In Tsarnaev-Related Case, DOJ Suggests There Is No Dragnet

As a number of stories reported last week, two of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college buddies charged with obstruction lost their bid to get the prosecution to turn over texts Dzhokhar sent. The AP has the most detailed account:

The defense requested all communications between Tsarnaev and the three men, as well as all communications between Tsarnaev and other people.


Robert Stahl, [Dias] Kadyrbayev’s lawyer, said prosecutors told defense attorneys that Tsarnaev destroyed his cellphone before his arrest. Stahl said that in other cases he’s had, some text messages have been retrieved from cellphones through a service provider. He asked Judge Douglas Woodlock to ask prosecutors to seek those text messages and turn them over to the defense.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said prosecutors have already given the defense text messages between Tsarnaev and the three friends taken from the cellphones of the friends.

“I believe the messages we’ve given them are all we could get,” Siegmann told the judge.

Woodlock said the defense was not entitled to get text messages between Tsarnaev and anyone else because they would not be relevant to the defendants’ cases.

The BoGlo describes the dispute slightly differently, suggesting the defense asked for texts involving the defendants, with the prosecution responding they had provided the texts between Tsarnaev and the defendants.

He asked Woodlock to ask prosecutors to seek any text messages involving the defendants and turn them over to the defense.

Siegmann said prosecutors have already given the defense text messages between Tsarnaev and the three friends taken from the cellphones of the friends.

Which would be rather interesting given the way NSA collects communications about people (though it’s unclear how quickly an emergency collection can be collected).

Here’s ABC on that dispute. Reuters and Boston Herald focused on other disputes, including that witnesses gave a statement and/or were videotaped by cops, but that this was suppressed.

Before getting too far into these competing claims (at least as presented without a transcript, which I’ll take a look at down the road), let me take a step back.

The docket in this case, like Dzhokhar’s docket, has a bunch of gaps which presumably reflect sealed filings. Part of that involves the protective order in this case, though it (plus a presumed sealed motion “taken under advisement” is referenced in the minutes for an October hearing).

According to a schedule set on January 15, defendants were supposed to submit motions to compel discovery by February 28. But on some date (the official file date is March 3, which can’t be right), defendants filed to extend the deadline to March 1, in part because of new discovery that week. The defense submitted their motion to compel on March 3, the prosecution responded on March 7; both those filings are still sealed. The hearing was on March 10. So it’s possible that some of these issues, including the question of what texts are accessible to prosecutors in a case related to the Boston Marathon attack, just came up in the last several weeks.


In response to a defense demand that — in a case where the key physical evidence (the computer and firecracker casings Dzhokhar’s friends are accused of throwing away) yielded no DNA or fingerprint evidence, where Dzhokhar is accused of destroying his phone within a day of the time he texted his friends suggesting they “take” what they want — the defense get the other texts Dzhokhar may have sent during this period, the prosecution did not, apparently make the argument the judge ultimately adopted, that these texts weren’t relevant. Rather, AUSA Stephanie Siegmann seems to have suggested that the government had no ability to get any other texts.

Not only would that suggest Dzhokhar managed to destroy his cell phone in precisely the sweet spot between the time the cops admit to having IDed them (assuming that claim is credible) and when he lost the physical ability to do so as he bled out in the boat in Watertown. (Remember, according to some narratives he was using it during the car chase the night before.) But it would also suggest the NSA has no ability to get text messages from providers once a cell phone has been destroyed (nor was able to get the receiving end of those text messages based on the metadata of the texts).

Golly. It’s as if no dragnet exists, even in spite of NSA claims they used that very same dragnet to gain “peace of mind” after the attack.

We won’t learn any more of this claim unless and until the defense appeals this decision.

But FBI’s claimed inability to access Dzhokhar’s text messages in this case does seem remarkable.

31 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    I wish they’d admit that they can’t find terrorists before they do anything, and then it’s traditional police work that catches them, not the NSA/CIA/FBI flashy surveillance stuff that does the job.

  2. guest says:

    At first I thought these two guys were dummies who just panicked. But after seeing what happened to the other guy connected to the Tsarnaev brothers killed in custody, I can’t say I blame these two for ditching that backpack.
    As usual, it looks like the government is hiding something, either exculpatory for the defendants, or more likely inculpatory for the spooks.

