Boston Bombing News: Tsarnaev & Related Cases (A Summary)
If current scheduling is adhered to, trial in this case is set to begin on Monday, 3rd. November which is notably only sixteen months since the arrest of the suspect in what is now a capital case. Understandably, the most recent motions filed by the defense have related to change of venue and also continuance.
Thus far the possibility of a change of venue has been, as would be expected, opposed by the prosecution, but by means of a series of filings demonstrating very weak logic for this opposition. Judge O’Toole, as has been acknowledged and already much discussed on these threads, seems disinclined to consider a change of venue. In light of the obvious reasons as to why a fair trial for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is likely impossible in the city of Boston and the failure by the prosecution to offer any convincing argument to the contrary, the judge’s stance serves to confirm an already blatant bias in favor of the prosecution.
Judge O’Toole’s most recent ruling was to strike from the record Doc. 517, the defense’s response to the Government’s Surreply to the Defense’s Motion for Change of Venue and Request for an Evidentiary Hearing. (The prosecution cited local rules in their opposition to this motion.) The latest, (at least at the time of writing), filing by the defense is Doc. 531: Motion to Supplement the Record on Motion for Change of Venue or Alternatively for an Evidentiary Hearing.
Despite the renewed appeal, does the substitution of the word “and“, (in Doc. 517), for “or” , (in Doc. 531), demonstrate an acknowledgement on the part of the defense that a change of venue in this case is now, at best, extremely unlikely?
The judge has yet to rule on continuance but at the 6th. Status Conference on 14th. August, he stated his firm intention that jury summons should be sent out during the month of September.
The 7th. Status Conference in this case is scheduled for Thursday, 18th. September and I think we can be in no doubt that a number of issues will be discussed.
On 21st. July a jury found Azamat guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. His attorney stated publicly that a plea deal had been offered but had been declined. Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for 16th. October.
Trial in this case was originally scheduled to begin on 8th. September. On 21st. August we learned that Dias would plead guilty as part of a deal negotiated with the prosecution in exchange for a sentence of seven years or less as opposed to the possibility of a twenty five year sentence if convicted at trial. I would suggest that the somewhat shocking verdict in the case of Azamat Tazhayakov had much to do with Dias’ acceptance of a plea deal and that the verdict in that case serves to further demonstrate that a fair trial could not be provided in Boston for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or indeed any of the defendants in related cases. Although Judge Woodlock is, as far as we know, still in the process of considering the plea deal, sentencing has been scheduled for 18th. November.
Robel Phillipos is scheduled to stand trial beginning on 29th. September. charged with lying to investigators . (The FBI.) He has been held under house arrest for the last fifteen months. On 4th. September it was reported that Robel and his attorneys had met with prosecutors in a “closed door” hearing. This, understandably, has given rise to speculation that a plea deal may be being negotiated in this case too. (Again, this would not be surprising in light of the Tazhayakov verdict.)
Khairullozhon Matanov was arrested on 30th. May and was under surveillance by law enforcement for several months prior to his arrest. He is charged with lying to investigators, (again, the FBI), and destroying evidence. (The latter charge is related to his attempt to delete files from his computer which illustrated his acquaintance with the Tsarnaev brothers and would be, at least in my opinion, an understandable reaction upon the realization that the brothers had been named as suspects in the bombing of the Boston Marathon.) Khairullozhon is being held in solitary confinement at Plymouth County jail. This is allegedly for his own protection. Thus far his attempts to appeal his incarceration whilst awaiting trial have been unsuccessful. Khairullozhon’s trial is scheduled to begin on 8th. June, 2015. Will a plea deal be “offered”, (or indeed forced?), in this case in order to conceal conduct on the part of le which would not reflect favorably upon them? We shall see…
Another acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Konstantin Morozov was arrested on 30th, May. He too is being held at Plymouth County jail and is said to be awaiting deportation despite an appeal for asylum. His only “crime” appears to be refusing to act as an informant for the FBI. For some unknown reason this case has received little attention from either the main stream or alternative media. Why?
Stephen Silva, a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was arrested on 22nd. July. Whilst the charges against him are related to possession of an illegal firearm and drug dealing it was widely reported, (although seemingly unsubstantiated), that Stephen provided the gun with which one of the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly killed Officer Shaun Collier. The occurrence of these rumors, leaks or whatever they might be could be thought to cast doubt on the validity of the case and indeed the charges against Stephen Silva. Is he simply being used to aid the government in the conviction of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Certainly a possibility.
Ibragim Todashev, an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot to death by the FBI during an interview at his home in Florida on 22nd. May, 2013. Law enforcement allege that he implicated both himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple homicide which took place in Waltham Massachusetts on 11th. September, 2013. LE further allege that they obtained a written confession from Ibragim but the fact that he failed to describe the Waltham crime scene accurately suggests to many that this “confession” was coerced rather than being valid.
Official reports on the shooting death of Ibragim Todashev released earlier this year raised more questions as to the circumstances of his death, provided few answers and “absolved” the FBI of any wrong doing. (As seems to be the rule in any investigation into any shooting death at the hands of the FBI!) It was indicated that attorneys working for Ibragim’s family would release their own report on the circumstances of his death but to date this report has not been forthcoming.
On pages 12-13 of Doc. 518, (Motion for Continuance), filed in the case of USA v Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it is mentioned by the defense that, “In addition to these public arrests and prosecutions, the defense is aware of other acquaintances of the Tsarnaevs who have been detained and placed in deportation proceedings. Others with lawful immigration status have been detained for hours and required to surrender their electronic devices upon re-entry to the United States.” To whom does this refer and does this suggest the possibility of intimidation of potential witnesses by the FBI?