BOSTON (Reuters) - Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sentenced to death for killing three people and injuring 264 in the 2013 attack, are arguing he deserves a new trial in a different place due to the intense publicity that surrounded the proceedings.
In court papers filed late on Monday, lawyers for the 22-year-old bomber said blanket media coverage of the blast and its aftermath unfairly influenced the 12 jurors who found Tsarnaev guilty of carrying out the April 15, 2013, attack and then voted to have him executed.
“A new trial in a different venue is required due to continuous and unrelenting publicity combined with pervasive connections between jurors and the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing that precluded impartial adjudication in both
appearance and fact,” they wrote in a 39-page filing submitted to the U.S. District Court in Boston.
The arguments, accompanying a July motion requesting a new trial, echoed the lawyers’ arguments before the trial that media coverage had been too intense to allow for the seating of an impartial jury. Federal judges repeatedly rejected those arguments.
Tsarnaev was the younger of a pair of brothers who planted two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race’s crowded finish line and three days later shot dead a university police officer as they prepared to flee Boston. The older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, died following a gunfight with police in the early morning of April 19, 2013.
The surviving brother’s lawyers never denied his guilt during the trial and focused their efforts on sparing him a death sentence. In June, when a judge formally handed down that sentence, Tsarnaev apologized to the court for his actions.
“I am sorry for the lives I have taken,” he said, speaking in an accent that reflected his Russian roots. “In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother.”
Throughout the proceedings, many documents associated with the case were filed under seal and some 13 pages of Monday’s 39-page filing, apparently describing social media posts that jurors could have been exposed to, were blacked out.
Tsarnaev is currently being held at the U.S. penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, home to the “Supermax” unit that houses high-risk prisoners, including Oklahoma City bomber accomplice Terry Nichols, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Lambert