DENIED! Judge won’t delay Boston bombing suspect’s trial after terror attacks in France
(CNN) — A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request to push back the trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who’d requested a delay after last week’s terrorist attacks in France.
In his order, U.S. District Judge George O’Toole wrote that his “detailed review of juror questionnaires … has so far confirmed, rather than undermined, my judgment that a fair and impartial jury can and will be chosen to determine the issues in this case.”
Tsarnaev is accused of plotting with his brother and carrying out an attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people, wounded more than 260 and spurred a massive manhunt that terrorized the city for days in 2013.
Jury selection, which began last week, will resume Thursday.
Tsarnaev’s attorneys asked Tuesday for the court to push back this process for at least one month, citing the Charlie Hebdo massacre and two other attacks in France last week that left 17 people dead, not including the three slain men purportedly behind the violence.
“This measure would allow some time for the extraordinary prejudice flowing from these events — and the comparison of those events to those at issue in this case — to diminish,” the lawyers wrote, noting how media outlets such as CNN, USA Today and the Boston Herald tied these attacks to the Boston Marathon bombings.
The attorneys talked about the “supposed parallels” between what happened in France and years ago around Boston, including “the fact that the suspects were brothers, that they reportedly were influenced by the lectures and writings of Anwar al-Awlaki, that they were ‘home-grown’ terrorists, and that they attacked civilians in a Western city.”
“It will take time for Boston-area residents … to come to a reasoned evaluation of what, if anything, the events in Paris signify about the surviving alleged perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing,” Tsarnaev’s defense team argued. “That process of reflection should come before — not after — the court has had its only opportunity to question potential jurors about possible bias and prejudgment of the defendant in this case.”
The Boston case has drawn a great deal of international attention, though that spotlight is particularly intense in Massachusetts.
The Boston Marathon is a venerated institution there, one that was shaken badly after two bombs went off within 12 seconds of each other on April 15, 2013, near the race’s finish line. A dramatic manhunt ensued that culminated four days later with the death of suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and the capture hours later of his brother Dzhokhar, who’s now 21.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was later charged with 30 federal counts, including using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death. He pleaded not guilty in July 2013.