  3. bevin says:

    “At first I thought these two guys were dummies who just panicked. But after seeing what happened to the other guy connected to the Tsarnaev brothers killed in custody, I can’t say I blame these two for ditching that backpack.”

    “And finally, for $64,000, why was he executed in Florida?

    And when will we be told something a bit more convincing than ‘He was a martial arts expert, and we, all seven of us, were afraid that he was going to pick up the table and bludgeon us to death serially. Luckily we were armed and he, apart from the table, was not.’

  4. Laura McGarry says:

    The NSA scandal, including all the hoopla regarding and coming from Snowden, appears to be a distraction. The government, and I mean all three branches in collusion, is committing crimes against the people.

    Government is well aware that most people care not about anything until they are personally affect. It appears the government is is ensuring they direct the focus of the greater mass.

    The docket of Tsarnaev’s buddies certainly does have some missing docket numbers and entries without docket numbers but their docket looks A+ compared to the docket on the Tsarnaev case, which is an , in whole, simulated criminal case.

    The other boys under Judge Woodlock are having what looks like legitimate hearings with the clerk note’s entered on the court’s ALL Recent Orders docket. I collect the master docket of the court daily because I noticed starting with the appointment of Judy Clarke that Tsarnaev’s orders were fraudulent.

    I have written what is going on and provided the PDF court records from PACER with my analysis of this not only fraud upon the court but fraud upon the people. I have never found Tsarnaev with a BOP inmate search.

    I encourage you to take a look and not only I but our future generations would appreciate full blown exposure of these corrupt people are pulling.

    Truth supported by evidence in public record that shows fraud and the willful ignoring of rule driven process must not be ignored; doing so would leave all next generations in the hands of tyranny with no legitimate justice system.

    The Boston Marathon Bombing is a massive fraud perpetrated upon the American people and the FAKE criminal proceedings is all the proof needed. Real crime with real victims gets real court!

    If the fact that the legal and healthcare communities helped a rogue government, where all three branches collude, pull off a massive fraud against the people should chill every American to the very bone.

    There are links inside the links that will take you to more records, graphics and analysis.

    We have filings by both the defense and the prosecution that are actually constructed on and entered from court computers. Any filing undersigned by Judy Clarke is fraudulent. There are filings undersigned by one of the members of The Federal Public Defense team coming from the court computers and when you check the properties the author says Judy Clarke. The notice of intent to seek the death penalty came from a court computer and is not signed by Carmen Ortiz as the statute directs. The illegitimate nature of this case just goes on and on and on. If after you look at the court record analysis and supporting evidence you may be interested in take a look at the analysis and all the evidence supported fraud regarding the event.

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks you for your comment. That said, some of this is just baloney. There are a myriad of reasons the “PDF info” may or may not line up with what YOU expect; the fact that it does not doesn’t necessarily mean squat.

      And your claim about Judy’s filings being “fraudulent” is simply laughable. Here are the attorneys of record in the case: Bruck, Chakravarty, Clarke, Conrad, Fick, Pellegrini, Segal, Watkins and Weinreb. If the court recognizes them as attorneys of record for either the government or defendant, and the court clearly does so here, that is that. Your claims of “fraud”, “FAKE criminal proceedings” and “illegitimate nature of this case” are simply specious and, quite frankly, laughable.

      • Laura McGarry says:

        I would wager you know nothing of court rules or process. Not only is the appointment of Judy Clarke fraudulent so are multiple other orders. This is a process that is driven by rules that MUST be followed without leeway and it is not happening. I have every master docket of the court that show that far too many orders in this case only make it to the case docket and not where they need to be to make them true orders of the court.

        I would guess you are shooting your opinion without reviewing what was presented to support my position. The documents coming from the prosecution and the defense that have the tracking data are coming from court computers. Nothing is more irritating than receiving a counter response based on nothing but an empty opinion.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, how would I EVER learn anything about “court rules or process” during 25 plus years of actually practicing criminal law?


          You may have a bunch of documents, but you clearly don’t know dick shit about what they mean in relation to a criminal prosecution. This is 9/11 truther level quackery. And you also obviously have no clue who we are here, or you wouldn’t make such silly assertions about relative experience.

          By the way, how much was your “wager”, and where can I collect my winnings?

