Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can get a fair jury in the city he’s accused of attacking, just as convicted ex-Enron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling got one in Houston after the collapse of the world’s biggest energy trader, a judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. in Boston yesterday denied a request by Tsarnaev, 21, who faces a possible death sentence if he’s convicted, to move his coming trial to Washington or New York to find impartial jurors.
Skilling, 60, failed to get his 2006 trial moved away from Enron’s former headquarters city in a decision that was backed, years later, by the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s serving a 14-year prison sentence for leading the fraud that destroyed the company and wiped out 5,000 jobs.
“There is much about this case that is similar to Skilling,” O’Toole wrote, citing intense media coverage of the underlying events and the large populations of the Boston and Houston metropolitan areas. “It stretches the imagination to suggest that an impartial jury cannot be successfully selected from this large pool of potential jurors.”
This judge makes less sense every time he tries to make some half assed justification. Is he honestly comparing Jahar and his case with that of ENRON’s CEO. Ludicrous! Yes it was corporate corruption and many lost their job’s but to compare that to someone who is accused of religion inspired terrorism not to mention the other charges heaped on top is such a bad joke. To use that guys case as a way to justify not moving Jahar’s trial just adds insult to all the other BS he’s said to date. Given this idiotic comparison what would he have to say about the granting of the change of venue for McVeigh?!?!
Is it possible that, in the rush to paint Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as cold-blooded killers, the FBI is ignoring evidence that someone else could have killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier?
It is said that the first casualty in war is the truth, and the “war on terror” isn’t exempt.
There are plenty of examples of U.S. government agencies exploiting “the fog of war” to gain a propaganda edge or rally public opinion against whoever happens to be in the crosshairs. Whether it’s immediately pinning the downing of Malaysia air MH17 on Russia, or whether it’s implicating Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in a chemical weapons attack, the ploy works the same way every time: immediately, loudly and repeatedly blame the enemy and ignore all contradictory evidence.
That’s the kind of environment the government has been trying to create through a campaign of leaks, since before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest and indictment on 30 charges including Collier’s murder. Judge George O’Toole Jr. this week rejected a defense motion to move the trial out of Boston on the grounds that too many potential jurors had made up their minds. He also delayed the trial’s start until Jan. 5.
With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to review some lingering questions surrounding the death of Sean Collier. It’s safe to assume that federal investigators aren’t pushing too hard to uncover an alternative scenario to that unfortunate event, especially now that their evidence will soon be on display at trial.
Why is the death of Officer Collier so important? Partly because, as Boston’s police commissioner Edward Davis said, “It was his death that ultimately led to the apprehension. The report of the shot officer led to all those resources being poured in.”
But there is a more important reason: Collier’s murder was linked to the emotionally charged Boston Marathon bombing—based on the assertions of anonymous carjacking victim “Danny.” He claimed the elder Tsarnaev told him they were responsible for both the bombing and the officer’s murder. (For lingering questions about the veracity of “Danny’s” testimony, click here and here.)
Again, it bears repeating that the Tsarnaev brothers very likely were somehow involved in the violence that erupted in and around Boston that week. But did they kill Sean Collier?
We do know that they did not rob a 7-Eleven store. What makes this significant is the fact that the police claimed they did—even after they had conclusive evidence, on film, that someone else had done it. So why should we necessarily believe what they say about who shot Collier?
A False Accusation Backfires
On the night of April 18, 2013, three days after the bombing, a 7-Eleven store was robbed at around 10:30 p.m. Within minutes, an officer responded and, according to the police report below, got a description of the suspect from the clerk, and viewed the surveillance video himself. He can then be heard broadcasting that very description over the police scanner, which was repeated multiple times over the next half-hour or so:
Once again, that’s a Hispanic male, black coat, a black cowboy hat and jeans.
7-Eleven Robbery Report
Minutes later, reports surfaced of an MIT police officer being shot not far from the 7-Eleven. First responders to that scene thought that whoever held up the 7-Eleven at gunpoint also shot Collier. There was a message sent out soon after the shooting to be on the lookout for:
Hispanic male, possibly wearing a cowboy hat, he was last seen on Vassar Street in Cambridge, six rounds were fired and he is currently armed.
Seen on Vassar Street? That’s where Sean Collier was shot. (It does not seem likely he was shot with the same gun seen in the robber’s hand on the surveillance tape: that gun was “small and silver.”)
Around midnight, Cambridge police received a report of a carjacking that ultimately led to the shootout in neighboring Watertown, Tamerlan’s death, and Dzhokhar’s escape.
