BOSTON (AP) — Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are asking a judge for a later deadline for them to seek moving the trial from Boston.
In a motion filed Monday in federal court, defense lawyers said the current Feb. 28, 2014, deadline is premature since Attorney General Eric Holder isn't expected to announce if prosecutors will seek the death penalty until late January. The lawyers said they will need several weeks to evaluate that decision alone.
They also said the court's future decisions on motions they have filed concerning evidence, including Tsarnaev's statements to police, could affect whether they ask that his trial be moved.
A trial date hasn't been set yet, and the defense said that considering whether to move a trial should be done closer to the trial date, when intense pretrial news coverage may have passed and potential jurors may view a case with less prejudice.
"Initiating venue related litigation now, where trial is not yet scheduled, runs the risk of an improvidently requested change of venue with an inaccurate factual basis from which the Court can make a decision," the lawyers said in their motion.
The April 15 bombing killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a 30-count federal indictment that includes charges of using a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of the charges carry a possible death penalty.
Authorities say Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, built pressure cooker bombs and placed them near the Marathon finish line. Tamerlan died following a shootout with police several days after the bombings.