The Most Memorable Quotes from the Adnan Syed Hearing

15 February 2016
Published in Blog

By Seema Iyer, Esq.

Ferbruary 16, 2016

Last week I attended the post-conviction hearing of Adnan Syed in Baltimore, Maryland. (I wrote about it for The Dean's Report.) Syed, the subject of the immensely popular Serial podcast, is getting another chance for a new trial after being convicted in 2000 of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in January 1999. The five day court proceeding, included many notable quotes. These are some of my most memorable:

Phil Dantes (fmr friend & attorney for Cristina Gutierrez):

-       On Cristina Guitierrez, “not appearing to be in control” & “looked like she was losing it.”

* BOTH STATEMENTS were struck from the record

Asia McLain (‘The Alibi’) thought former prosecutor, Kevin Urick, would have worn a “white hat”

Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah cross-examining Librarian, Michelle Hamiel:

-       Question: “Would it surprise you to learn the library has no records of cameras being installed until February 2000?”

-       Answer: “No. We didn’t keep records.”

Asia McLain on when she realized the time period in library was significant: “(it) placed greater weight on my heart”

Asia McLain on reason for testifying, “(so) justice could be fairly evaluated”

 Justin Brown, Defense Attorney, on Security Officer Steve testifying anonymously: “The public has a right to see witnesses and have witnesses identify themselves”

 Christopher Nieto, Defense Attorney, referred to Deputy AG Vignarajah’s staff as a “legion of minions.”

 Agent Chad Fitzgerald, State cell phone expert, on cross-examination by Justin Brown:

-       “it’s offensive that you handed me manipulated evidence”

-       In response to whether he worked all weekend on the case, “don’t flatter yourself.”

Criminal Defense Attorney Expert, David Irwin to Deputy AG Vignarajah on cross-examination:

-       “You’re begging the world to think she (Gutierrez) had a strategy……(there was) no analysis, no strategy”

Christopher Nieto cross-examining Security Officer Steve:

-       Question: “Can you say for certain whether Mr. Syed was in the library (on January 13, 1999)?”

-       Answer: “No.” (this was in complete contradiction to his direct testimony)

Justin Brown, closing statement:

-       “I am proud to represent this man and stand beside him in his defense.”

-       “I’ve been walking in her (Gutierrez) footsteps for 7 years.”

-       On Gutierrez, “She wanted to win, she tried to win, she was a fighter BUT there was something wrong….too many signals, too many red flags.”

-       On Asia McClain, “the diamond slipped through the cracks.”

-       “No defense attorney can defend not contacting an alibi witness.”

Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, closing statement:

-       “State’s responsibility is to do justice, not to bend to what’s fashionable.”

-       “what is popular is not always just.”

-       submits Gutierrez thought “Asia McClain is not a weapon for the defense, it is a weakness.”

-       Referring to Adnan Syed’s case as “a fight that should not end in victory.”

Andrea Seabrook, journalist, from inside the press room……..

-       “I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. All I do is drink and write.”


Seema Iyer is a criminal defense & civil rights attorney with her own lawfirm in NYC.  She is an MSNBC legal analyst.   Follow her on Twitter @seemaiyeresq


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