After the dust settled in Watertown in the early morning hours of April 19, Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben told reporters at a press conference that the Tsarnaev brothers perpetrated all of the violence that occurred in Cambridge and Watertown that night, including the robbery of the 7-Eleven.
During that same press conference he made reference to the photo of Dzhokhar wearing a hoodie, widely circulated by law enforcement, claiming it had been taken by a security camera at the 7-Eleven. Numerous news outlets reported the series of events as exactly that: The brothers committed a robbery at 7-Eleven, shot Officer Collier, hijacked an SUV, and then engaged police in a shootout in Watertown.
But there was one glaring problem with Alben’s account, and 7-Eleven’s director of corporate communications picked up on it. She pointed out to reporters later that day what law enforcement already knew: the security video clearly shows the 7-Eleven suspect’s face—and it looks nothing like either Tsarnaev. In addition, she said the photo of Dzhokhar was not even taken at a 7-Eleven store.
Okay, so they didn’t rob the 7-Eleven. We were told it was just a coincidence; the brothers just happened to be at the convenience store around the time of the robbery, again, according to Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Timothy Alben.
How Did Police Get It So Wrong?
But how did Alben get it so wrong, even though the Cambridge police were in possession of an eyewitness description and a photograph of the real suspect in the robbery? And why did he continue to place Dzhokhar at that same store even though he had been informed that it was a different store?
Robert Haas, the Cambridge police commissioner, can be seen standing behind Alben as he misrepresented evidence from Cambridge during the press conference. Why didn’t he speak up?
And if the 7-Eleven executive had not come forward with the facts, would the police have continued to falsely accuse the Tsarnaevs of the robbery?
In any case, law enforcement insists the Tsarnaevs shot and killed Officer Collier—it was caught on camera. Only in this case, it wasn’t. The security video at MIT does not show the faces of the two assailants, according to three different law enforcement officials.
Then there were the early reports that Officer Collier was responding to a disturbance when he was shot. Later, we were told that that report was erroneous. Instead, he was simply sitting in his cruiser watching for people to make illegal turns.
Now, in what appears to be the final iteration, we’re being told that he was positioned where he was in order to keep an eye out for the 7-Eleven suspect, as revealed in a Harvard white paper titled “Why Was Boston Strong?”
Why the effort to hide this simple fact initially? Did it become clear to law enforcement that connecting Collier shooting in any way to the 7-Eleven robbery might raise some troubling questions?
And another thing: the carjacking took place in the Boston suburb of Allston across the river from Cambridge. But it was originally reported to have occurred at Third Street in Cambridge by the Middlesex County DA, the Cambridge police Commissioner, and the chief of MIT Police. That’s just a couple blocks away from where Collier was shot—and is smack dab in the center of those three law-enforcement officials’ precinct.
How could they possibly get that wrong?
A Clairvoyant FBI?
In a strange twist, Sen. Chuck Grassley revealed that there were “multiple teams of FBI employees” conducting surveillance in and around Central Square around the time this all went down. The 7-Eleven in question happens to be right in the middle of Central Square. The Tsarnaev brothers just happened to pass through that same area, as we learned from Superintendent Alben.
Also, thanks to that Harvard white paper, Cambridge Police discovered “a group of law enforcement officials in a car with out-of-state plates were staking out a location thought to be connected to the assailants [emphasis added].”
Wait, what? Connected to the assailants? How did the FBI know what was connected to the assailants?
Even stranger, the local Boston Fox affiliate discovered that FBI was also conducting surveillance on MIT students then thought to be connected with the bombing.
Doesn’t it seem odd that both the robbery and the shooting took place in areas where FBI surveillance teams were operating—without the knowledge of local law enforcement? Talk about a coincidence.
The gun Tamerlan Tsarnaev left in the street after the shootout in Watertown was a P95 Ruger 9mm with an obliterated serial number. It was allegedly given to them by their friend Stephen Silva who was recently arrested for heroin dealing and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.
Officially, there is no evidence that that was the gun used to shoot Collier. However, off the record, law enforcement is telling the media—and therefore the public—that the weapon is one and the same. Either it is the gun, or it isn’t. Why be coy about it?
So, law-enforcement blamed the 7-Eleven robbery on the Tsarnaevs for as long as they could, despite eyewitness description and surveillance photos of a very different suspect. They also blame the shooting of Sean Collier on the Tsarnaev brothers, despite the fact that the security camera does not identify the suspects, and there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting that we know of.
