Boston Marathon bombing suspect says expert analysis shows he can't get fair trial in city

The Associated Press
August 7, 2014 04:35 PM

BOSTON - Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have made a second effort to move his trial out of Boston, arguing that he cannot get a fair trial there because of the emotional impact of the deadly 2013 attack.

In a court filing Thursday responding to prosecutors' opposition to moving the trial, Tsarnaev's lawyers said a defence expert who analyzed poll results and media coverage found Massachusetts residents have "an overwhelming presumption of guilt" in reaction to Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev's lawyers are asking that his federal trial be moved to Washington, D.C., where they say poll results show people are less likely to assume he is guilty. If that isn't granted, they ask the court to hold a pretrial hearing on their request.

Tsarnaev, 21, is awaiting a November trial in the deadly attack. Prosecutors say he and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, placed two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police several days after the bombings.

In their original change of venue motion, filed in June, Tsarnaev's lawyers said a survey of potential jurors in Boston; Springfield, Massachusetts; New York City and Washington suggested that the nation's capital would be a more suitable location for the trial.

Their new filing adds more supporting details.

The filing counters prosecutors' argument that the court should first attempt to pick a jury in Boston. The defence says it could be difficult to determine bias by questioning potential jurors, who might be affected by community pressure regardless of their own feelings.


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