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Boston Marathon bombing suspect asks to move trial

December 1, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Monday made a second bid to move his trial outside Massachusetts, arguing that “emotionally charged” media coverage and the widespread impact of the attacks have made it impossible for him to get a fair trial in the state.

U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. rejected Tsarnaev’s first request in September to move the trial, ruling that Tsarnaev’s lawyers had failed to show that extensive pretrial media coverage of the bombings had prejudiced the jury pool to the point that an impartial jury could not be chosen in Boston.

But Tsarnaev’s lawyers are making another push to move the trial. In a court filing Monday, they argued that continuing pretrial publicity and media leaks have led to the “inescapable conclusion” that “great local prejudice” will prevent a fair trial by an impartial jury. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.

The defense focused on the broad impact of the bombings on marathon runners, spectators, victims and their friends and families, doctors and nurses who treated the injured, and children who were traumatized by the attacks.

“The nature and scope of victimization here, coupled with the pretrial publicity compel a change of venue,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote in their change of venue motion.

The defense asked the judge to hold a hearing on their request and to determine where the trial should be held. Tsarnaev’s lawyers previously said the trial should be moved to Washington, D.C.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors said they will file a written response in court.

Jury selection in Tsarnaev’s trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 5. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

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