Doc 442; Tsarnaev Clarification of Defense Pretrial Penalty Phase Expert Discovery Obligations 072514
Doc 442; Tsarnaev Clarification of Defense Pretrial Penalty Phase Expert Discovery Obligations 072514
Doc 442; Tsarnaev Clarification of Defense Pretrial Penalty Phase Expert Discovery Obligations 072514
Doc 440; Tsarnaev Motion to Compel the Govt to Comply w Its Expert Disclosure Obligations, And to Suspend Defendant’s Expert Disclosure Deadline 072514
Doc 49; Matanov Defendant’s Motion to Revoke Detention Order 072814
Some great points made here; one of them is that terrorists can be reformed with compassion.
Teens have energy and vigor, and most importantly, they lack the sort of moral compass necessary to question whether firing blindly at strangers is really a solid plan.
A Boston jury’s conviction of 20-year-old Azamat Tazhayakov on charges of obstructing an investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 has left some Kazakhs in disbelief.
A number of my Kazakh friends say Tazhayakov and his University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth roommate, 20-year-old Dias Kadyrbayev, who is facing an obstruction trial in September, didn’t do anything.
“They were just stupid young guys who didn’t think,” said a Kazakh friend who didn’t want me to use his name in this article.
The federal prosecutors in Boston who brought the charges against the roommates see it differently.
In their view, the Kazakhs tried to help the Dagestan-born brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspects in the bombings, get away with murder.
Tamerlan died in a shootout with police a few days after the bombings. Dzhokhar, who was wounded in the shootout, will be tried for murder in November. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors acknowledged that neither Tazhayakov nor Kadyrbayev was involved in the bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260 on April 15, 2013.
In fact, the roommates didn’t know their friends the Tsarnaevs were planning a terrorist attack, prosecutors conceded.
Tazhayakov was convicted of obstructing justice for agreeing to Kadyrbayev’s plan to dispose of a backpack belonging to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The backpack contained fireworks whose explosive powder had been removed to make the pressure-cooker bombs used in the marathon attacks, prosecutors maintained.
Law enforcement officers found the backpack, which is expected to be an important piece of evidence in Tsarnaev’s trial, in a landfill. Kadyrbayev had thrown the backpack in a dumpster that city trash collectors emptied into the landfill.
Tazhayakov’s defense attorneys said after the trial that they thought they had a chance to get him off.
That’s because he didn’t help Kadyrbayev dispose of the backpack.
The jury found Tazhayakov guilty anyway – for simply going along with Kadyrbayev’s plan to get rid of the backpack.
A key implication of the conviction is that if Tazhayakov had wanted to save himself, he should have told his roommate: “I don’t want anything to do with this – you’re on your own.”
In fact, the American judicial system might have expected him to do even more to avoid charges: Notify law enforcement of the backpack.
One of the arguments that Tazhayakov’s defense team made was that he shouldn’t be convicted because culture played a role in how he behaved the day he realized the Tsarnaevs might have committed the bombings.
One thing I’ve learned in my eight years in Kazakhstan is there’s an unwritten code that you don’t rat on a friend. This cultural predilection may have been a factor in Tazhayakov failing to notify police about the backpack.
I predicted a year ago, when the charges were brought against Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev, that both would be convicted and both would see prison time.
Barring something unforeseen, the jury that tries Kadyrbayev will convict him, too, because the case against him is stronger than it was against Tazhayakov.
Kadyrbayev was the one who actually threw the backpack in the dumpster. Tazhayakov just agreed to it.
Tazhayakov’s lawyer plans to appeal, as Kadyrbayev’s probably will if he’s convicted, but I don’t see grounds for the trial outcomes being reversed.
Another Kazakh friend of mine, who also didn’t want his name used in this article, said after Tazhayakov’s conviction: “Well, maybe they’ll just get probation and not go to prison.”
Anything is possible in a court case, but probation is unrealistic in this situation.
In these days when terrorism is rampant, anyone convicted of a terrorism-related offense in any country is almost certain to get prison time. That’s just the way the world works now.
Tazhayakov faces 25 years when he’s sentenced in October. I expect him to get three to five years, since it was his first offense, and Kadyrbayev one or two years more.
I’m sad about that because I agree with many of my Kazakh friends that these young men just didn’t think through the implications of what they were doing.
Let me close this column by bringing up a footnote in the Tazhayakov case that I believe is going to figure in more and more American criminal trials: using suspects’ computer searches as evidence against them.
Investigators seized Tazhayakov’s computer to learn what Internet searches he’d conducted. They discovered that on April 18, 2013, the day Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev learned police were seeking the Tsarnaev brothers, Tazhayakov made a number of searches about the Boston bombings.
