Lawyers for accused Boston bomber to make case to move trial

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial - jury selection - Boston Marathon bombing
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Lawyers for accused Boston bomber to make case to move trial
Prosecutors want panels of the boat in which Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding to be brought to court to show jurors what they say is his written confession. His lawyers want them to see the entire bullet-ridden boat.
In this handout provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, a collection of fireworks that was found inside a backpack that belonged to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev taken on an unspecified date and place. The backpack was recovered by law enforcement agents from a landfill in New Bedford, Massachusetts on April 26, 2013. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is believed to have bought fireworks from a New Hampshire store in February and authorities are trying to determine whether gunpowder from the fireworks were used in the bombs. Today authorities arrested three additional men in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev who are alleged to have tried to conceal and destroy evidence to help the Tsarnaev brothers after the attacks, came to America to study at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was also enrolled. The third person taken into custody is Robel Phillipos a U.S. citizen who is charged with lying to federal agents. (Photo by DOJ via Getty Images)
Defense Attorney Robert Stahl, left, guides Murat Kadyrbayev across the street outside of the Moakley Courthouse after they left his son, Dias Kadyrbayev's U.S. District Court hearing in Boston on August 13, 2013. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Robel Phillipos, of Cambridge, arrived with attorneys, family and friends at the Moakley Federal Courthouse. He is accused of lying to investigators. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov face obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping Tsarnaev hide evidence after the Boston Marathon bombings were also present at court. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Robert G. Stahl of the Law Offices of Robert G. Stahl, LLC, defending Dias Kadyrbayev, spoke with the media as he walked, after leaving the courthouse. Two men from Kazakhstan and a man from Cambridge were arrested and charged today in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston, Mass. on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Robel Phillipos, 20, one of four former classmates of Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev to face federal charges related to the Marathon bombing, leaves the Moakley Federal Courthouse on October 6, 2014. The charges that they face, though not all the same, relate to the night of April 18, 2013, a few days after the bombing when photos of the two Tsarnaev brothers were publicized by the FBI and the pair was on the run. Phillipos, the only one free on bail. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Derege B. Demissie of Demissie & Church, defending Robel Phillipos, walked out of the courthouse. Two men from Kazakhstan and a man from Cambridge were arrested and charged today in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston, Mass. on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Robel Phillipos, of Cambridge, arrived with attorneys, family and friends at the Moakley Federal Courthouse. He is accused of lying to investigators. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov face obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping Tsarnaev hide evidence after the Boston Marathon bombings were also present at court. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Newspapers in New York report on the Boston Marathon bombing
Newspapers at a newsstand in New York report on the Boston Marathon bombers
BOSTON - JANUARY 6: A Boston Police boat tied up to a pier behind the Moakley Courthouse, where the second day of jury selection took place in the upcoming trial of Dzohkhar Tsarnaev on January 6, 2015. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JANUARY 5: Jury selection for the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber started at Moakley Federal Court. A heavily armed Coast Guard boat patrolled the water off of the courthouse. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JANUARY 5: Jury selection for the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber started at Moakley Federal Court. A heavy police presence was seen outside the courthouse. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - Attorneys for the accused Boston Marathon bomber on Thursday will make their case to a three-judge appellate panel to move his trial out of the city that was the site of the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers for months have been trying to have the trial moved out of Boston, arguing that too many residents of the area were directly affected by the April 15, 2013, attack and by the massive manhunt four days later to allow for an impartial jury to be seated.

But U.S. District Judge George O'Toole three times rejected their request and has gone ahead with jury selection, which is now in its seventh week and is scheduled to continue on Thursday in the same courthouse where lawyers are making their arguments.

Three people died and 264 were injured when a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs went off at the race's finish line, amid tens of thousands of spectators, athletes and volunteers. Tsarnaev, 21, is accused of that attack as well as of fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he and his older brother, Tamerlan, prepared to flee the city.

Tamerlan, 26, died that night following a gun battle with police, and hundreds of thousands of Boston-area residents were ordered to shelter in their homes the following day as police searched for the surviving suspect.

In a sign of how challenging it would be to seat an impartial jury for the case, which could result in Tsarnaev being sentenced to death, O'Toole summoned more than 1,350 jurors to court early last month to fill out questionnaires.

The court has since brought in more than 200 members of that pool, the largest ever called to Boston federal court, for in-person questioning. More than 50 qualified jurors have been identified, and officials want to identify about 70, from whom a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates will be selected.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers have referred to the jury-selection process in a bid to bolster their cases on the trial's venue. Prosecutors, in a brief filed with the court ahead of Thursday's arguments, said the fact that so many jurors had been seated showed it would be possible to find a jury. Defense attorneys noted that 68 percent of the people who filled out questionnaires said they had already decided that he was guilty. (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Eric Beech)

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