Natasha Vargas-Cooper didn't wait long to release the second part of her interview with Jay Wilds, the key witness in the ultra-popular podcast, Serial. Part one, which ran on The Intercept on Tuesday, detailed the events that led up to and followed the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee.
In part two, Wilds explains why he declined to be interviewed by Koenig for the podcast, which ran for 12 episodes and became a bona fide cultural phenomenon.
"There was a knock on my door in late August or early September, I can't remember exactly when, but I remember I was changing my clothes," Wilds said, recalling the time Koenig showed up at his door, an encounter that was detailed in the episode "The Deal With Jay." "As soon as I opened that door I knew that it was her, the woman who was harassing my friends in Baltimore."
Wilds contends that Koenig never mentioned that her investigation into the case that sent Wilds' friend Adnan Sayed to prison, was to be used in a podcast called Serial. Instead, he recalls her mentioning This American Life, and telling him that new evidence had emerged in Adnan's case. "I said there's no new evidence that's gonna change what I saw: I saw Hae dead in the trunk of his car," he told Vargas-Cooper. "If Adnan wants to take the stand now and explain that away, let him. But there's no evidence that's gonna change what I saw."
The Intercept also published an email sent from Koenig to Wilds, urging him to go on the record about the case. "On paper, in the trial transcript, you’re two-dimensional,” Koenig writes. “But in real life, of course you’re more than just a state’s witness. You’re a person who went through a traumatic thing. To hear you call yourself a ‘scoundrel with scruples’ — that made me want to understand who you were then, and who you are now.”
Part three, which will be posted tomorrow, will explore "The collateral damage of an extremely popular podcast."