          • leona says:

            Sorry, bmaz, but Laura makes a much more compelling argument here. Perhaps the next time you speak an opinion with such authority, you may want to: not resort to ad hominem attacks, refute the argument with facts, & try to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

            • bmaz says:

              Well, I tell you what. Next time YOU want to blithely wander in somewhere and spew a bunch of looney tunes bullshit, disconnected from reality in actual criminal practice, maybe check where you are going so as to not land where people actually practice criminal defense for a living. And if you or “Laura” want to talk about facts, you ought bring them instead of ginned up conspiratorial bullshit.

              • leona says:

                I’ll wander anywhere I want. I’ll also express any and all looney tunes bullshit that I want. Guess what? There’s nothing you can do about it!! I would think a lawyer with 25 years of practice would be more familiar with the First Amendment, not to mention rhetoric.

                • bmaz says:

                  That’s just dandy. May I suggest you will find more fertile grounds somewhere else, we don’t traffic in conspiracy/truther bunk here.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Good. And I have so suggested it. If you and Ms. McGarry want to propagate ridiculous truther arguments, it will have to be somewhere else . It is not acceptable behavior here and, yes, I can indeed so something about it as I am a site administrator.


                      Secondly, while there is a local rule, DMass Local Rule 83.5.2, that specifies:


                      (a) Generally. The filing of the complaint shall constitute an appearance by the attorney who signs it. All other appearances in a case shall be made by filing a notice of appearance containing the docket number of the case, name, address and telephone number of the person entering an appearance, in compliance with Rule 5.1(a)(1).


                      That in no way, shape or form mandates or suggests that  failure of technical compliance renders the prosecution “fraudulent” “fake” or otherwise illegitimate, and there is no case law that supports such a conclusion. The argument is ludicrous on its face. Courts have the inherent supervisory power to accept whatever appearance they want on the record, and it is quite common for attorneys to notice appearances in open court; in fact I do it all the time. It is better practice to follow up with a written notice of appearance, but it does not always occur and it certainly does not render the matter, or the attorney’s appearance, null and/or fraudulent. For Ms. McGarry to say otherwise is absurd, and it is a disservice to the readers of this blog to intentionally misinform and mislead them so.


                      Lastly, here are the applicable docket entries from the CR docket and the initial MJ docket that was merged into it. Note all attorneys are appropriately noted by the court from either notices, pro hac vice applications and/or appearance on the record in open court and acceptance of appearance by the court:



                      02/21/2014 192 Judge George A. OToole, Jr: ORDER entered. CJA 30: Appointment of Attorney David Isaac Bruck in Death Penalty Proceedings as to Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. (Tran, Henry) (Entered: 02/26/2014)

                      CASE #: 1:13-mj-02106-MBB-1

                      06/27/2013 Terminated merged defendant case for Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, pending deadlines, motions, and excludables. Criminal Case Number: 13cr10200-GAO…FELONY INDICTMENT RETURNED ON 6/27/2013… (Catino3, Theresa) (Entered: 06/27/2013)
                      05/08/2013 31 NOTICE OF ATTORNEY APPEARANCE Nadine Pellegrini appearing for USA. (Pellegrini, Nadine) (Entered: 05/08/2013)
                      05/06/2013 26 Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler: ORDER entered. ORDER APPOINTING FEDERAL DEFENDER PROGRAM as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (O’Keefe, Marie) (Entered: 05/06/2013)
                      05/02/2013 Attorney update in case as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Attorney Judy Clarke added. (Garvin, Brendan) (Entered: 05/02/2013)
                      05/02/2013 Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered granting 17 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (1). (Bowler, Marianne) (Entered: 05/02/2013)
                      05/01/2013 17 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Judy Clarke as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit in support)(Garvin, Brendan) (Entered: 05/01/2013)
                      04/29/2013 37 Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler: ORDER entered. CJA 30: Appointment of Attorney Judy Clarke in Death Penalty Proceedings as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Leboff, Barbara) (Entered: 05/15/2013)
                      04/29/2013 15 Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler: ORDER entered. as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev re 10 MOTION to Appoint Counsel filed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The motion (Docket Entry 10 ) is ALLOWED to the extent that Attorney Clarke is appointed to represent the defendant.
                      04/22/2013 Attorney update in case as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Attorney Conrad, Fick, Watkins added. (Garvin, Brendan) (Entered: 04/22/2013)
                      04/22/2013 7 ELECTRONIC Clerk’s Notes for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler:Initial Appearance as to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev held on 4/22/2013 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Court advises the defendant of his rights and the charges against him. Government states the maximum penalties and moves for detention. Defendant agrees to an order of voluntary detention without prejudice. Defendant declines to answer bail questions and assents to a probable cause hearing on May 30, 2013 at 10:00am. Court is satisfied that the defendant is alert and able to respond to the charges. Defendant is remanded from the custody of the FBI agents present to the U.S. Marshals. (Probable cause hearing set for 5/30/2013 10:00 AM in Courtroom 25 before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler.) (Attorneys present: Weinreb for the Government. Fick for the defendant.)Court Reporter Name and Contact or digital recording information: James Gibbons ([email protected]). (Garvin, Brendan) (Entered: 04/22/2013)
                    • Laura McGarry says:

