NEW YORK: A US federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request by Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to further postpone his highly-anticipated trial, meaning jury selection will begin next week.
The judge also denied a motion by Tsarnaev’s lawyers to move the trial — set to begin Monday and expected to last several months — outside the northeastern US city.
Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty if convicted over the April 15, 2013 attacks on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264 — the worst such incident in the US since 9/11.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers had on Monday again insisted a delay was necessary.
“Only adequate preparation makes a fair trial possible. But we face a situation where Mr Tsarnaev is being afforded substantially less time to prepare than the vast majority of defendants in federal capital cases,” they wrote to Judge George O’Toole.
O’Toole had already delayed the trial once from an initial start date of November 3.
Tsarnaev is accused of carrying out the attacks with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police as the pair went on the run in the days immediately after the attacks.
Prosecutors say the brothers prepared bombs based on instructions in Al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine “Inspire.”
A Muslim of Chechen descent, Tsarnaev emigrated with his family to the United States in 2002 from Dagestan and became a naturalized American citizen in 2012.
He has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, which include conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and bombing a public place resulting in death.