Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s request to move his trial to New York or Washington should be rejected, U.S. prosecutors argued, saying he can get a fair one in Massachusetts.
Prosecutors said in a filing in federal court in Boston today that Tsarnaev’s argument that pretrial prejudice will prevent him from getting a fair verdict in Massachusetts should be rejected. Lawyers for Tsarnaev, seeking to save him from a possible death sentence, have claimed changing the trial’s location is needed to obtain a non-biased jury.
The eastern part of the state is a “large and diverse area with a population of over 5 million,” lawyers for U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz wrote in the filing. Tsarnaev’s lawyers haven’t met the burden of showing the region is tainted by negative “pretrial publicity,” according to the filing.
“He has submitted no examples of negative news articles and has offered only unreliable, unexplained poll results regarding alleged juror bias,” prosecutors wrote.
Judy Clarke, a lawyer for Tsarnaev, didn’t immediately respond to a call after regular business hours seeking comment on the filing.
Defense lawyers claimed last month that a survey about Tsarnaev, 20, conducted in four cities showed an “overwhelming presumption of guilt” on terrorism-related charges in Boston, where the April 2013 attack at the marathon finish line killed three people and injured 260. The trial is scheduled to start Nov. 3.
Tsarnaev, an immigrant of Chechen descent, received asylum in the U.S. when he was 8 and took the oath of citizenship seven months before the attack. He was inspired by al-Qaeda and motivated by the deaths of Muslim civilians in U.S. military attacks, prosecutors have said.
The defense cited the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh, a former member of the U.S. military who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, and whose trial was moved to Denver to ensure less bias among jurors. McVeigh was still found guilty and sentenced to death.
The case is U.S. v. Tsarnaev, 13-cr-10200, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).