The suspect in the armed robbery of the 7-Eleven is still at large, which begs the question: Is Officer Sean Collier’s murderer also still at large?
And with all this uncertainty, why is law enforcement working so hard to pin everything on these two brothers? Could it have something to do with the FBI’s very reluctant admission, forced by the Russians, that it knew who the Tsarnaevs were long ago because the Russians warned them about Tamerlan Tsarnaev—and that the Bureau even interacted with the now dead elder brother?
There is, it seems, much more to this important story that has essentially slipped from the headlines
With his latest orders, Judge George O’Toole has finished all speculations about location and begin of the Tsarnaev trial and confirmed the low-level expectations of his critics: there will be no change of venue – despite grave objections of law pundits like Neal Vidmar – and the two-month postponement of the trial is little more than a fig leaf to uphold the charade of a fair trial with ample time for the defense to prepare. For convenience, here is the timetable until January 5th, the day the trial commences:
October 2, 2014: Defense guilt-phase reciprocal discovery under Rule 16(b)(1)(A), (B) and (C), including responsive and affirmative expert discovery.
October 20, 2014: Status Conference.
November 3, 2014: Government guilt-phase responsive expert discovery.
November 24, 2014: Defense penalty-phase reciprocal discovery under Rule 16(b)(1)(A), (B), and (C), including responsive and affirmative expert discovery.
December 15, 2014: Defense list of mitigating factors.
December 18, 2014: Final Pretrial Conference.
December 22, 2014: Government penalty-phase responsive expert discovery.
January 5, 2015: Trial commences.
The mentioned rule for the defense’s discovery refers to documents and objects (A), examinations and tests (B), and expert witnesses (C). It does not refer to actual or prospective (non-expert) witnesses for the government or the defense. This is an important aspect given the many potential eyewitnesses for the second bomb site (there was talk about 16 or 17 defense witnesses). As we have learned from FDL special judicial adviser oldgold the defense has to submit a list of these winesses five days prior to the last status conference, which would be on December 13th.
The prosecution has managed to force the defense to name their expert witnesses before they are even able to know the crucial evidence that makes up the prosecution’s case. David Frank has hinted at the big probability of an appeal if the defense doesn’t get enough time to prepare. I doubt that he has changed his assessment in consideration of the two additional months.
I recall that jane24 once reported an indignant outcry of Judy Clarke after she had learned that the prosecution didn’t intend to present at least one expert on explosives. This is most surprising, because the question which explosives were used for the bombs and whether they are identical to the “bomb” built by Dzhokhar is of top significance. Again, the metaphor of a poker match is obvious. The defense would like to take a prosecution expert’s testimony on explosives as a working platform to react and look for their own experts. As matters stand, they won’t get this platform, but will have to present expert testimony without knowing the prosecution’s case. This way, the government can present its responsive experts after the defense, giving them an unfair edge.
It is evident by now that there will no plea deal. And it is foreseeable that it will be a most unusual trial (it already is a most unusual pretrial phase) which will be unique in the US judicial history.
A few threads back we were discussing the Tsarnaev defense’s Motion for Continuance. In Exhibit G attached to this motion, explosives expert Frederic Whitehurst stated that the thousands of photos and video he had been given “did not appear to depict all of the evidence from the crime scene.” (Certainly an interesting and suggestive statement.)
Jane commented that Dr. Whitehurst is an FBI whistleblower, a fact I believe deserves a bit more attention.
According to Wikipedia, Frederic Whitehurst has a PhD in chemistry in addition to a JD. He joined the FBI in 1982 and worked as a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI Lab from 1986 to 1998. During his employment, the Bureau touted him as the world’s top explosives expert.
FW eventually went public as a whistleblower, citing both procedural errors and misconduct. He was suspended in 1997. In 1998 he officially resigned from the bureau and received a settlement of more than $1.16 million. In exchange, he dropped a lawsuit which alleged that the FBI had retaliated against him for his actions. The bureau issued the following statement: ‘’Dr. Whitehurst played a role in identifying specific areas to be examined, and some of the issues he noted resulted in both internal and external reviews.’’
Dr. Whitehurst is currently Executive Director of the Forensic Justice Project, part of the National Whistleblower Center. This project specializes in making sure that innocent people are not convicted due to the misuse of forensic science.
