In Federal Court, lawyers for Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the suspected Boston bomber, have asked a federal court to strike comments he made at a hospital following a manhunt that left him wounded in 2013.
On Wednesday, a motion was filed asserting that authorities, repeatedly questioned Tsarnaev, as he begged for rest and requested a lawyer at least 10 times. Defense attorneys said Tsarnaev was groggy and under the influence of several pain medications after undergoing emergency surgery when FBI agents began questioning him hours after his capture on April 19.
According to the motion, Tsarnaev had suffered several gunshot wounds, including one to the head. His left eye was sutured shut, his jaw was wired closed and he was unable to hear out of his left ear. He was unable to speak after undergoing a tracheotomy. He wrote lawyer 10 times to interrogators.
He also wrote “Can we do this later? “I’m exhausted” and “You said you were gonna let me sleep.” The defense lawyers are saying that any comments Tsarnaev made during these interrogations–which went on intermittently for hours at the hospital–should be inadmissible in court because they were not given voluntarily.
Government officials have indicated that Tsarnaev was questioned under what is called the “public safety” exception to the Miranda warnings, which allows for limited questioning by law enforcement of a suspect to determine if there is imminent danger to the public of an attack.
Defense lawyers said, Tsarnaev told police after being captured that he had discarded his gun and where it could be found. His trial is set for early November, with the government seeking the death penalty. Defense lawyers are expected to argue that the younger Tsarnaev was under the “domination and control” of his brother.
Another motion on Wednesday, by the defense team, asked the court to declare the death penalty unconstitutional, calling the practice “cruel and unusual.” Listed were several objections to the Federal Death Penalty Act, including “public and worldwide revulsion over the recurring spectacle of botched executions.” They also argued to impose the death penalty should be limited because it is illegal in Massachusetts, where the suspects trial is scheduled.