Taxpayers Paid for Convicted Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Family Travel Expenses-Truth!

Taxpayers Paid for Convicted Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Family Travel Expenses-Truth!

Summary of eRumors:
Tax dollars paid for Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family to travel to the U.S. during his trial.
The Truth:
This one is true, but it’s not clear exactly how much of the travel expenses were paid for with tax dollars.
News outlets like the Boston Globe and FOX News reported that convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family had arrived to Massachusetts in April 2015 to testify during the death penalty phase of his trial. FOX News reports:

“As of Thursday, family members of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been staying at the Hampton Inn in Revere under very tight security, just one of the things tax dollars are paying for. FOX25’s Sharman Sacchetti investigated how much this trip is costing you.

“Sources say these family members are being called as witnesses and not only that, at least three agencies are working around the clock to protect and transport them. This is all part of the defense team’s strategy to save Tsarnaev. While it’s unclear when their flight started, we know the last part of it came through Amsterdam and landed at Logan Airport and cost nearly $2,500 per person.

“The cost to put them up at the Hampton Inn at the government rate: almost $200 per night, per person. And a source says at least three agencies, the FBI, US Marshal’s and Revere Police are involved in constant protection.”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team was expected to call his relatives to testify about the “impact of being reared in a traditional Chechen Muslim household” as jurors considered the death penalty, the Boston Globe reports:

“The funds to bring Tsarnaev’s overseas relatives to Boston for the trial likely comes from federal money approved by the presiding judge for the defense. George Kendall, a New York attorney who specializes in death penalty cases nationwide, said the court system bears the cost of transporting all witnesses, whether they are an expert from a nearby state or a family member from abroad.

“The defense must prove to the judge that the witnesses are critical for the defense case, in order for their travel to be paid for by the government, but they are not required to take the stand and testify. Legal specialists say the defense could ask for the family witnesses to help provide guidance on the case, but could decide they don’t need each of them to testify.”

Because U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole, who presided over trial, had sealed the majority of documents related tothe Boston Marathon bombing trial, the exact cost of the travel expenses — and of the trial as a whole — are not known, reports:

“Some of the sealed documents could shed light on how many taxpayer dollars are going to pay for Tsarnaev’s defense. But we don’t know. Because they’re sealed. Chris Tritico, who represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, said the high volume of sealed documents could be designed to protect Tsarnaev.

“’It’s important to remember that a defendant’s right to a fair trial trumps the public’s right,’ Tritico said. ‘When the court feels the media attention is so strong, it has to do something to protect the defendant’s rights.’”

Death penalty trails are typically costly for taxpayers. The cost of legal representation alone in death penalty cases averaged about $218,000 through the 1990s. That doesn’t include travel and other costs for witnesses, experts, security and investigators, according to a government report.