FW and the Feds. According to this article, FW originally was troubled with what he saw as widespread contamination of evidence in the FBI lab. He ultimately accused several colleagues of manipulating evidence to favor prosecutors. In a 2009 documentary titled Lockerbie Revisited, FW described the FBI lab itself as a “crime scene,” where at least one unqualified colleague would routinely alter scientific reports.
“Incited by Whitehurst’s numerous allegations, the Department of Justice and Office of the Inspector General carried out an investigation into the practices and alleged misconduct of the FBI lab culminating in a report released in April 1997.” This investigation looked into a number of high profile cases including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.
“The DOJ agreed with some [of FW’s allegations], dismissed others, and provided their suggestions into the future course of the FBI lab.”
Among these suggestions was the following: “Records of all case files must be thorough in their recount of the examiner’s data and analysis and must be easily retrieved upon request.” Has this particular resolution been adhered to?
Consider FW’s complaints in Exhibit G: “Much like the reports themselves, the manuals and protocols are labeled in such a way that I have had to take an inordinate amount of time to go through each file simply to determine what is in it … So far I have not seen any validation documentation for any of the protocols I have reviewed. Attempting to find these documents among the documents I have received is extremely time consuming due to the complexity of the file labeling as well as the sheer number of documents that must be read … Another of my tasks is to determine whether the defense should hire experts in specific fields. However, I am unable to give an accurate recommendation unless and until I have been able to review the analysts’ reports … Without knowing what may be provided in the future, I cannot say with any confidence when my work will be done.”
Tip of the Iceberg? The bureau’s carrying out of its good resolutions is further brought into doubt by a July 2014 Washington Post article about the FBI lab’s hair and fiber unit.
“Nearly every criminal case the FBI and DOJ has reviewed during a major investigation that began in 2012 … has involved flawed forensic testimony. The review … was cut short last August when its findings ‘troubled the bureau.’ … The probe resumed once the DOJ inspector general lambasted the FBI for the delay in this investigation … Reviews were completed and notifications offered for defendants in 23 cases, including 14 death-row cases, that FBI examiners ‘exceeded the limits of science’ when linking hair to crime-scene evidence.”
The article goes on to quote NYU forensic expert Erin Murphy: “I see this as a tip-of-the-iceberg problem. It’s not as though this is one bad apple or even that this is one bad-apple discipline. There is a long list of disciplines that have exhibited problems, where if you opened up cases you’d see the same kinds ofoverstated claims and unfounded statements.”
We’ll Be Good Now. We Promise. Reading about the Bureau’s good resolutions to clean up their act bring to mind their COINTELPRO program, which ran between 1956 and 1971, and then officially ended. This program targeted various subversives, anti-war protestors and civil rights activists. In the name of national security, bureau operatives employed forgery, false info planted in the media, harassment, wrongful imprisonment and illegal violence.
After the whistle was blown on this program in 1971, the Bureau promised to stop doing that stuff. But, quite obviously, they are still doing it. I am sure they feel that these dirty tricks are more necessary than ever, because of all the dangerous Muslims in the Homeland.
The Tsarnaev defense has a distinguished researcher participating in the guilt-phase portion of the case. Dare we hope he will again challenge the supposedly “inviolable” word of the FBI?
**2 months? That’s a joke and the reasoning for keeping it in Boston is crap. The same excuse could be used in every trial that is moved including the Oklahoma City bombing which killed well over 100 people thus making those affected a much greater number of people and that trial was in Denver and the lawyers got more time to prep than this. Is the judge trying to give the defense more grounds for appeals or what?**
BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) — A judge has granted a two-month trial delay for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but denied a defense request to move his trial.
Judge George O’Toole ruled Wednesday night that the trial will begin Jan. 5 instead of Nov.3.
The U.S. attorney announced Wednesday that a judge has decided to move the Judge moves Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial to Jan. 5 next year. There was talk of the trial being moved, but it will in fact take place in Boston.
This comes after lawyers for Tsarnaev asked to delay his trial until at least September 2015. They also tried twice to move his trial out of Boston, arguing that he cannot get a fair trial there because of the emotional impact of the deadly attack.
Prosecutors say 21-year-old Tsarnaev and his now-deceased older brother placed two pressure cooker bombs that exploded near the marathon’s finish line last year. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured.
Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted.
Anonymous asked:I've heard that Dzhokhar is still allowed to receive books. Has anyone sent books and not received them back? Does anyone know how Dzhokhar is doing mentally and physically?
