A friend of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has requested that his trial be moved to a new venue. He is on trial for charges of interfering with the investigation. The defendant claims that all of the pretrial publicity makes it impossible for him to have a fair trial in Massachusetts.
Dias Kadyrbayev, an exchange student from Kazakhstan filed papers requesting the change of venue in the U.S. District Court in Boston. Two other defendants Azamat Tazhayakov also from Kazakhstan, and Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts filed the same motions for changes of venue.
According to the prosecutors for the case, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Chechen brothers are accused of setting off two bombs on April 15, 2013 killing three people and injuring 264 others in addition to the fatal shooting of the university police officer, Sean Collier three days later.
In a gun battle with police, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested after a manhunt and is awaiting trial on charges that if convicted carry the possibility of the death penalty.
The criminal charges filed against Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and Phillipos stem from the fact that they went into Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room three days after the bombing and removed a backpack that held a laptop and empty fireworks shells.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are facing charges of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. If convicted, they would both face up to 25 years in prison. Phillipos faces a charge of lying to investigators which if convicted he would face up to 16 years in prison.
Tazhayakov’s attorney stated in a court filing on Friday, April 18 that all of the news coverage that linked his client to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had “indelibly tainted” any jury pool in the state of Massachusetts. The lawyer wrote, “With the defendants’ trial date less than two months away and within 14 months of the horrific incident, the Boston community will not have had adequate time for such passions to cool.”
District Judge Douglas Woodlock scheduled a trial date for the three men in June. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial isn’t scheduled to begin until December.
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