One Last Tsarnaev Question to Be Answered Today

Boston bomber will be sentenced to death—but will he speak?
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2015 7:09 AM CDT
One Lingering Tsarnaev Query to Be Answered Today
Will he talk today?   (AP Photo/FBI, File)

A nun says Dzhokhar Tsarnaev expressed remorse, while prosecutors played video of him giving the finger to a security camera. But today, secondhand narratives and hand gestures may give way to words straight out of the Boston Marathon bomber's mouth during his sentencing, NBC News reports. Although defense lawyers are mum, the will-he-or-won't-he question has set off a debate over whether it's a smart idea for him to vocalize, say, his motives or apologies to victims' families, as the Los Angeles Times suggests. The lawyer who defended Timothy McVeigh, for one, thinks Tsarnaev shouldn't talk. "I would be very surprised if he speaks," he tells NBC. "Generally, I don't advise clients to make a statement unless they are articulate and it ... doesn't sound like it was written by lawyers."

Adds another defense attorney, "I don't think there's anything to be gained by it at this point," he says. "Whatever would be said … would be viewed as too little, too late." But a law school prof tells CBS that Tsarnaev could take a long view: While an apology won't affect his sentence, it could give him leverage if he seeks to have his death sentence commuted by the president. Conversely, he could use his sentencing as a platform, like Zacarias Moussaoui, who issued taunts at his 2006 sentencing for conspiring on the 9/11 attacks: "God curse America. And God save Osama bin Laden. You will never get him." Who will likely be speaking today: bombing victims and their families, who will have the chance to give impact statements, the Times notes. (Tsarnaev didn't testify at his trial, but he did cry during one person's testimony.)

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