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Marathon suspect seeks dismissal of some charges

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:51 a.m. CDT

BOSTON — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will argue for dismissal of some of the charges against him during a court hearing a day after the anniversary of the deadly blasts.

Tsarnaev's lawyers will also make additional arguments on their request to lift special prison restrictions placed on Tsarnaev while he awaits trial for allegedly setting off homemade bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260.

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. said in an electronic notice Wednesday that a hearing on those requests will be held on April 16.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a 30-count indictment. His lawyers say in their motion that many of the charges are redundant and could prejudice jurors against him while they are weighing whether to find him guilty and, if convicted, whether to sentence him to death. More than half the charges carry the possibility of the death penalty.

Prosecutors have not yet responded to the motion.

Tsarnaev's lawyers have argued that restrictions placed on him in prison are limiting his interactions with people helping his defense team.

The "special administrative measures" prohibit providing information to people outside the prison.

O'Toole agreed to ease some of the restrictions earlier, but Tsarnaev's lawyers filed a new request last month to lift them.

Prosecutors have argued that the restrictions are necessary because of Tsarnaev's "commitment to jihad" and his "widespread notoriety."

Authorities allege that Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, built two pressure-cooker bombs and placed them near the finish line of the marathon. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police several days after the explosions.

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