Jay From ‘Serial’ Thinks He Was ‘Demonized’

The second installment of the Intercept’s impossible mission to interview Jay Wilds, a key witness in the murder drama at the heart of the first season of the”Serial” podcast, came out Tuesday. Though the verdict on Adnan Syed’s guilt or innocence may forever remain murky, one thing is certain: Jay is pissed at reporter Sarah Koenig.

Part two of the interview focuses heavily on Jay’s feelings about how Koenig and “Serial” producer Julie Snyder “demonized” him on the show, how they approached him at home, and what the fallout has been for him. For one thing, Jay doesn’t want listeners to dehumanize him just because he took part in the criminal act of disposing Hae Min Lee’s body. “You don’t lose your link to humanity,” he told the Intercept.

Jay described in detail the day Koenig and Snyder arrived at his home and how surprised (and worried) he had been that they were able to find him. He says Koenig introduced herself as someone who works for “This American Life,” the podcast’s parent program, and described what she was working on as a radio show and a documentary. (He clearly feels misled.) Jay says his family was terrified. “She kept saying, ‘It’s going to be in your interest to talk to me,’ and that just started to feel like a threat, like if I didn’t talk to her it was going to be bad news for me,” he said. The interview is an attempt “to clear my name.”

For “Serial” obsessives, though, the juiciest bit of information comes in the first portion of the interview, where Jay says he did not tip off the police about Adnan. Instead, Jay floats his own theory about who the anonymous tipster may have been: a mosque figure whose name he can’t pronounce, and whom the Intercept chose to call “Mr. B,” who took the Fifth when called before the grand jury. But Rabia Chaudry, the attorney who first brought Adnan’s case to Koenig’s attention, doesn’t quite see how this fits:

Moreover, Chaudry thinks the first interview is incontrovertible proof that Jay perjured himself on the stand and that there may be hope for Adnan yet:

Specifically, some calls made on the evening of the murder from Adnan’s cell phone no longer match up with Wilds’ story. It has always been the state’s theory of the case that Adnan and Wilds buried Lee’s body around 7pm that night; Wilds testified to that, and the state corroborated his account by pointing to two calls made at that time that “pinged” a cell phone tower in the wooded area where her body was found. Yet Wilds told The Intercept that he and Adnan buried Lee at midnight – at least five hours after he swore in court that they buried her. There are no recorded cell phone calls at that time.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are too many other inconsistencies between the Intercept interview and Wilds’ sworn testimony to enumerate here – and others have done it quite well – but, suffice it to say that, in my opinion as an attorney, there may be enough evidence for the state of Maryland to pursue a perjury charge against Wilds. There is no statute of limitations for perjury in Maryland, and it’s an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. […] More importantly to me, it opens up new possibilities for Adnan’s case. Wilds’ interview, while not a sworn statement, can still be used to impeach his previous statements and credibility – and challenge the state’s version of events in any future re-trial. It could even be used as a basis – new evidence – for a new post-conviction appeal.

Fortunately, part two is hardly the end. The third promises to discuss “the collateral damage of an extremely popular podcast.”

Jay From ‘Serial’ Thinks He Was ‘Demonized’