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Tsarnaev Still Pressing for Venue Change, Another Friend Charged

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on August 11, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Trying to get access to motions and court orders in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial for allegedly committing the Boston Marathon bombing is not easy because most of the documents are sealed. But, there are a few documents that the public has access to.

After reviewing these court papers and related news accounts, our first reaction is this: you just can't make this stuff up. The flurry of motions must be keeping Judge O'Toole busy, and the trial, though not scheduled to start until November, already has the makings of a television drama.

Still Pressing for Venue Change

Back in June we mentioned that Tsarnaev's lawyers are trying to get the trial's venue changed to Washington, D.C. Since Judge O'Toole has still not ruled on the motion, Tsarnaev's attorneys have submitted a declaration by Edward J. Bronson, to bolster their argument for change of venue, reports Reuters.

In his declaration, Professor Bronson discussed his methodology, which included reviewing media coverage and conducting surveys, and concluded, "It is my professional opinion, based on a review and analysis of the pretrial publicity and the survey results, that the Court should grant a change of venue from the District of Massachusetts, and preferably to Washington, D.C."

Another Friend Indicted

You may recall that just last month the first of three of Tsarnaev's friends, charged with tampering with evidence related the bombings, was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. In July, yet another friend was indicted on unrelated charges of being in possession of a defaced pistol and heroin-distribution charges, and on Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty, reports The Boston Globe.

However, some news agencies are reporting that the defaced pistol is linked to the gun used by Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan, in the slaying of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. Silva's attorney Jonathon Shapiro stated: "According to news reports, law enforcement officials say it is the same weapon that was used ... in the MIT officer Sean Collier shooting. ... However, this has not been charged in the indictment," says the Associated Press.

Alleged Government Leaks

Because of what "law enforcement officials" said regarding the defaced pistol, Tsarnaev made a motion for a hearing to address government "leaks." According to the Government's response to the motion, "the actions in question were not 'leaks' of non-public information but rather the publicly-stated opinions of anonymous law enforcement officers and an anonymous 'government official' who may well have had no access to the evidence underlying the Silva case." Judge O'Toole has yet to rule on the motion.

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