Tsarnaev Prosecution Moves To Watertown

It was all very hush-hush as we sketch artists and two reporters were told to report to the Fish Pier at 7:30 this morning to witnesses the jurors’ examination of the bullet riddled boat in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid after the gun and bomb battle with police in Watertown. The boat had been moved to a large warehouse and chairs and a viewing platform, as well as a movable lift, were provided for the jurors. Tsarnaev, lawyers from both sides as well as court personnel were there as well. And it was frigid!

After we moved back to the regular courtroom the government called to the stand several police and a couple of Watertown residents.








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Riveting Telling Of A Ninety-Minute Ordeal

When Dun Meng pulled over his vehicle to answer a text message Tamerlan Tsarnaev pointed a gun at him and got into the SUV. That was only the beginning of a ninety-minute carjacking that ended when he managed to escape into a gas station convenience store.






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MIT Police Officer Sean Collier

After more evidence testimony by a couple of FBI witnesses this morning the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev moved on to the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier.




The last witness of the day, MIT grad student Nate Harman, pointed out Tsarnaev in the courtroom. He testified that he saw Tsarnaev leaning into officer Collier’s  squad car as he rode by on his bicycle.


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Special Agent Day

The horrific and wrenching testimony of the first three days of trial from victims and others on the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings gave way to technical details of evidence gathering. Seems every witness was with the FBI. The most dramatic moment was when bomb squad officer Todd Brown identified Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the courtroom by pointing at him.

Court adjourned early so that the judge could go take a look at the boat in which Tsarnaev hid and was captured. The government wants to cut out the sections on which Tsarnaev wrote his “confession”, while the defense wants the jury to see the entire bullet riddled boat.






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First Full Week Of Testimony Begins

Previously unseen video of Tsarnaev at the Boston Marathon were introduced into evidence and made public today.

We also heard moving testimony from two more victims.







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Powerful and Emotional Testimony

The first full day of testimony at the trial of now admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was intensely moving. I’ve heard equally disturbing testimony before, at the McVeigh and Moussaoui trials, but by the end of the day it was a struggle to keep it together, especially when the father of Martin Richard testified.

I’ll just post the sketches and let them speak for themselves.








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Testimony Begins In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial


The trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev finally got underway today with opening statements and testimony from the first witnesses.

It was such a busy day for me that I can no longer think straight so I’ll just post my sketches and let you read about it elsewhere.

Tsarnaev’s defense don’t dispute that their client planted the pressure cooker bomb but argue that he acted under the influence of his brother, Tamerlane. For that reason the defense  briefly questioned only one of the government’s witnesses on cross.









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Seating The Tsarnaev Jury

After I don’t know how many weeks of jury selection in the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber finally reached the last stage today, where each side exercised their peremptory challenges. A panel of 12 jurors and six alternates was selected and will be sworn in tomorrow before hearing opening statements and the first witnesses.

Tsarnaev appeared relaxed and in a good mood as he was greeted by his lawyers in the courtroom. Later as each side huddled to decide on their strikes Tsarnaev spent most of his time scribbling on a note pad he had on his lap.

This little sketch shows U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, far left, and others waiting for court to begin. AP’s Denise Lavoie – she’d be more recognizable if I colored in her red hair – is shown standing with someone from the U.S. Attorney’s office.



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Not Just A Fashion Statement

“This is going to sound like a joke” Justice Alito said, “but, you know, it’s not.”

Justice AlitoThe not-joke was addressed to the lawyer for Abercrombie & Fitch who was defending the preppie fashion retailer’s decision not to hire an otherwise qualified teenager because she wore a hijab to her interview. Abercrombie says that her head covering was not in line with the company’s “classic East Coast collegiate style”. The EEOC sued the company on behalf of the teenager, Samantha Elauf, now 24, for not accommodating her religion.

Abercrombie’s defense: It couldn’t question her about her religion when she applied for a job, and she never informed them about her Muslim faith.

Which brings us back to Alito’s set-up: A Sikh wearing a turban, an Hasid wearing a shtreimel, a Muslim wearing a hijab, and a Catholic nun in habit go to the employment office and say, “we just want to tell you, we’re dressed this way for a religious reason. We’re not just trying to make a fashion statement”.

SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe reports on the argument here.

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Who Gets A Felon’s Guns ?

It was bitterly cold outside the Supreme Court this morning which may explain why there were fewer spectators than usual for today’s arguments.


These sketches are of the first argument, Henderson v. U.S., concerning a felon’s attempt to transfer ownership of a gun collection that as a result of his conviction he was no longer allowed to possess. Tony Henderson, who pleaded guilty to marijuana distribution, asked that the firearms, which had no part of his crime, be sold to a friend or transferred to his wife. The government refused, of course, pointing out that such a close connection to the recipient amounted to “constructive possession“.


Henderson’s lawyer, UVa law professor Daniel Ortiz, began his argument stating that his client was willing to have the guns sold by a federally dealer, though that was not his preference. That seemed fairly reasonable and straight forward to me – hey, even a non-lawyer like me might be able to follow this argument. But then they pulled out the scalpels and started dissecting the meaning of possession, forfeiture, due process, dominion and takings. “Well, it’s a kind of complicated transaction . . . , Your Honor”, responded Ortiz to a question from Justice Kagan.


For its part, the government was okay with letting a dealer sell the guns. But when it came to who picks the dealer the lawyer for the government faced some tough questions, especially from Scalia.

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