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Is there a link between Todashev shooting and Tsarnaev trial?

Left: Ibragim Todashev; Right: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Left: Ibragim Todashev; Right: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Despite all the attention stemming from yesterday’s report on the fatal shooting of Ibragim Todashev, some legal analysts wonder what effect that incident will have on the upcoming death penalty case against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev.

The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly poses the question: What role could the Todashev shooting play in the Dzhohkar Tsarnaev trial?

While debate will rage on for a long time about what really happened inside Todashev's Orlando home, it also remains unclear what role the shooting might play in the death penalty case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Todashev was being questioned by law enforcement officials about his connection to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev as well as a 2011 triple homicide in Waltham. The interrogation took place on May 22, 2013 in Todashev’s Orlando home before he was fatally shot. The report cleared the FBI agent involved in the shooting.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, 19, are suspected of planting bombs near the Marathon finish line. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police just days later. Dzhohkar will stand trial in federal court in November.

Defense attorneys filed a motion requesting all documents in the Waltham murder investigation and argued they would provide critical information, but the request was denied, the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports.

"The defendant has not articulated a specific need for these privileged materials," [US District Court Judge George A. O?Toole Jr.] wrote, "much less a need which overrides the need to keep confidential the details of an ongoing investigation."

Whether or not the report by Florida State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton will prompt Dzhohkar Tsarnaev’s defense team to file a new request for those documents is unclear.

(H/T Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly)

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