File Photo: Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Associated Press)
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
The request was filed with the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals hours after US District Court Judge George O'Toole denied the change-of-venue request and a motion seeking a nine-month delay in the start of the trial. The defense is now asking O'Toole to delay jury selection, scheduled to begin on Monday, pending the outcome of the appeal.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to federal charges connected to the April 2013 explosions at the marathon's finish line, which killed three people and injured more than 260. He would face the death penalty if convicted.
The lawyers argue that Tsarnaev can't receive a fair trial in the Boston federal courthouse near the bombing site.
In rejecting Tsarnaev's first request in September to move the trial, O'Toole said defense lawyers had failed to show that extensive media coverage of the bombings had prejudiced the jury pool to the point an impartial jury couldn't be chosen in Boston.
Prosecutors say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, planted and detonated two pressure cooker bombs. Tamerlan died following a firefight with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar was captured later that day, wounded and hiding in a boat parked in a backyard.
Jury selection is expected to take several weeks because of extensive media coverage and the thousands of runners, spectators and others in the area affected by the bombings. The process also could be slowed if potential jurors express objections to the death penalty.