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Boston Marathon Shoveler Cited in Bid to Move Tsarnaev Trial

The popularity of a photo taken of a bartender who cleared the finish line of the Boston Marathon of snow was used to argue for a change of venue.

Defense attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made another plea Friday in their attempt to get a change of venue for their client's case — this time citing a photo of a man clearing snow from the Boston Marathon finish line that went viral.

The lawyers claim that potential juror bias and prejudice, as well as media coverage, make it impossible for Tsarnaev to get a fair trial. Tsarnaev is accused of carrying out the bombing attacks at the 2013 Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264 others.

In a document filed Friday in US District Court in Boston, Tsarnaev's attorneys say coverage of the local bartender who cleared the finish line during the blizzard "aptly symbolizes the unprecedented level of public feeling that still surrounds the Boston Marathon bombing, and that underlies the difficulties that have beset the jury selection process so far."

The attorneys also said that questioning of potential jurors in the case "has revealed still more evidence of the bias — explicit and implicit, conscious and unconscious — flowing from jurors' powerful emotional connections to the people, places, and events of the Boston Marathon bombing."

"Compelling stories of bombing victims continue to receive play and resonate in the Boston media market," the attorneys argue. "Such stories, and the widespread reaction to them, underscore the impossible task of unmasking juror bias in the very community where 'everyone owns the Marathon.’”

The motion asks the court to cease the questioning of jurors immediately and order a change of venue. The judge has refused previous requests for a change of venue.


— Michael Kosnar