Tsarnaev lawyers again seek postponement of trial
BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a judge Monday to delay his trial because they need more time to prepare.
Tsarnaev, who could face the death penalty if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges connected to the two April 15, 2013, explosions at the marathon’s finish line, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 5. The defense wants the trial postponed until September.
“Only adequate preparation makes a fair trial possible,” defense lawyers wrote in the filing responding to the prosecution’s opposition to a trial delay. “But we face a situation where Mr. Tsarnaev is being afforded substantially less time to prepare than the vast majority of defendants in federal capital cases.”
The sheer volume of evidence requires a delay, the defense said, noting that just this month it received more than 19,000 pages of documents as well as spreadsheets and audio files.
The lawyers said the prosecution has not handed over everything they have requested, including information that they believe may show that Tsarnaev was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police days after the bombing.
The defense also wants more time to review information regarding Stephen Silva, who recently pleaded guilty to having once possessed the gun prosecutors said the bombing suspects used to kill an Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer.
Prosecutors previously said they have handed over everything they are required to.
The defense took issue with that. “The government’s arguments are largely comprised of generalizations that cannot withstand scrutiny and other statements that are simply wrong,” they wrote in the motion filed Monday.
The U.S. Attorney’s office had no comment on the further motion for delay, a spokeswoman said.
Also Monday, Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed a short document with the court in support of their bid to move the trial out of Massachusetts because of the intense media coverage surrounding the case. The filing noted an Associated Press story last Thursday that named the marathon bombing aftermath as the top Massachusetts news story of 2014.
“The report corroborates the defense analysis showing that intense pretrial publicity has continued unabated,” the defense said.
U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. denied an earlier request to postpone the trial to the fall, but he did agree to a roughly two-month delay from the original start date of November 2014.
It was not clear when O’Toole would rule on the motions to delay or move the trial.
The judge on Monday did grant a two-day extension until Wednesday for both sides in the case to file their trial briefs.