Tsarnaev Strategy: Blame Brother For Directing Marathon Bombing Plot


“It was him,” defense attorney Judy Clarke told the jury yesterday about Boston Marathon bombing defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. “We do not and will not at any point in this case sidestep or attempt to sidestep Dzhokhar's responsibility for his actions.” Clarke was quick to point out that Tsarnaev did not act alone, says the Christian Science Monitor. He carried out the bombing in “partnership,” as lead prosecutor William Weinreb argued. Clarke framed it as his older brother's “special kind of influence,” an important distinction that could determine whether Tsarnaev lives or dies.

Rosanna Cavallaro, a law professor at Suffolk University in Boston, says that for Tsarnaev's lawyers to dissuade the jury from the death penalty, “it's all about trying to create a relationship with them. That's all they have.” She “can't remember a case in my lifetime where the evidence has been so overwhelming.” Said Clarke to the jury: “It was Tamerlan Tsarnaev who self-radicalized. It was Dzhokhar who followed him.” She argued that Tamerlan's age, his “sheer force of personality,” and their shared culture pushed his younger brother into helping him. Weinreb argued in his opening statement that Dzhokhar was an Islamic extremist and a ruthless killer of his own making.

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