BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say they will need to summon 2,000 people to pick a jury.
The two sides jointly submitted their proposed jury selection process to U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole on Friday. The lawyers want to issue summonses about six weeks before the expected Nov. 3 start of the trial.
The proposal lays out the process by which the two sides hope to pare down that pool of 2,000 jurors to a 12-person jury and six alternate jurors. On the first two days of trial, 800 people will be brought to the courthouse, sworn in, and asked to fill out questionnaires.
After reviewing the questionnaires, the two sides, with the judge’s approval, would further whittle down that list to a consensus pool of 70 qualified jurors. From there, both sides would have a chance to dismiss an equal amount of jurors for their own reasons.
In a related development, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office on Friday also filed a motion opposing Tsarnaev’s request to delay the trial at least to September 2015. Defense lawyers are also seeking to move the trial from Boston to Washington, D.C. The two sides have filed more than 100 pages of legal briefs vehemently arguing their positions for and against the move in recent weeks.
Prosecutors say the defense team’s request for a change in trial date represents virtually the same appeal they had made — and the judge rejected — when he set the November trial date earlier this year. They say the challenges that the defense claims are valid reasons for the delay are largely self-inflicted, such as requesting the government produce essentially all the evidence in its possession.
Prosecutors also note in their legal brief that three members of Tsarnaev’s legal team were recently expelled from Russia after misrepresenting themselves as tourists to local authorities.
“While conducting interviews in Russia, the members of the defense team reportedly refused to produce documents confirming their legal status and identified themselves as employees of the FBI,” the brief states. “As a result, the Russian government found that the defense team members had violated the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation and expelled them.”
Tsarnaev, 21, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who came to the Boston area from Russia with his family more than a decade ago.
He is accused of detonating two bombs at the 2013 marathon along with his now-deceased brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killing three people and injuring about 260 others. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges. He could face the death penalty if convicted.