Lawyers for Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Tuesday requested that jury selection in his trial be suspended for at least a month, saying the Paris attacks could influence potential jurors.
Tsarnaev`s legal team filed the motion at the US district court in Boston more than a week after jury selection began. The court papers were published by US media.
Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty if convicted over the April 15, 2013 attacks on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264 — the worst such incident in the US since 9/11.
His lawyers said the suspension of jury selection would allow time for “extraordinary prejudice flowing from these events (in France) — and the comparison of those events to those at issue in this case — to diminish.”
They complained that immediately after the attacks in France that left 17 people dead, the press, politicians and commentators had drawn supposed parallels with the Boston bombings.
Jury selection for Tsarnaev`s trial began on January 5 and opening arguments are expected to be heard around January 26. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges.
The Boston marathon attacks plunged the northeastern city into mourning and revived fears of terrorism in the United States more than a decade after the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda plane strikes.
Judge George O`Toole refused a pre-Christmas request from the defense to delay the trial until September 2015.
A Muslim of Chechen descent, Tsarnaev emigrated with his family to the United States in 2002 from Dagestan and became a naturalized American citizen in 2012.
He spent his early childhood in Kyrgyzstan.
He is accused of carrying out the attacks with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police as the pair went on the run in the days immediately after the attacks.
Prosecutors say the brothers prepared bombs based on instructions in Al-Qaeda`s English-language magazine “Inspire.”