BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyer on Tuesday urged a federal appeals court to vacate the 29-year-old’s death sentence because of allegations of jury misconduct just months later. it was reinstated by the nation’s highest court.

Tsarnaev is making a renewed effort to avoid execution after the Supreme Court last year reinstated the death sentence imposed on him for his role in the bombing that killed three people and wounded hundreds near the line of marathon goal in 2013.

His lawyers are now questioning issues that were not considered by the Supreme Court, including whether the trial judge wrongly denied his recusal of two jurors who defense attorneys say lied during jury selection cross-examination.

A juror said she had not commented on the case online, but had retweeted a post calling Tsarnaev «trash.» Another juror said none of his Facebook friends had commented on the trial, despite one urging him to «play the part» so he could sit on the jury and send Tsarnaev to «jail where they’ll get him out.» say defense attorneys. . Tsarnaev’s lawyers raised those concerns during jury selection, but the judge decided not to investigate them further, they say.

«This case was tried in Boston on the promise … that, despite the extraordinary impact of the marathon bombing on this community,» cross-examination through prospective jurors would weed out any unqualified individuals, the attorney for Tsarnaev, Daniel Habib, to US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit judges «That promise was not kept.»

Image: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Judge George O’Toole delivers the sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on June 24, lien

The Justice Department has continued to push to confirm Tsarnaev’s sentence even after Attorney General Merrick Garland did so in 2021. placed a moratorium on federal executions while the department conducts a review of its policies and procedures. The department has not indicated how long it could maintain the hold, which came after former President Donald Trump’s administration executed 13 inmates in its last six months.

President Joe Biden has said he opposes the death penalty and will work to end its use, but has taken no steps to do so during his term. And the moratorium does not prevent federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, as they are in the case of one man. currently on trial for killing eight people on a New York City bike path in 2017.

William Glaser, a Justice Department attorney, said the trial judge did nothing wrong in his handling of the jurors. Glaser acknowledged that the jurors made inaccurate statements, but said other disclosures they made to the court suggest they were simply misremembering.

“There is no indication on this record that the inaccuracies were the type of knowing dishonesty that would lead to disqualification,” Glaser said.

But Judge William Kayatta Jr. questioned how the trial judge could know that without further investigating Tsarnaev’s claims. And Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson told the Justice Department attorney that she found it difficult to see how Tsarnaev cannot at least plausibly claim that the juror told to «play the part» was knowingly lying. .

“If, for example, the Facebook friend had said ‘join the jury and make sure the death penalty isn’t imposed’, it’s hard for me to believe that you wouldn’t be here arguing the opposite of what you’re saying. discussing now,’” he told Glaser.

Some bombing survivors who attended the hearing briefly met with Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins outside the courtroom. Marc Fucarile, who lost a leg and suffered other serious injuries in the explosion, he said he made the arguments so the judges would know that the survivors «are still paying attention to what they’re doing.»

“At a certain point, we need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. There is no question what he did,” Fucarile told The Associated Press.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers acknowledged early in his trial that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, detonated the two bombs that killed Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chinese Boston University graduate student; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts; and Martin Richard, 8, of Boston.

However, they have argued that he should not be executed, saying his brother radicalized him and masterminded the attack.

Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015 on all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and the murder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier during the Tsarnaev brothers’ escape attempt. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police a few days after the April 15, 2013 attack.

The First Circuit in 2020 vacated Tsarnaev’s death sentence and ordered a new trial at sentencing to decide whether he should be executed, finding that the judge did not question jurors sufficiently about their exposure to extensive news coverage. news about the attack But Supreme Court justices, by a 6-3 vote, agreed with the Biden administration that the 1st Circuit ruling was incorrect.