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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Claims of Jury Taint ‘Overblown,’ Prosecutors Say

Federal prosecutors are urging the judge who presided over the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to reject his motion for a new trial, calling his claims of jury taint "speculative and overblown."

Tsarnaev’s lawyers have claimed that jurors were improperly influenced by news media coverage, the anniversary of the bombings, and social media postings.

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Image: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
This undated photo provided by the vkontakte website shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been on the run, described as "armed and dangerous" and suspected of the Boston Marathon bombing. His brother, Tamerlan, was killed during a violent police chase. The two ethnic Chechen brothers came from Dagestan, a Russian republic bordering the province of Chechnya. vk.com via AP

The celebration of One Boston Day and the annual running of the marathon took place while the trial was underway, "but Tsarnaev offers no evidence that the jurors actually attended any of those events or viewed any of press coverage, despite being instructed not to," prosecutors said in court documents filed late Wednesday.

In their motion for a new trial filed in July, defense lawyers also said the Facebook pages of the jurors were saturated with "inflammatory images, headlines, and comments" about events surrounding the trial.

But, prosecutors said in their response, the defense "has not shown, and cannot show, that the 'inflammatory' posts ever actually appeared in jurors' Facebook News Feeds — or that, if they did, they remained there long enough, and were high enough in the News Feeds, for the jurors to notice them."

Tsarnaev was sentenced to death in June for his role in the bombings and is being held at the federal maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, while his lawyers appeal the conviction.