Defense says bombing suspect’s family key to case

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FILE – This combination of file photos shows brothers Tamerlan, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police several days later, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured and is held in a federal prison on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction. A year after the bombings, prosecutors said they have a trove of evidence to use against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including surveillance video showing him placing one of the bombs just yards from Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who died in the blast. (AP Photos/Lowell Sun and FBI, File)

FILE – This combination of file photos shows brothers Tamerlan, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police several days later, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured and is held in a federal prison on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction. A year after the bombings, prosecutors said they have a trove of evidence to use against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including surveillance video showing him placing one of the bombs just yards from Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who died in the blast. (AP Photos/Lowell Sun and FBI, File)

BOSTON (AP) – Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) have told a judge that understanding their client’s family is key to their case.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers shed some light on their defense strategy as they argued in court Wednesday that the government shouldn’t be allowed to monitor prison visits with his two sisters.

Attorney David Bruck said understanding what happened is mainly “a story of this family and the relationships between people in it.”

Authorities say Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, placed two homemade bombs near the finish line of last year’s marathon.

Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police. The defense has suggested Dzhokhar was heavily influenced by Tamerlan.

Judge George O’Toole Jr. said he is inclined to ease the restrictions placed on Tsarnaev during his sisters’ visits.

Associated Press

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