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April 30, 2013

Boston suspect’s defense team gets major boost

BOSTON — The defense team representing the Boston Marathon bombing suspect got a major boost Monday with the addition of Judy Clarke, a San Diego lawyer who has won life sentences instead of the death penalty for several high-profile clients, including the Unabomber and the gunman in the rampage that injured former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Clarke’s appointment was approved Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.

The judge denied, at least for now, a request from Miriam Conrad, the public defender of 19-year-old suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to appoint a second death penalty lawyer, David Bruck, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line.

The suspect’s lawyers could renew their motion to appoint another death penalty expert if he is indicted, the judge said.

Tsarnaev’s mother has staunchly defended him, calling the bombing allegations against him lies.

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