April 18, 2013, was also the day that Kadyrbayev disposed of the backpack.
The computer searches weren’t a “make or break” factor in the Tazhayakov trial – there was plenty of other evidence — but they helped the prosecution’s case.
Records of computer searches have become pivotal pieces of evidence in some American court cases, however.
They will play a critical role, for example, in a murder case that prosecutors in the state of Georgia have brought against a man whose 3-year-old son died in a hot car.
Justin Harris, who lived in the Atlanta area, told police that the death of his son Cooper was an accident. He said he left Cooper in the car after forgetting to take him to a day-care center before going to work.
Police initially thought it might be an accident, too. But evidence it was homicide began surfacing quickly.
A particularly damning piece of evidence was computer searches Harris made before Cooper’s death. The topics included “child deaths inside vehicles” and how hot does it need to be for a child to die inside a car.
I’m not trying to draw parallels between the Boston bombing obstruction cases and the horrendous case of a 3-year-old’s death.
I’m just pointing out that the computer-search evidence police used in the Tazhayakov case is going to figure more and more in American criminal cases. And later on, I suspect, in other countries as well.
Parents of Azamat Tazhayakov, found guilty of obstructing justice in the Boston bombings case, hope to arrange their son’s transfer to Kazakhstan. Amir Ismagulov, the father of the Kazakhstani student in Boston, talked about the hearing to KTK Channel, Tengrinews reports.
On July 21, the jury found 20 y.o. Tazhayakov guilty of obstructing justice. The jury almost unanimously supported the version that Azamat took Tsarnaev’s backpack from his room. Judge Douglas Woodlock could sentence Tazhayakov to the maximum 25 years of imprisonment for obstructing justice and conspiracy. The sentence is due October 16.
Meanwhile, Ismagulov said that it was still too early to talk about extradition. “As for deportation, only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan can work on that and we certainly will appeal to them,” Ismagulov said.
Tazhayakov’s lawyers will file an appeal against the court decision before August 22. The appeal will be examined only in September.
Ismagulov said that his family was still in shock after his son was found guilty. “His mother is crying day and night. We are asking our lawyers who said that it was a 100% winning case how this could possibly happen. There is no logic behind all this,” the father said.
Amir Ismagulov also shared that in June the prosecutors four times insistently offered Azamat freedom if he frames his friend Dias Kadyrbayev. “I want all the Kazakhstanis to know that in June, U.S. prosecutors approached Azamat four times offering him to frame Dias and say that it was he (Dias) who organised everything and disposed of evidence. They told him ‘we will let you return to Kazakhstan’. But Azamat refused. He said, ‘I know that neither I nor Dias went there to help Tsarnaev. I am not going to frame my friend. It would be a lie and I would not be able to live with it’,” the father said.
The hearing of Azamat Tazhayakov’s case started in the end of July. Dias Kadyrbayev’s trial is scheduled to start on September 8.
By: Kevin Gosztola Friday July 25, 2014 5:38 pm
For months, lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been pushing a federal district court in Massachusetts to hold a hearing and address the issue of law enforcement officials leaking details related to the investigation into the BostonMarathon bombing. Lawyers renewed their objection to leaks as they continue to occur, despite the objections of the court.
Tsarnaev faces terrorism charges, including use of a weapon of mass destruction, for his alleged role in the bombing.
The objection to leaks was renewed because law enforcement recently arrested Stephen Silva on July 22. “Law enforcement sources,” a “high-ranking government official,” an “official,” and/or “local andfederal law enforcement” leaked allegations that the gun, which was used to kill MIT Officer was providedby Silva by Tsarnaev.
A “high-ranking government official” told ABC News this would “rebut a defense mitigation theory that Dzhokhar was less culpable than his older brother, Tamerlan.” Two sources told the Associated Press that a “9mm Ruger pistol” mentioned in Silva’s indictment was the same one that killed Collier. NBC News also quoted officials as saying Silva was the source of the gun.
These leaks took place despite the fact that, according to Tsarnaev’s lawyers, no such allegations appear in the Silva indictment.
Previously, Tsarnaev’s defense lawyers had expressed concern over public comments by law enforcement officials, which appeared on “60 Minutes” and a program on the National Geographic Channel. The comments related to “FBI analysis of the bombs” and “the release of photos of writings from inside the boat where Mr. Tsarnaev was found.”
The court objected to those leaks and warned the government about the leaks on June 18:
…Let me just say I saw both interviews in real time when they occurred and I was not very happy about it. I thought they were completely unnecessary opportunities for the communication of information which would be inappropriate from active members of the prosecution team … . I do think that the prosecution has practical, if not legal control over them. And I expect the government will remind people involved in the case, even formerly, of their responsibility to the integrity of the trial….
