Boston Bombing suspect: Can’t use ‘betrayal’ argument

BOSTON — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say federal prosecutors shouldn’t be allowed to use his status as a new American citizen to argue that his alleged “betrayal” of the United States is one reason he should be put to death.

In a court filing Thursday, Tsarnaev’s lawyers say prosecutors are trying to use Tsarnaev’s foreign birth and immigration history against him. They say citing his status as a newly naturalized U.S. citizen implies he is “more deserving of the death penalty” than a native-born person who commits the same crime.

Tsarnaev is awaiting trial on 30 federal charges in the 2013 marathon bombing. Twin bombs placed near the finish line of the marathon ripped into crowds gathered to watch the annual event, killing three people and injuring more than 260. At least 16 people lost limbs.

“Resentment of Tsarnaev’s immigration status and history is perhaps natural, given the nature of the crimes charged, and it is surely very widespread. But the fact that he had only recently become a citizen, standing alone, does not increase his moral or legal guilt, and it should not be permitted,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers argue in the motion.