Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused Boston Marathon bomber, wants trial moved to D.C.
BOSTON (WJLA) - Defense attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal judge Wednesday to move his upcoming trial to Washington, D.C.
Tsarnaev's lawyers made the request in a change of venue motion (see entire document below) filed with the federal judge presiding over the potential death penalty case in Boston.
The defense team said survey data showed there was "an overwhelming presumption of (Tsarnaev's) guilt" in Massachusetts because "an extraordinarily high number of individuals in the potential jury pool either attended or participated in the 2013 Boston Marathon, or personally know someone who did."
The court filing suggested Washington, D.C. would be a suitable location to move the trial to because it is "reasonably close (to Boston), accessible to witnesses and interested persons, and able to logistically accommodate a trial of this magnitude."
The lawyers said their study of cities that met the above criteria found that Washingtonians were the least prejudiced on critical measures including awareness and knowledge of the case and pre-judgment of Tsarnaev's guilt.
Tsarnaev's defense team acknowledged that trials are seldom moved but noted that one exception was that of Oklahoma City federal building bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh. They said "the community impact here is even greater than that present in McVeigh."
U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole is expected to hear further arguments on the issue in the near future.
Prosecutors say Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, planted two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the 2013 marathon, killing three people and injuring about 260 others. Tamerlan died following a shootout with police several days later.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges. His trial is expected to begin in November.