Tsarnaev’s defense argues, “As these almost instantaneous leaks of sensitive investigative information demonstrate, members of law enforcement apparently feel free to ignore the Court’s admonition to refrain from discussing the investigation in the media, including trying to marshal the evidence against Mr. Tsarnaev.
“Further action by the Court is now warranted, and we again request that the Court hold a hearing to assess responsibility for the leaks.”
Lawyers requested a hearing back in May but, so far, the court has not held a hearing.
Defense attorneys would like law enforcement officers, who are in charge of the investigation, to testify at a hearing so they can figure out who has had access to information related to the investigation and establish measures to prevent additional leaks.
These leaks by law enforcement officials are extrajudicial statements that could potentially prejudicecriminal proceedings. Federal prosecutors should be doing more to stop officials from talking about these sensitive details with media.
As TalkLeft has noted, this has been a recurring issue since at least April 24, 2013, and courts can take action and issue gag orders for violations.
Attorney General John Ashcroft was censured by the federal court in Michigan for his comments in a terror case (the case ultimately was a dismal failure.) The court’s 82 page order is here. In another terror case, the defendants complained of violations by AG Holder . More here. (the motion was denied.)
There was an order in the Oklahoma City bombing case to restrict “extrajudicial comments.”
In the case of Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, information was leaked on post-arrest incriminating statements that Shahzad made too.
Attorney General Eric Holder has managed to tolerate leaks on these high-profile terrorism cases because it gins up good publicity. And, when one examines the record of President Barack Obama’s administration and its effort to clampdown on leaks, it’s rather remarkable.
Much has been done to send a message and make an example out of people, who leak information related to “national security” and counterterrorism efforts. But, when there have been Good Leaks on the “kill list,” the Stuxnet computer worm and cyber warfare against Iran, the memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and the Osama bin Laden raid, there has not been a fierce public effort to punish the officials responsible.
Similarly, leaks about the Tsarnaev investigation are Good Leaks. They help prop up the mission of the Justice Department. If that were not the case, federal prosecutors would be stomping into a courtroom to demand a judge issue a gag order immediately.
BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have renewed their request for a judge to hold a hearing on leaks to the news media.
Last month, a judge issued a stern warning to prosecutors about former or current members of their team speaking to the media after Tsarnaev’s lawyers objected to interviews retired FBI agents gave around the anniversary of the deadly 2013 bombings.
The request came after several news outlets this week reported that investigators believe a friend of Tsarnaev provided the gun authorities say was used by Tsarnaev and his brother in the fatal shooting of an MIT police officer several days after the bombings.
On Friday, Tsarnaev’s lawyers asked the judge to hold a hearing to determine what instructions were given to law enforcement about not talking to the media.
Doc. 438 here
The accused heroin dealer who has been charged with providing a handgun to the Boston Marathon bombers told police that he smokes a lot of weed himself to cope with his close link to the bombings. We spoke with ABC reporter Michele McPhee about the connections between the gun and the killing of multiple drug dealers before the Marathon bombing.
On July 23rd, Howie Carr (the king of comedy gold) interviewed Michele McPhee about the arrest of Stephen Silva. She spoke extensively about the case, and even though Howie was a bit obsessed about who had EBT cards, this is what Michele had to say based on FBI files that she had seen:
Stephen Silva was a roommate of Robel at UMD.
The ATF used a chemical process to raise the scraped-off serial number of the gun. The gun was legally purchased in Maine, but the buyer then gave it to a “crack cocaine crew” in Portland. Many in the crew were Muslim and had come from Cambridge by way of Eretiea and the Sudan. The name of the bust was “Operation Run This Town.”
Brendan Mess’s Sudanese Muslim girlfriend knew Tamerlan and had gone to the same mosque with him. Her former husband died mysteriously; it was ruled a suicide but the gunshot wound was at the back of the head.
Khairullozhon Matanov and Ibragim Todashev were roommates at the time of the Waltham murders. They were shown to be in the area at the time of the murders because of the use of their EBT cards – which contradicts the statement of Ibragim’s widow that he was not in Massachusetts.
Matanov said that he was here to attend Quincy College. He only attended for nine days before he got political asylum.
Matanov is also a suspect in the Waltham murders.
One of the “crack cocaine crew” gave up Stephen Silva’s name.
Matanov had seen Tamerlan with another gun beside the BB gun.
Katherine Russell and Zahira are now living with the Tsarnaev sisters.
Bella was collecting EBT benefits in her father Anzor’s name well into 2013.
