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New Bedford

Lawyer seeks dismissal of manslaughter charge in suicide

The lawyer for a Massachusetts teenager charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly encouraging a friend to kill himself has asked a judge to dismiss the charge.

Joseph Cataldo, the attorney for 18-year-old Michelle Carter of Plainville, told a judge Monday that prosecutors are punishing his client for her speech.

The Standard-Times reported that Cataldo said Carter at first tried to discourage 18-year-old Conrad Roy III from killing himself via text messages, before encouraging him because she was ‘‘brainwashed.’’

Roy, of Mattapoisett, died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Fairhaven in July 2014.

Prosecutors countered that speech can be the basis for criminal charges and said Carter tried to cover her tracks, even asking Roy to delete her messages.

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The judge took the motion under advisement and did not immediately rule.