                      These are sham proceedings and his defense team is a farce. Not one Defense attorney is on the record under a legitimate order and the filings undersigned with Judy Clarke’s name are coming from court computers. There are even two filings, one undersigned by Conrad and the other by Watkins, that came from court computers and interestingly the author block in the properties of the PDF names Judy Clarke.

                      Further, the Magistrate Judge had no authority to appoint Judy Clarke under the Criminal Justice Act; the Defendant, peculiar in itself considering this was a capital offense, had not yet been assigned a US District Judge therefore the appointment of an out of state lawyer had to come from the Chief Judge of the Court.

                      Docket (dkt) #69 and #73 undersigned with the name Judy Clarke had data under the custom selection of the PDF properties and named “company” Company -> #69 Company -> Washington & Lee University | #73 Company -> Federal Public Defender Office | <- this data can be changed by anyone drafting a document before they turn the document into a PDF. Further, Judy Clarke would not be drafting documents from the Federal Public Defender Office and with dkt. #69 having Washington & Lee University under the Custom data which was filed July 15, 2013 the fact that this is a sham is verified. By admission of these Judy Clarke impostors dkt. #73, which had the Federal Public Defender Office under the Custom selection and disappeared completely off the docket shortly after it was filed on July 26,2013 stated, " My primary home and office is in San Diego, California; I will also live part time this coming academic year (or possibly only the fall), in Lexington, Virginia teaching at Washington & Lee law school." Dkt. #73 filed July 26, 2013 remains one of the many docket numbers missing from the docket which at present totals 53.

                      This new motion for a protective order has a proposed order with the motion that reinforces the protective order from August which was processed in a fashion that leaves it not a true order of the court and the Defense signature block has Judy Clarke's name. Are they trying to get a US District Judge to sign off on the fraudulent order?

                      Keep in mind, the court does not use a digital electronic signature and the staff of this court can type a signature /s/anybodytheywant and file from a court computer. The notices of electronic filing (NEF) that bear a digital document number are delivered to the recipient upon a court delivered document or ELECTRONIC ORDER to his or her email from the court; these notices (NEF) are not public record and the staff of this court, including, at the moment, the appearance that we have judges included, are DEFRAUDING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. (this court also has a history of sending invalid NEF's that bear no digital document number)

                      Further, it appears someone is electronically forging the name of Judy Clarke and, also, her hand signature on a legally deficient affidavit and other documents including the bogus protective order dkt #91.

                      Supporting evidence of these allegations including the PDF court records can be seen at… The, in whole, fraud that is going on with this case including an explaination of the PDF properties can be viewed at

                    • bmaz says:

                      This is just absolute crazy talk, you do not appear to have the slightest clue about operation and use by attorneys of record and the court of the ECF system. It is literally gibberish. And we do not permit ludicrous and patently misleading truther content here. GO ELSEWHERE TO PEDDLE YOUR CONSPIRACY BUNK. This is your last warning.

                    • bmaz says:

                      You need professional help, and it is not from an attorney. The only reason your delusional and misleading content is still here is because nobody is watching this thread anymore. If I see this kind of misleading and crazy in any active thread of mine in the future, I will deal with you and it appropriately in a heartbeat. Find another forum to peddle your wares, we don’t do that here.

                    • Laura McGarry says:

                      Clearly you have a problem with actual evidence and legitimate process, and being called out when you are wrong!. When in active practice did you call your opposition crazy every time you lost??