Ailina’s counterfeiting case also involved fake IDs.
The Tsarnaevs had “under-the-table” jobs.
One of Tamerlan’s pizza delivery jobs was at Jerry’s Italian Kitchen, which was the last place called by the Waltham murder victims. The delivery man (not Tamerlan) went to the apartment and got no answer.
“There are drugs throughout this entire case.”
Tamerlan was “laughing his head off” at the footage of the man falling down in the middle of the street after the first bomb blast, according to Matanov. This happened when Matanov took the brothers to dinner the evening of the bombings.
I know that none of this looks good for the Tsarnaev family and their friends, but I listened to the interview and feel obliged to put it out there. We shall see how this pans out.
On April 15 of last year, a thin kid with a bright smile named Abdulrahman Alharbi decided he would stop and watch the Boston Marathon for a few minutes. A Saudi Arabian studying English in Boston, he had heard of the famous marathon, but wanted to see it in the flesh, he later explained to one journalist. Ten minutes later, he witnessed what he first mistook for fireworks.
Then a second blast rocketed him into the middle of the road. “I realized that my legs were a little bit hurt because my jeans were [bloody],” he told the Islamic Monthly. “I was bleeding a little bit in my legs, but all my back was all [bloody] not because of my body but because of other peoples’ body.”
Alharbi, like numerous others in the chaotic few hours following the deadly bombings, was questioned by police. They asked for his Facebook password. He gave it to them. They asked to inspect his apartment. He allowed it. News of Alharbi reached the media, but by the next day, the cops had cleared the 20-year-old. “He has been checked out,” a law enforcement official told the Boston Globe. “He is not involved. He is just a victim.”
Broadcaster Glenn Beck, formerly of Fox News, was nonetheless suspicious of Alharbi. He thought the Obama administration was hiding Alharbi’s involvement. So three weeks later, Beck urged the government to release its information on Alharbi or else Beck would “expose” him.
“While the media continues to look at what the causes were [behind] these two guys, there are, at this hour, three people involved,” Beck said, alleging the U.S. government had “tagged” Alharbi as a “proven terrorist.” Over several broadcasts, Beck called Alharbi the “money man” behind the Boston bombings. “You know who the Saudi is?” Beck asked. “He’s the money man. He’s the guy who paid for it.”
What Beck said about Alharbi was untrue. Alharbi sued Beck for defamation in federal court in late March. And now, in a batch of little-noticed motions, Beck has lashed back, saying Alharbi is trying to “punish” and impede Beck’s First Amendment rights. Beck argues the bombings made Alharbi a “limited purpose” and “involuntary” public figure who must prove not just that Beck made false accusations, but that Beck did it with “actual malice.”
It’s no surprise that his lawyers would make that argument. Under that standard, whether or not Beck’s claims were false becomes almost irrelevant. In most cases involving public figures, malice is so hard to demonstrate that the matter rarely goes to trial.
First, however, Beck’s lawyers will have to convince a judge that Alharbi is indeed a public figure, albeit an involuntary one, someone who thrusts himself into the limelight.
What makes Alharbi a public figure, according to Beck? “By behaving suspiciously at the Marathon finishing line when the bombs detonated, thereby causing his detention and a background check by law enforcement,” states Beck’s motion to dismiss, Alharbi “embarked on a course of conduct that was reasonably likely to result in public attention and comment on his background, activities, and immigration status.” Plus, he gave interviews defending himself, said Beck’s legal team, led by Michael J. Grygiel.
Alharbi’s lawyers, led by Peter J. Haley, were incredulous at Beck’s argument. “An individual does not become a public figure due to the fact that he is investigated in connection with a crime, and then states publicly that he was not involved in the crime for which he was investigated.” To the extent Alharbi became known to the public, it was because of Beck’s “defamatory reporting.” They accused Beck of “bootstrapping,” creating his own defense by making a public figure out of Alharbi.
In any case, the student denies he behaved suspiciously — though it’s unclear what would qualify as such a designation. “I [was] really scared because I heard the first bomb, then the second bomb hurt me, then, I was really scared because there might be another one,” he told Islamic Monthly. “Then, I just was walking and the people were crying, ‘What happened, what happened?’ … No one arrested me, no one tackled me, no.”
He explained to the publication that some emergency personnel looked at him strangely because of “the color of my skin” and “because of the name of my country.”
“They were really scared of me,” he recalled. “I am injured, and I don’t have anything and they asked me, ‘What you have in your hand!’ I told them, ‘Nothing, it’s just a napkin!’ And then I throw it to them and they were like, ‘Ahh!’”
A court hearing is expected in the next several weeks, according to court filings.