none of that tells us what actually happened to Hae. But these three things, the burial spot, her lividity, her car, speak.  We have to extract the truth from them for now as our investigation is ongoing.

Ever since understanding the significance of the autopsy report, its been my theory that Hae was killed somewhere private. Not in a public place. In a home or place of business. She was left face down for 10 hours. Then she was moved and left in Leakin Park. Her grave was not dug out (theory for now), she was dumped in a depression and covered up.  In her car, her wallet and keys were missing but her purse was found. Her heels were in the car, while her body was bare foot.

I can’t read the entire scene but this is what it says to me for now:

  • Hae got out of her car with her heels on and her purse in hand, as most women would do. Either when she was knocked out or killed, or when her body was moved, her shoes came off. The killer tossed her shoes in the backseat of her car and then threw her purse in the trunk.  No woman who carries a purse keeps it in the trunk. We keep our purses with us, within hands reach of the driver’s seat. Some women will take off their heels when driving but they don’t throw them in the backseat. They keep them in the passenger side so they can grab them and put them back on when getting out of the car. If she was actually killed in her car in the driver’s seat both her shoes and her purse would have probably been in the passenger seat area, close to her.  If she had been led to Leakin Park and killed in the park, her shoes would have been in the area and not back in the car, and her purse would have been in the front of her car.  That’s why I think she was killed in a place where she actually took her purse and shoes with her and I feel certain that the killer put her shoes in the backseat and her purse in the trunk when getting rid of her body.
  • The burial site makes me crazy. If only people could go and see the area, they’d understand what I mean. It would be the riskiest, dumbest move ever to haul her there. Imagine this: you need to get rid of a body. There is a large wooded area with hundreds of acres. Lots of secluded spots where you can pull a car over and have access to the woods. Instead you decide to pull over on a busy two lane road where there is no proper parking spot, only a small pull off, and unload a body. Its like you’re literally asking for attention. It is impossible to do at any decent hour because of the volume of cars that go by, it has to be in the dead of night. Then why pick that spot and not any other hundreds of spots in the park that would be less visible and obvious? Maybe because you’ve heard bodies are dumped in Leakin but you’re not sure where? Maybe you don’t know the area so well? I don’t know.
  • So it’s the dead of night, you somehow get her body about 150 feet into the woods, not in a straight shot back from the pull off point but off to the left about 60 feet. You do this without her clothing or stockings getting ripped from the brambles, without her skin getting scratched or her hair getting clumps of mud, leaves, sticks in it. Which means either you carry her or you have her wrapped in something and drag her.

I spend a lot of time trying to visualize all of this, to try and figure out what happened and how.  I close my eyes and imagine the scenes. Think about what’s most plausible, what’s unlikely. What every bit means. But my brain has only so much power. I bet, out there, there are people who can do this better than me.  Smarter, sharper, keener minds who can read all of this and fit it together. If you’re one of those people, holler at me.

*You never thought you’d get a lesson on Muslimy stuff while trying to solve a murder mystery eh?  Consider it a fringe benefit, more ammo for Jeopardy, padding for your already vast and sophisticated knowledge of the world. You’re welcome. 

 

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.

 

 

 

Drop It Like It’s Hot

All day people have been tweeting at me to find out when the second episode of our podcast Undisclosed will post and there were a lot of moans and groans when I told them 6pm EST. That’s what happens when everyone involved has full time jobs that having nothing to do with the podcast, sorry not sorry folks.

I’m in Istanbul, Turkey right now for a closed conference on violent extremism convened by the Hollings Center, and had to make sure (and inconvenience the others) that we did all our taping before I left the US. Having now established a state of the art sound studio in my home, its the only place I can tape. Check it out. Continue reading

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