BOSTON — Federal prosecutors said Friday they oppose a defense motion to dismiss some charges against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, arguing that they aren’t prejudicial.
Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty in the terrorist attack at last year’s marathon. Two pressure cooker bombs were placed near the marathon finish line, killing three people and wounding more than 260. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev for crimes that include using a weapon of mass destruction.
The defense motion filed last month by Tsarnaev’s lawyer Judy Clarke, one of the nation’s foremost death penalty specialists, noted that more than half of the 30 federal charges carry a possible death sentence, and said the number of capital charges “appears designed to put a thumb on the scales of justice in favor of the death penalty.”
In their filing, prosecutors called that argument “nonsense” and said the number of charges “reflects the number of crimes Tsarnaev committed.”
Although some statutes overlap, prosecutors said, “it is clear that Congress intended to authorize multiple penalties for offenders who violate more than one statute.”