A federal judge on Wednesday outlined details of the upcoming Boston Marathonbombing trial, and ruled that defense attorneys for the suspect must hand over their witness list by the end of December.
Jury selection in the trial of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is set to begin on Jan. 5, according to US District Judge George O’Toole Jr., who said he wanted the private list to be disclosed before jurors are summoned.
According to a report by The Boston Globe, the trial will be in session Monday through Thursdays, with Fridays off, and will run during school vacation week.
Defense attorneys on Wednesday urged federal prosecutors to hand over evidence linking Tsarnaev’s late brother Tamerlan, the suspected bombing mastermind, to a 2011 triple murder in Waltham. Tsarnaev’s lawyers claim they have not been given the information, which they say is crucial to their defense as Tamerlan Tsarnaev’srole in the slaying could have been a possible influence over his younger brother.
Defense attorney William Fick, according to Reuters, told O’Toole at a status hearing in Boston that the Massachusetts triple murder could be relevant if it helps show Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a negative influence over the defendant.
“It would be extraordinarily relevant in a prospective sentencing phase in this case,” Fick said. “If there is a law enforcement reason to not disclose this evidence, then this trial should be put on hold.”
Reuters reports that Ibragim Todashev, an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, told investigators in May 2013 that Tsarnaev had taken part in a triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts, in which three men were stabbed to death, according to federal prosecutors. Todashev provided a confession and was later shot dead by law-enforcement agents who said he lunged at them, according to the FBI.
Prosecutors, according to that report, said they have shared all the information they have about Todashev’s confession with Tsarnaev’s defense team, adding that while the Waltham triple murder remains under investigation by local police, they are not privy to that investigation’s findings.
O’Toole said he was reserving judgment on the defense request. He said he was also considering a defense motion to compel the prosecution to provide more information about its analysis of electronic evidence related to the marathon bombing.
DzhokharTsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured 264. He has also pleaded not guilty to a slew of other related charges, including the murder of an MIT police officer.
He faces the death penalty if convicted.
O’Toole did not rule Wedneday on a request by Tsarnaev’s lawyers to set a hearing on alleged media leaks that they claim could harm his right to a fair trial.
In the past, O’Toole has acknowledged the alleged leaks by the prosecution, and has said he is “not very happy about it.”