Best Tsarnaev Defense: Help Authorities, Say Brother Brainwashed Him


The best chance for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, to avoid execution for the deadly Boston Marathon bombing may be to cooperate fully with investigators or convince a jury he was “brainwashed” by his older brother, says Bloomberg News. His attorneys probably will blame his involvement on the “overpowering influence” of his brother, said Harvey Silverglate, a civil liberties and defense attorney. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, “appears to have been an embittered and dangerous character, and it is well known that older siblings can often have tremendous power over younger siblings.” The Tsarnaevs, immigrants of Chechen descent, had lived in the U.S. for more than a decade. Investigators are working with Russian authorities as they focus on a six-month trip Tamerlan took last year to Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan, Russian regions roiled by Islamist separatist movements. Appearing before a federal magistrate in his hospital room April 22, Tsarnaev was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender William Fick, a Yale Law School graduate, seven-year veteran of the public defender's office and fluent Russian speaker. Tsarnaev told the judge that he can't afford a lawyer and agreed to voluntary detention. A probable-cause hearing has been set for May 30.

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