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Adnan Syed gets a slap, tourism a round of applause

The saga of Adnan Syed, the protagonist of the famed “Serial” podcast, continued this week, and it wasn’t good. On Wednesday, Baltimore prosecutors urged Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals to deny Syed’s appeal of his murder conviction.

Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. He is now arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney did not heed his requests to negotiate a plea deal.

But in response, the state attorney general’s office said this week that there is no evidence Syed’s attorney failed him, and that Syed did not make it clear at the time that he wanted to pursue a plea deal.

Syed certainly got a slap in the face this week, but our pick for “best week” — Maryland’s tourism industry — got nothing but high-fives.

We learned on Tuesday that the multiyear Star-Spangled 200 celebration — which commemorated the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the National Anthem — generated $333 million in economic activity for the state.

Now, that figure includes direct spending at local businesses as well as indirect benefits, which can be hard to accurately measure.

Nevertheless, the economic impact report (compiled by Forward Analytics) made clear that the Star-Spangled Sailabration in 2012, the Star-Spangled Spectacular in 2014 and the numerous other events in between were successful at drawing positive attention to Baltimore and other Chesapeake Bay towns.

The commemoration was indeed a tourism bonanza that showcased Baltimore’s historical significance while also bringing new customers to restaurants and other attractions, the report said.

Baltimore officials were so pleased with the report, it seems, that they followed it up a few days later by announcing a new city slogan: “Baltimore: Birthplace of The Star-Spangled Banner.”

City officials said they hope the slogan will pique the interest of potential visitors, helping boost tourism.

I happen to think that’s a stretch, but they’re the experts, right?

About Alissa Gulin

Alissa Gulin covers health care, education and general business at The Daily Record.