                      I don’t think the same rules that are posted at the US Courts site that I have cited here regarding the appointment of Clarke can be determined to be misleading even by you! You cited the local rules and misleading your readers diminished the legal meaning of the word “shall”.

                      § 210.30.30 Pro Hac Vice Appointments

                      (a)If the district judge presiding over the case, or the chief judge if a district judge has not yet been assigned to the case, determines that the appointment of an attorney, who is not a member of the CJA panel, is in the interest of justice, judicial economy or continuity of representation, or there is some other compelling circumstance warranting the attorney’s appointment, the attorney may be admitted to the CJA panel pro hac vice and appointed to represent the CJA defendant.

                      (b)Consideration for preserving the integrity of the panel selection process suggests that pro hac vice appointments should be made only in exceptional circumstances.

                      (c)The attorney, who may or may not maintain an office in the district, should possess such qualities as would qualify the attorney for admission to the district’s CJA panel in the ordinary course of panel selection.

                    • scribe says:

                      Are you the lady who wrote the myriad of entries on Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby-winning racehorse who broke his leg and was treated for a long time at a veterinary hospital before finally having to be put down? I’ve missed her for a long time and would more than welcome her return to the blogosphere. I think your comments are quite valuable and a treasure for the lawyers in the audience.

                    • Laura McGarry says:

                      You sir are a dishonest attorney! #Done – I have no tolerance for such BS, and you merely validate that our legal community is just as rogue as our corrupt government!!

                    • Laura McGarry says:

                      Sorry scribe my last comment was meant for bmaz! I’m not worried about whether he sees it or not because it will just roll off someone who suffers from such psychopathy!!

                    • scribe says:

                      Don’t go! I’ve missed you and your wisdom for so long, since Barbaro went to the Rainbow Bridge what is it, seven or eight years ago? please, share more of your pearls of wisdom and counsel with us and give us the benefit of your good sense. Your prose is like a wild river, running pure and clear, ice-cold and bracing.

                      Pleease don’t go!

                    • bmaz says:

                      Was Barbaro even legally in the Preakness? FRAUD! FAKE HORSE RACE! heck, Barbaro is probably still alive!


                      Better get on that with all your legal skills McGrath!

                    • bmaz says:

                      No, my “problem” is with crazy nutters who don’t have a clue about what they are talking about and relentlessly lie and mislead our readers. You have not presented evidence, you have presented gibberish that misinterprets and misrepresents the most common and rote procedures in trial level courts. When you say “in active practice” do I call opponents “crazy”? You mean like the last time I was in court against a lay person who thought they knew something and were spewing pure unadulterated bullshit? Sure, did just that last week. And the court agreed with me.
                      Your arguments on Clarke are meritless. The pro had vice application was made and accepted by the court. That is simply the end of the story. Everything done here in relation to admission of attorneys has been done within the rules and or supervisory power of the court to conduct its business. And it is all as common and accepted practice in courts in every district as is imaginable. I would say you are in left field with this bunk, but that would be giving you credit for being in the ballpark, which you are not even close to.

                    • leona says:

                      Evidence and a cogent argument, thank you. Was that so hard? Or, is it just more fun to ridicule and bully people who, by your own definition, are mentally ill? Poor form, counselor.
                      By the way, I never mentioned any conspiracy. I specifically addressed your online behavior, which is not acceptable on planet Earth.

      • Laura McGarry says:

        LOL, I had to refresh on who Segal was so I pulled up my downloaded attorney sheet. Apparently you believe because their names appear herein the “record” that they are legitimately before the court. NEWS FLASH – your wrong!!

        • bmaz says:

          Segal is an interested party attorney from the ACLU; the others are all attorneys of record for either the plaintiff government or the defendant Tsarnaev. Which leaves your theories deeply mired in tin foil hat looney toons land. And, yeah, if they are officially docketed as attorneys of record for either the government of defendant, the court has indeed recognized them as such.

          You literally don’t know your little conspiracy theory ass from a freaking hole in the ground. Be gone.

          Oh, and “LOL” yourself.

  5. TarheelDem says:

    As was seen in the NATO 3 trial, all this legal wrangling and prosecutorial delay prolongs the time that the accused is held in jail pending trial and constitutes a kind of pre-trial punishment.

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