Boston (AFP) — Prosecutors pushed back against a request by accused Boston Marathon bomber Djokhar Tsarnaev to change the venue of his trial, rejecting his attorneys’ assertions that he cannot get a fair trial here.
In a 25-page court filing, prosecutors late Monday dismissed a defense petition seeking to relocate the trial from Boston to Washington.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in her filing that she is certain it will be possible to seat a jury panel untainted by more than a year of wall-to-wall coverage of the case in local media.
Jurors will be able to “set aside their beliefs and apply the presumption of innocence,” Ortiz wrote.
“The fact that many in Massachusetts have attended the Boston Marathon (or know someone who has) does not cast doubt on their impartiality or willingness to be truthful” during the jury selection process, she said.
Tsarnaev, 21, is accused of being one of the masterminds of twin bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.
The attack killed three people and injured 264.
Authorities said the ethnic Chechen carried out the bombing with his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed last year during a police manhunt while the pair were on the run.
A federal judge will issue a ruling on the change of venue petition ahead of the trial, which currently is scheduled to take place November 3, although legal experts said it is likely that attorneys will seek to push back the start date.
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