I don’t know if anyone would know if he got the books 1 way or the other unfortunately. On the BOP page re the rules about inmates getting books it says that if a book is sent and the prisoner has already received his allotted amount for the month/quarter, the book(s) would just be distributed amongst the rest of the units inmates. Based on the statement that Ortiz tried to turn into a huge deal a few months ago I think its evident that Jahar has maintained some sense of humor which I’m sure doesn’t sit well with many as they see it as disrespectful but for him it’s likely a way he copes along with his faith which has strengthened greatly since his arrest.
Many months ago the screws/pins that were in his hand/arm were removed. If he were out in the real word he’d need and get rehab to regain movement, mobility and strength but I don’t see him getting much of that at Devens, medical prison or not. His eye isn’t supposed to be drooping as much as it was earlier on and from what I understand he was having ringing in his damaged ear so while no longer stone deaf in it, who knows how much hearing he will regain. I know supporters have continued to put money in his commissary account so he has access to additional food (mostly junk food really) if he isn’t being fed enough.
A college friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is again seeking a change of venue for his trial on charges of making false statements to investigators probing the bombings.
Robel Phillipos is seeking to have his trial moved from Boston to either Springfield; Portland, Maine; or Providence.
Phillipos’s attorneys argue in a filing today in US District Court in Boston that pretrial publicity has made it impossible for Phillipos to receive a fair trial before an impartial jury.
“Mr. Phillipos deserves an unfettered and unbiased jury. Without a change of venue, the defendant cannot receive such a jury under the unique circumstances of this case,” the filing said.
It is Phillipos’s second motion for a change of venue.
Phillipos is one of three friends of Tsarnaev’s from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth who faced charges in connection with the removal of bombing case evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room. Azamat Tazhayakov was convicted in July. Dias Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty in August.
Phillipos is charged with lying to investigators about being with Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev on the night, three days after the bombings, that they entered the dorm room.
Tsarnaev is facing a November trial on charges that could bring him the death penalty in the April 15, 2013, bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. He and his late older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, also allegedly murdered an MIT police officer several days after the bombing. Shortly afterward, the older brother was killed in a confrontation with police. The younger brother escaped, but after a massive manhunt, was captured.
BOSTON (AP) - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn’t appeared in court for more than a year.
Marc Fucarile, who lost his right leg in the bombings that…
Those on the tag: do you think Jahar is a “coward”? Or just anxious about being seen out in the world again?
Neither, is my guess. Defendants don’t attend their status conferences. It is not customary. Why would he want to deviate from the norm and insist on adding additional unnecessary hassle, security and press to what should be a relatively quick proceeding that there is no need for him to attend?
yes I feel bad for him but this need to see Jahar seems unnecessary. If he comes in cocky and in good health then they will talk about what a monster he is and deserves to die. If he comes in meek and looking bad then he brought it on himself and deserves his suffering.
And if this guy wants to see Jahar so bad, he could have gone to the arraignment like a lot of other people did. I mean what’s the difference between seeing Jahar at this hearing next month vs waiting until trial?
The 7th. Status Conference in the case of USA v Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took place today, (09/18/14), at 10.00 am at Moakley Courthouse in Boston with Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. presiding. The prosecution were represented by William Weinreb, Aloke Chakravarty, Nadine Pellegrini and the newest edition to the prosecution team in this case, Donald Cabell. David Bruck and Timothy Watkins were in court for the defense. The defendant, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev waived his right to attend.
Judge O’Toole’s first action was to address, (some), of the motions pending. Motions denied were Doc. 461, ( Change of Venue and Submission of Supplemental …), Doc. 531, (Motion to Supplement the Record on Motion for Change of Venue or Alternatively for an Evidentiary Hearing), and Doc. 548, (Motion for Leave to Reply to Government’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Continue Trial.) Motions granted were Doc. 550, (Government’s Surreply to Defendant’s Motion to Continue Trial), and Doc. 558, (Motion to File Reply).
The second item to be discussed at today’s hearing was reciprocal discovery. William Weinreb was the first to speak on this, complaining that the prosecution had received “nothing” from the defense. David Bruck’s response was that the defense were under no obligation to provide such at this time and that the development of the defense’s case had not reached the point where they would even be able to do so.
William Weinreb insisted that the defense had already had plenty of time to work on their case and suggested that perhaps they had “not used that time wisely”, going on to say that rules governing discovery should be “interpreted reasonably” and that the government needs reciprocal discovery from the defense in order to form their strategy, prepare rebuttal and decide which witnesses to call at trial. (I understand that witnesses have to be listed 3 days prior to trial under normal circumstances.)
