Marathon suspect’s widow hires criminal defense lawyer

Booking photo of Katherine Russell from her 2007 shoplifting arrest. Credit: Warwick, R.I. Police Department.
Booking photo of Katherine Russell from her 2007 shoplifting arrest. Credit: Warwick Police Department

Katherine Russell, the widow of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has hired a criminal defense attorney with experience handling terrorism cases.

Amato A. DeLuca, who has been representing Russell since Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar, were identified as suspects in the marathon attacks, announced Wednesday that Joshua Dratel has joined Russell’s defense team.

“Mr. Dratel’s unique, specialized experience will help insure that Katie can assist in the ongoing investigation in the most constructive way possible,” DeLuca said in a statement.

Dratel is president of the Wall Street law firm Dratel & Mysliwiec, P.C. In a bio on the firm’s website, Dratel lists his fields of expertise as terrorism, national security and violent crime charges, among others.

DeLuca’s Providence, R.I., law firm, DeLuca & Weizenbaum Ltd., handles mostly medical malpractice and personal injury civil suits.

Federal investigators want to know what Russell knew, if anything, about her husband and his brother’s plans to detonate two homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Three people were killed and 264 others injured in the April 15 explosions, including a more than a dozen who suffered amputations. The Tsarnaevs are also suspected of killing an MIT police officer.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police April 18, just hours after the FBI released pictures of the suspects. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is recovering from gunshot wounds at a federal medical facility, charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.

DeLuca said Russell, who married Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2010, had no knowledge of the plot and is assisting with the investigation. The FBI would not confirm to the Associated Press that Russell is cooperating.

“Katie plans to continue to meet with investigators, part of a series of meetings over many hours where she has answered questions,” DeLuca said.

Russell has been staying at her parents’ home in North Kingstown, R.I., since Tsarnaev was killed, along with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter.

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