Prosecutors to reply to marathon bomber’s appeal

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors face a New Year’s Day deadline to reply to an appeal filed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s defense team.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers want a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s decision to not move the 21-year-old’s upcoming trial out of state. They argue Tsarnaev cannot receive a fair trial in the Boston federal courthouse, which is located a just few miles from where the bombing occurred.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed the appeal Wednesday after a U.S. District Court judge denied their change-of-venue request as well as a motion seeking a nine-month delay in the start of the trial.

The defense is asking the district court judge to postpone jury selection, scheduled to begin Monday, pending the outcome of the appeal.

First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sandra Lynch had set a 5 p.m. Thursday deadline for prosecutors to file their response to the appeal. But U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office received a two-hour extension.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to federal charges connected to the April 2013 explosions at the marathon finish line, which killed three people and injured more than 260. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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