Boston Marathon bomber wants new trial

Boston Marathon bomber wants new trial
© FBI

Lawyers representing convicted Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are asking for a new trial set in a new location.

Residents of Boston who found him guilty and recommended a death sentence for Tsarnaev could not be impartial, his lawyers claimed in a filing late on Monday, because of the “intense and all-encompassing” media focus on the bombing in and around Boston during the time of the trial.

“[B]oth the unprecedented levels of publicity and the extraordinary salience of the marathon bombings and their aftermath in the life of Boston and the surrounding communities ... continued unabated during the actual trial and sentencing,” his lawyers wrote.

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Among other evidence, they noted that Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced the new annual “One Boston Day” to unify the city in the wake of the 2013 attack as the jury was hearing evidence in the case.

The court process also coincided with the 2015 annual marathon, which media “tied ... to the events of 2013” by highlighting survivors of the attack, his lawyers wrote. Banners for the race were also hung around the streets of Boston, making the image nearly impossible to ignore, they alleged.

Jurors themselves were also subjected to “saturation” of their social media feeds, Tsarnaev's lawyers said, which would be unlikely in a location outside of the Greater Boston area.

“Put simply, prejudicial media coverage, events and environment saturated greater Boston, including the social networks of actual trial jurors, and made it an improper venue for the trail of this case,” Tsarnaev’s attorneys wrote.

The filing asked both for the guilty verdict to be overturned and for a new trial to be set to evaluate Tsarnaev’s role in the 2013 attack, which killed three people and wounded more than 260.

He planted homemade bombs at the race finish line along with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police shortly after the bombing.

Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 federal charges in the case earlier this year. Following a recommendation from the jury, he was sentenced to death.

In June, Tsarnaev apologized to the families of the victims of the bombing in his first public remarks about the attack.

“I am sorry for the lives that I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage — the irreparable damage,” he said.