The Boston court started jury selection for the trial of Azamat Tazhayakov, a Kazakhstani student accused of obstructing justice and conspiring to destroy evidences in relation to the Boston bombings case, tengrinews reports citing RIA Novosti.
Earlier, Tazhayakov’s lawyer Matthew Meyers requested a judge to question potential jury about they attitude to Muslims and ask other questions to eliminate any possible bias against the Kazakhstani student. The lawyer of the defendant also insisted that potential juries were asked whether they had any relatives or acquaintances who were injured in the Boston bombings.
Before that Tazhayakov was offered to plead guilty in exchange for a milder sentence, but his lawyer turned the offer down. The defense will have to convince the court not to take Tazhayakov’s statement that he gave without his lawyer during a long interview with the law enforcement authorities days after the bombings. The Federal Judge Douglas Woodlock said that he might declare mistrial in case he found out that Tazhayakov’s statement had been involuntary.
According to previous reports, Tazhayakov was taken to a police station in the middle of the night for questioning after the bombings. He studied at the same school in the U.S. with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the main suspect in the bombings case. They boys new each other in passing because they both spoke Russian in the English-speaking country and met at various event on several occasions. The police then told Tazhayakov that he was there to help, which he did. Then he found out that he was accused on obstructing justice and his parents had to get him a lawyer.