The Other Things the Government Is Hiding from Dzhokhar’s Lawyers

As Josh Gerstein reported earlier today, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev repeatedly asked for a lawyer during his interrogation — and the government has not turned over details about the extent of his requests to his lawyers.

That’s interesting enough — does the government really expect it will be able to suppress these details?

But there are other details from Dzhokhar’s lawyers’ discovery request that I find equally of interest. The government also withheld:

  • The immigration files of requested individuals. The government has refused to share the files from anyone but Dzhokhar’s nuclear family (presumably meaning even the file of his spooked up uncle will be withheld, along with that of — say — Ibragim Todashev).
  • The interview reports from certain people in Russia.
  • Information about the surveillance and interviews of Tamerlan and the brothers’ mother prior to the Boston bombing.
  • Information on tips from the Russians.
  • Transcripts of Dzhokhar’s calls from the detention center. This would include a call to his mother the government cited in imposing SAPs on him.
  • “All documents and information concerning or comprising intercepted communications (e.g., U.S. mail, voice (telephone/skype/etc.) calls, text messages, e-mail messages, we search history/browser requests) of the defendant and his family members.” The filing doesn’t describe what, if any, response the government gave to this request.
  • Documents pertaining to the investigation of the 2011 Waltham murders, including any investigation of Tamerlan, Ibragim Todashev, or Dzhokhar. The government cited investigative privilege in withholding these documents.

Some of this may well come out later. But it seems the government is withholding anything that might touch Russian intelligence. Which is why I find this footnote so interesting.

With respect to the second summary disclosure, government counsel cryptically wrote: “We apologize for providing this information in a supplement but our own review of the information was unavoidably delayed.”

The Fifth and Sixth Amendment issues here might well endanger the government’s death penalty case, if not worse. But you get the feeling the government may be willing to risk their legal case (at least the death penalty) to protect these intelligence details.

Too bad for them so many of them have been leaked to the press or disclosed in the aftermath of killing Todashev.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

5 replies
  1. JTMinIA says:

    Any chance that the with-holding of things Russian might have something to do with Snowden (and that the US wants Snowden back more than it wants to kill Dzhokhar)?

  2. Snoopdido says:

    In regard to the US government denying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s requests repeatedly for a lawyer during his interrogation, I wouldn’t be at all surprised that the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz will try to argue exigent circumstances, and perhaps as well, the Warsame model of interrogation was acceptable before advising the right to an attorney.

    I’m not saying that either of these arguments will end up holding water with the court, but given Carmen Ortiz’s history of prosecutorial aggressiveness, they seem a pretty good fit for her.

  3. arina montag says:

    i am concerned over the fact that so far no actual evidence has been produced to have even warranted an arrest and surely our society has progressed past basing guilt on bigotry and discriminating factors such as religion and yet this is exactly the strategy that was used byspecific mainstream media in the very beginning as they described the stereotypicalized muslim while preying on the naiveness and ignorance of the mass majority of their viewers and listeners. where is the actual evidence such as gun powder residue lab results, Dna results, the bullit that killed Sean Collier and its matching gun barrel, the surveillance videos in its completeness, the missing original news footages unedited, and have any and all alleged victims and witnesses been polygraphed and their medical records before the explosions reviewed to separate the actual victims from any possible crisis actors, who were the 2 women reported to have been killed right after the actual first explosion that for some strange reason is being covered up? If in fact for ex. Jeff Baumann did really get his legs so traumatically blown off… what is the secret to his stump healing so fast. I am sure plenty who have lost their limbs want to know. these are only a few questions that need to be addressed. surely our society has progressed past witch hunt style trials. for the sake of the integrity of our nation … this needs to be an evidence based trial.

  4. Jane Goron says:

    @Snoopdido: I’d like to know whatever happened to the investigation that was supposed to have taken place regarding misconduct by Carmen Ortiz’s office on another case. I understand a petition was signed by approximately 54,000 people – requesting her removal from her position. Where did that go? Why is she still there? Ahh the Department of Injustice strikes again here.

Comments are closed.