A U.S. district judge denied Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s request for a separate hearing in regard to the decision to move his trial out of Massachusetts on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Tsarnaev is one of the alleged masterminds behind the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
The defense team continues to argue the improbability of finding 12 unbiased jurors and six alternates from Massachusetts.
According to CBS, Tsarnaev’s lawyers petitioned to move his trial to Washington D.C., claiming their client would not receive a fair trial in Boston because “most potential jurors in Massachusetts [hold] an “overwhelming presumption of guilt.”
Tsarneaev is charged with over 30 federal charges. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Since his arraignment on July 10, 2013, he has been held in the federal prison at Fort Devens. He has not appeared at any of his court hearings.
Tsarnaev is charged with the construction and detonation of two homemade pressure-cooker bombs during the 2013 Boston Marathon. Tsarnaev, who was 19 years old at the time, and his brother, Tamerlan, placed the bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The bombs killed three and injured more than 260 people.
According to ABC, both legal teams have filed a combined total of over 100 pages with details about Tsarnaev’s upcoming November trial. The prosecution argued that Tsarnaev should be present for the jury selection, or should officially waive his right to be present. Failure to do so could result in an appeal.
A four-day-manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers ensued. Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a violent overnight gun battle with police. Dzhokhor was found the next day, wounded and hiding in a boat. He was taken into police custody, where he has remained since.
Federal prosecutors met in a closed door hearing with lawyers for Robel Phillipos, the last of Tsarnaev’s three college friends charged in connection to the bombing.
According to Reuters, Phillipos, a 20-year-old resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is being charged with lying to investigators during their Apr. 18, 2013 visit to Tsarnaev’s University of Massachusetts Dartmouth dorm room.
Phillipos is expected to go on trial with the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts later this month. He could face up to 16 years in prison if convicted.
Tsarnaev’s other two friends, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, face charges of obstruction of justice.
They allegedly removed items, including a backpack and other evidence, from Tsarnaev’s dormitory and threw them away in a dumpster. One day after being questioned by police, they were taken into custody for violating terms of their student visas.
Reuters reported Tazhayakov was found guilty of obstruction of justice and faces 25 years in prison. Kadyrbayev agreed to a plea deal in exchange for seven years in prison. All three students testified they were unaware Tsarnaev was building a bomb.
Tsarnaev’s defense team has cited the case of the Oklahoma City bomber, whose trial was moved to Denver, Colorado.
The prosecution asked Judge O’Toole to call 2,000 potential jurors for Tsarnaev’s trial. Jury selection is expected to begin Nov. 3, 2014. As of now, the trial will be held in Massachusetts.
Editor’s Note: Information from ABC, Reuters and CBS was used in this report.