Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lawyers say FBI tried to make Tamerlan an informant

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2010, file photo, Tamerlan Tsarnaev smiles after accepting the trophy for winning the 2010 New England Golden Gloves Championship in Lowell, Mass. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev befriended Donald Larking, a brain-damaged anti-U.S. government conspiracy theorist, through their mother's health care aide job years before the deadly attack, a lawyer for Larking's family said Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie File) MANDATORY CREDIT
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a police confrontation after his alleged involvement in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings last April.
Julia Malakie//The Lowell Sun via the Associated Press

Defense attorneys for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claim in federal court documents that the FBI sought to turn his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, into an informant on the Chechen and Muslim community. The government has responded that it has “no evidence” of that.

The Boston Globe reports:

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... the defense team cited a March 14 letter in which prosecutors said they had "no evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was solicited by the government to be an informant."

In today’s court filing, lawyers for Dzhokhar requested evidence on Tamerlan from the prosecution. They claimed this information could help with Dzhokhar’s defense.

According to the Associated Press:

The lawyers asked a judge in court filings Friday to order prosecutors to turn over any evidence on brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They say that could help persuade a jury to spare Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty if it supports the defense theory Tamerlan was the "main instigator."

A report from Canadian media outlet Global News said that Tsarnaev’s defense team claimed this week’s House Homeland Security Committee report shows Tamerlan was being “monitored.”

The defence notes that a report issued earlier this week by the House Homeland Security Committee suggests that government agents monitored Tamerlan and his communications during 2011 and possibly 2012. The report said the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted a threat assessment of Tamerlan, an ethnic Chechen from southern Russia, in response to a 2011 alert from the Russian government that he was becoming radicalized.

Dzhokhar?s lawyers wrote: "Any surveillance, evidence, or interviews showing that Tamerlan's pursuit of jihad predated Dzhokhar's would tend to support the theory that Tamerlan was the main instigator of the tragic events that followed."

The Tsarnaev brothers were allegedly involved in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings last April. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a police confrontation, while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces a federal trial that could lead to the death penalty.