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Judge Denies Motion To Move Tsarnaev Trial, Pushes Start Date Back To January

Department of Homeland Security police officers stand watch outside the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on May 1, 2013. (Charles Krupa/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Department of Homeland Security police officers stand watch outside the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on May 1, 2013. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The judge handling the case of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has denied a defense request to move the trial out of Boston, but did agree to delay the start date by two months.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, Judge George O'Toole Jr. said that Tsarnaev's lawyers, who argued that the publicity around the case here in Massachusetts would make it impossible to find an impartial jury, had "not proven that this is one of the rare and extreme cases for which a presumption of prejudice is warranted."

However, Judge O'Toole did decide to push back the start date of the trial from Nov. 3 to Jan. 5, 2015. The defense, who said they needed more time to prepare, had asked to delay until Sept. 1, 2015.

The judge, citing the amount of evidence involved, said a short delay was warranted. But he said the additional 10 months requested by the defense was not necessary given, among other things, "the size and experience of the defense team" and "the availability of assistance from outside sources."

During a hearing earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that "a prosecutor told O'Toole that the government has been turning over reams of evidence to the defense since soon after the April 2013 bombings and a delay is not necessary."

Tsarnaev, who faces the death penalty if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to the attack that killed three and injured hundreds more.

--Here's the full decision, via Scribd:

Correction: In an earlier version, a typo reported the wrong new start date of the trial. The trial has been pushed to Jan. 5, 2015, not Jan. 4. We regret the error.

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