Boston Bombings

BOSTON BOMBING TRIAL: FBI Testimony Collapses Under Scrutiny from Defense

Boston Marathon bomb trial: FBI agent mistakes Grozny for Mecca in Twitter photo


  • Agent misidentified Twitter account photo of Grozny as Mecca
  • Tweets revealed to be jokes from Comedy Central TV shows and pop lyrics


The Guardian
March 10, 2015


Sparks flew in a federal courtroom in Boston on Tuesday in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the younger and only survivor of two brothers accused of perpetrating the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing – as the testimony of an FBI agent and witness for the prosecution collapsed under cross-examination by the defence.

Tsarnaev’s defence attorney Miriam Conrad surgically deconstructed testimony given late on Monday by an FBI agent that looked at Tsarnaev’s Twitter accounts – and embarrassed the FBI by showing them to have misidentified a picture of a mosque in Grozny, Chechnya, as the Muslim holy site of Mecca.


On Monday, FBI special agent Steven Kimball showed the court the front page of a second Twitter account that he alleged also belonged to Tsarnaev, and read out tweets from his separate personal account that played into the prosecution’s picture of Tsarnaev as a callous, radicalised killer.

On Tuesday, when Conrad placed those tweets in context, much of Kimball’s testimony was made to look like the result of cynically selective representation by the prosecution.



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