Judge: Tsarnaev lawyers' use of juror quotes 'improper'

In a court filing Thursday, Tsarnaev's lawyers included comments some prospective jurors wrote saying they believe Tsarnaev is guilty and should receive the death penalty.

Jane Flavell Collins/Reuters
A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (r.) during the jury selection process in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts January 15. Tsarnaev, who appeared in court on Thursday wearing a sport jacket and collared shirt, more formally dressed than in last week's appearances, and had trimmed his hair, is also charged with fatally shooting a university police officer three days after the bombing. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said Friday they did nothing wrong by including excerpts from juror questionnaires in their third request to move the federal trial outside Massachusetts.

In a court filing Thursday, Tsarnaev's lawyers included comments some prospective jurors wrote saying they believe Tsarnaev is guilty and should receive the death penalty.

Judge George O'Toole Jr. later ordered the document sealed and called the defense use of juror comments from confidential questionnaires "improper."

On Friday, Tsarnaev's lawyers said the excerpts they included did not identify jurors in any way. They asked the judge to remove the word "improper" from his order.

Tsarnaev is charged in the 2013 attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260.

In its motion, the defense argued that Tsarnaev cannot receive a fair trial in Massachusetts because many have personal connections to the bombing.

They cited excerpts from questionnaires, including one prospective juror who wrote, "We all know he's guilty so quit wasting everybody's time with a jury and string him up."

The judge has not ruled on the latest request to move the trial.

O'Toole continued questioning prospective jurors Friday. He had originally said he expected opening statements in the trial to take place on Monday, but the process of jury selection has been slower than anticipated. No firm date has been set for openings.

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