The latest defense motion comes with quite an unusual request: to disallow demonstrators to gather in front of the courthouse, display there protest signs or engage in discussions with attendees of the courtroom. The reasoning is that their “insulting and inflammatory messages” might result in an unfair trial because of the “natural but false inference that the defendant and his councel agree with the outrageous conspiracy theories”.
To understand this step better, one needs to know that in fact some insulting and inflammatory messages were disseminated by a subgroup of demonstrators: that there were no bombs and no injuries inflicted on any person. This has not been reported by the media, but Jane confirms that the “hoaxers” came out in full force. People were advocating theories that a pressure cooker in the Forum kitchen was the second bomb and that it was not the real Jahar in the courtroom. Outside they voiced their theories too, but apparently they were upstaged by Elena Teyer’s improvised press conference. Which is probably the reason why they didn’t get the ears of the media people.
Unfortunately, the motion doesn’t draw a clear distinction between the diverse groups, which leads to incorrect statements:
The demonstrators held signs and shouted statements to the effect, among other things, that the bombing and the survivors’ injuries were staged. Two news reports described the scene as follows:
His supporters, who claim Tsarnaev was set up and is actually innocent, massed outside the court building armed with provocative signs. Two women caught the eye of marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile, who limped by with a cane needed after he lost his right leg in the carnage.
“That’s trickery?” Fucarile fumed as he lifted his prosthetic leg to show the damage Tsarnaev is accused of doing to score of innocents.
The two women (Karin Friedmann and Valerie Vanetta) neither shouted, nor did they claim that the bombings and the survivor’s injuries were staged. The term “trickery” was introduced by Fucarile himself, apparently in the false believe that the women advocated “bombing hoax” theories – a believe that was amplified by certain media and probably led to this mistakable passage in the motion.
Nevertheless, the concerns of the defense are absolutely justified. It is my firm conviction that these hoaxers are agents provocateurs who, with the exception of a few “useful idiots” who believe this silly stuff, are deliberately trying to blur the picture and discredit the genuine supporters. History shows that whenever a protest movement arises and gains strength, at one point these provocateurs jump on stage, spread their outlandish ideas and finally destroy the movement. The honest protesters are easily sandwiched between the forces they fight against and the provocateurs.
This must not happen in the Boston Marathon Bombing case! For genuine supporters, it is difficult to cope with the situation. What do you do if you are standing in front of the courthouse with a sign “innocent until proven guilty”, and next to you is a vociferous hoaxer with a photo of the Forum kitchen captioned “The bomb exploded here!”. Engaging in discussion with these people is a waste of time, ignoring them signals agreement to the passers-by. A real trap.
Therefore, I support the defense’s request to ban demonstrations in front of the courthouse. I have not the slightest doubt that the more the prosecution’s weakness is getting obvious, the more provocateurs will appear there. On the other side, Elena Teyer has reached a lot of people with her media coup at the pretrial conference. Discussing the possible innocence of Dzhokhar has lost its taboo status. The necessity to aggressively advert to it has dramatically decreased.
If Judge O’Toole does not grant the defense’s request, any genuine supporter who intends to demonstrate in front of the courthouse has to prepare for a confrontation with the provocateurs and develop a decent strategy.