David Bruck stated that his client’s “entire life had been seized by the government.” He cited “truckloads” of evidence including the entire contents of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room and immigration files on not only the defendant, but also his friends and entire family and stated that the only evidence in the form of documents in the possession of the defense team had actually been provided by the government in the first place. David Bruck claimed that the defense have “very little” as regards physical items and suggested that if the prosecution knew how very little the defense has they would probably not have filed the Motion to Compel!
William Weireb then requested that Judge O’Toole use his authority to order production of discovery. David Bruck reiterated that it would not be possible for the defense to comply at this time and said that the defense were “hard at work half way around the world.” He mentioned that if the prosecution insisted ,the defense could “get some stuff together, unrelated, hand it over and let the government scratch their heads.” (But went on to point out that this would be a waste of everyone’s time.)
Judge O’Toole questioned whether or not the defense was in the process of preparing for both phases of trial. (Guilt and penalty.) David Bruck confirmed that indeed they are.
Expert Witnesses For The Defense:
William Weinreb then went on to reference the defense’s disclosure of expert witnesses for potential mitigation and that they have, thus far, only given notice of their intention to present the testimony of a social worker. His complaint was that no summary of this person’s intended testimony had been provided to the prosecution. David Bruck responded by simply stating that this was because the social worker’s input was still in progress and, to date, incomplete.
William Weinreb said that this information was needed immediately as it could be a useful inclusion in the questionnaire given to potential jurors. Bruck declared this prospect an infringement of his client’s rights under the Fifth Amendment and advised that such a thing had “never been done before” and that there “was a reason for this.” Weinreb denied that an infringement of Constitutional rights would occur.
Delay in Providing Evidence/Volume of Evidence:
David Bruck spoke at length today on the prosecution’s delay in providing evidence to the defense. He observed that the deadline for this “keeps being put back” and that it is the understanding of the defense that this is still not complete. He referenced again the sheer volume, (177 FBI technicians are said to have worked on this case), of documentation, physical evidence and digital evidence, (7.5 terabytes ), and again complained about the manner and form of its presentation, explaining that this had made the evidence difficult for the defense to “grasp or use.” (An incomplete and unsigned report received earlier this month from the FBI was cited as but one example. )
Analysis of the hard drive from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s computer was given as an example of the digital evidence provided. David Bruck said that he understood that the government’s case was that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was “self radicalized” and that the defense disputed this and also that they may very well challenge forensic evidence allegedly linking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the crime.
Change of Venue:
Judge O’Toole indicated that he is not prepared to hear further arguments concerning this and that he will rule “on the papers.”
At today’s hearing David Bruck maintained, (as has the defense from day one), that it is not possible for them to be prepared to go to trial by 3rd. November, 2013. He again mentioned that comparable cases had taken 3 to 4 years to go to trial rather than the few months proposed in this case and described this case as atypical as regards the amount of evidence as well as the need to prepare for two phases of trial. It was at this point he said, “this case would have been over a long time ago if the government had not asked for the death penalty.” This remark has been much quoted and appears to have been mistakenly, (imo), perceived by some as an admission of guilt. (??!) When taken in context I believe it to be an illustration of the amount of work involved in defense preparation for a capital case.
What has been quoted far less, (at least to my knowledge), is David Bruck’s reference to President Obama’s statements almost immediately after the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The President said,”We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this and why.”David Bruck emphasized the obvious importance of gaining the knowledge necessary to enable the ability to answer these questions and stressed that justice would not be served unless this is done.
Weinreb’s response was that deadlines are made to be kept and that “if the defense were given 3 years to prepare their case they would take 3 years.”
Judge O’Toole declined to rule on the issues discussed today saying he would take all “under consideration” and that he would then “rule on the papers.” He expressed his intention to send out jury summons imminently.
The final pretrial conference in this case remains scheduled for Monday, 20th. October.
William Weinreb said that he believes the defendant should be present at jury selection, particularly as he has not appeared in court since his arraignment nearly 14 months ago. Bruck replied that he was confident that his client would not insist on being present. Weinreb responded that if the defendant were not present then “issues” could arise in the event of a conviction in this case and that if the defendant did indeed waive his right to be present that this should be “on the record.” David Bruck said that he would “discuss the matter” with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The hearing concluded at a few minutes after 11.00 am. Notably no mention was made today of the prosecutions recent allegations regarding the conduct of some members of the defense team whilst they were in Russia.