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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Lawyers Ask Appeals Panel to Move Boston Trial

They want the case put on hold until a decision is made.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has his handcuffs removed after entering courtroom.Art Lien

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev late Wednesday asked a federal appeals court to grant a change of venue — or at least order the trial judge to have a hearing on whether the trial should be held somewhere else.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers also asked Judge George O’Toole to put the start of jury selection — now scheduled for Monday — on hold while the appeals court considers this new request.

Defense lawyers say the government will characterize the bombing "as having victimized not only those persons killed and injured, but also the Marathon, Marathon spectators and participants, the City of Boston, the communities through which the Marathon passes, and the communities, such as Watertown and Cambridge, impacted during the search for the perpetrators.

"Thus, every member of the jury pool is, in effect, an actual victim of the charged offenses," they argued.

That's all the more reason, they say, to move the trial somewhere else — repeating an argument the trial judge has twice rejected. Only a change of venue, they say, will make a fair trial possible before a panel of impartial jurors.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has given prosecutors until 5 p.m. Thursday to respond. Until the appeals court acts, the trial schedule remains unchanged.


— Tom Winter and Pete Williams