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January 13, 2015

Tsarnaev lawyers ask for delay in Boston jury selection due to Paris attacks

BOSTON - Attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Tuesday asked a federal judge in Boston to postpone jury selection for Tsarnaev's trial on charges of killing three and wounding more than 260 people in the bombing attack during the 2013 marathon. 

Attorneys for Tsarnaev, 21, said recent attacks on a satirical magazine in Paris would make it all but impossible to seat an impartial jury, a process that began last week.

"Now, at the very moment that this attempt is to be made, the Boston bombings are being newly placed at the center of a grim global drama," the attorneys wrote in their request. "At a minimum, the court should pause long enough to let this latest storm subside." 

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole has twice rebuffed bids by attorneys for Tsarnaev to move the trial out of Boston or delay its start. 

Some 1,350 potential jurors completed questionnaires at a federal courthouse in Boston last week in the first round of jury screening. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan were Muslim immigrants from Russia's restive Chechnya region. Dzhokhar left behind a note at the spot where he was arrested saying the attack came in retribution for U.S. military actions in Muslim countries. 

The brothers are accused of setting off a pair of homemade  pressure cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013. They are also accused of shooting dead a police officer three days later. Tamerlan died following a gun battle with police on April 18, 2013.