Are Loose Lips Sinking Accused Boston Bomber’s Right To A Fair Trial?

Is accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s right to a fair trial being eroded by the litany of leaks around the case? WhoWhatWhy takes a look.
Are Loose Lips Sinking Accused Boston Bomber’s Right To A Fair Trial?

Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have asked the judge in the case to determine if a flood of leaks and public comments by law enforcement officers are prejudicing the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Since the case is related to what’s been called the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the stakes of the trial are as high as they are emotional. But how much of what we know about the bombing comes from leaks to the media instead of the normal public channels surrounding a criminal case?

Tsarnaev’s lawyers in a May 2 motion argue that the media has been made privy to secret grand jury testimony not yet revealed to them by prosecutors, and want the judge to probe those leaks in a hearing.

The Still-Unanswered Questions

Starting the week after the Boston Marathon bombing, WhoWhatWhy has been investigating and questioning the public narrative put forward by the authorities about the attack.

Our exclusive reporting has shown you serious inconsistencies in the official story, and highlighted law enforcement’s heavy reliance on the testimony of a single witness to pin the blame on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his dead brother, Tamerlan. We’ve told you about the FBI’s rough handling of people connected to the Tsarnaevs, and the agency’s later admission that it had been monitoring the two.

Indeed, much of what is publicly known about the case emanates from anonymous sources, from Dzhokhar’s leaked "boat confession" to Tamerlan's alleged admission of guilt to a carjacking victim known only as "Danny."

Here’s our by-no-means-exhaustive list of some of the anonymous leaks that have helped steer the narrative from the start, to help you decide for yourself if the terrorism aspect of the case is trumping the constitutional right to a fair trial:

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