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Tsarnaev defense seeking D.C. trial

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Federal prosecutors and lawyers for alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sparred over motions Thursday as they prepared for a November trial.

Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. said at the hourlong status hearing that he will give lawyers more time to submit arguments on whether the trial should be relocated to Washington, D.C.

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The defense team has argued that blanket news coverage of the bombings has spoiled any chance of finding an impartial jury in Greater Boston. Prosecutors oppose the request and plan to file more legal arguments.

The defense team also argued that it needs more information from prosecutors about the expert witnesses they plan to call and more time to review that information. They called on prosecutors to better outline their evidence, and the defense plans to ask that the trial be delayed.

“This is information we’ve asked for on a long-term basis,” defense attorney Timothy Watkins said.

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O’Toole said he will consider the request.

The judge also said he will take under advisement prosecutors’ request for more information about expert witnesses the defense plans to call.

“Federal criminal trials should not be waged by surprise,” Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb said.

The judge said he will not hold a hearing on the defense team’s concern about government leaks of information, but he called on prosecutors to make sure that law enforcement officials follow procedure and refrain from releasing information to the news media.

Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty if convicted of setting off the April 15, 2013, bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three and injuring more than 260. He and his brother were also accused of fatally shooting an MIT officer.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a confrontation with police in Watertown.

Milton J. Valencia
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