For the fourth time, lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal judge Monday to stop jury selection and move the Boston Marathon bombing trial somewhere else.
Their latest request comes two days before the scheduled presentation of opening statements to the jury and two days after a federal appeals court rejected the third defense request to move the trial. Defense lawyers argue that the jury pool is tainted by the strong emotions in the aftermath of the bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others in 2013.
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The latest motion, which reads like an exercise intended solely to preserve an issue for appeal, focuses on the makeup of the 75 potential jurors who have been provisionally qualified. After the lawyers exercise their allowed challenges, that number will be reduced to 18: A dozen jurors and six alternates.
Tsarnaev's lawyers say that, based on the answers the 75 potential jurors gave on written questionnaires:
- 42 had some connection to the events, people or places at issue in the case.
- 23 said they had formed the opinion that Tsarnaev "is" guilty.
- 48 believe that Tsarnaev is guilty, have a self-identified connection to the events and people in the case or both.
Accordingly, the defense asked the judge to "cease jury selection in Boston, order a change of venue, and move his trial outside the District of Massachusetts."