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3 More People Detained in Boston Case; Rep. Peter King Discusses Additional Arrests.
Aired May 1, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Is there often a strategy that's employed by authorities that might arrest a broad net of people in order to try to squeeze to the center of whatever alleged conspiracy might happen?
ISAAC BORENSTEIN, RETIRED MASSACHUSETTS SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: As long as they have probable cause.
BANFIELD: With the probable cause I suggest it's because there is very little information and any information can lead to larger leads whether they're overseas or over here. And if you interrogate people, they talk.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What do you think they're holding these kids who don't have appropriate visas? You don't usually detain people who don't have visas. They're squeezing them. They're trying a threat, taking away their ability to be in the country in exchange for information. I'm sure they're telling them, you want to stay in America, fine, tell us what you know. If you have something to tell us, you can stay. If not, you're out of here.
BANFIELD: You're out of here or you're here for a lot longer.
BORENSTEIN: Part of the defense team and what I'm thinking, these three new people, what do they know about my young client? Can they point to who was the more responsible, who was the controlling factor between them?
There's so much history we've heard at Cambridge's wrestle team, people that know him, who would have never imagined him to be a part of this. If these three people can point to one of these things, that's helpful to the defense.
DERSHOWITZ: The defense wouldn't have immediate access do them because the FBI will say, we're not letting you interview. At some point, the defense will have access to them if they choose to speak to them. Now if the --
BANFIELD: They'll have access to their defense right away afterward right? DERSHOWITZ: Sure. I'm talking about the three people who were arrested, the defendants in the major cause may want to speak to them to show mitigating factors. It won't be so easy for them to get access to these three new arrestees.
BANFIELD: What do I know at this point? Just the logistics, if you will, about a federal arrest or being taken into the custody of the FBI? How does it mechanically play out? Where are they? What's happening? How are they being treated? How are they being processed?
DERSHOWITZ: Normally, when you have an arrest it's followed by an appearance in front of a judge within a reasonable period of time. Nothing is normal about this case, and so we don't know. The FBI may decide to keep them in detention, not to bring them in front of a judge. They probably don't have lawyers at this point. There's a lot of flexibility if they're willing to risk not being able to use statements they make in their criminal case.
BANFIELD: Let me interrupt you for a moment.
I want to go to Brian Todd who's standing by live.
Brian, you're aware of the tweets. Confirmed by the Boston police, three suspects in custody. More details to follow. What have you been able to glean?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, a source with knowledge of the case of the two Kazakhstani students tells us it's the source's understanding that those two students are going to be charged with obstruction of justice. This source says this is by way of complaint. This source says he believes the complaint is still under seal. According to the source, they're going to make an appearance in federal court later today, these two students who went to college with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. There names are Dias Kadyrhayev and Azamat Tazhayakov. This source says it is the understanding now that they are going to be charged with obstruction of justice. When I asked the source about the third suspect, the source did not know who that was.
BANFIELD: Obstruction of justice. Brian, are these the two that face a court hearing this morning?
TODD: It's our understanding, according to the source, that they were the same two students from Kazakhstan that faced a hearing this morning on immigration. These are the two students that have been held on the visa violations.
BANFIELD: You heard what he's reporting.
DERSHOWITZ: It's a very, very weak charge. It's really a waste-paper category charge. It's very hard to prove obstruction of justice. It doesn't carry particularly harsh criminal penalties. If that's the best the feds have now, then they're just squeezing. It doesn't sound like they have very much new here.
BORENSTEIN: I would agree. BANFIELD: Again, when I talk about the squeezing that we talked about earlier, this is really squeezing because again, there was no need to charge them and hold them. They were already in detention.
BORENSTEIN: This may be a government looking for ways to rebut what happened, which is he had a minor role. This is one way to squeeze friends of his who were in college with him to say he bragged about it. He said he had no remorse.
BANFIELD: I wonder if the squeezing goes both ways. They go to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and say guess who we have now, and you might want to help them.
BORENSTEIN: They simply got lawyers.
BANFIELD: I think we had our Pam Brown on the line a moment ago, but we just lost our connection with her. While we wait to reestablish, that is another tactic I wanted to ask you about. Not every defendant is the same. Some are much weaker minded than others. Does that have an affect on someone like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
DERSHOWITZ: It matters how strong his lawyers are. His lawyers are going to be doing the talking for him and a lot of thinking for him. His lawyers are going to be delivering the news to him and framing the issue and telling him, this is only an obstruction of justice. You have nothing to worry about. But there may be something to worry about. These may develop into more serious charges. But at the moment, it sounds like it's just a continuation of what might be brought.
BANFIELD: A long-practicing attorney with plenty of intransigent clients, the clients always make final decisions, correct?
DERSHOWITZ: Not always. The client is supposed to make final decisions.
DERSHOWITZ: Tough lawyers tell clients what to do and clients often listen to their lawyers. In the end the lawyer makes the decision for the client in many cases like this. The client either accepts it or rejects it.
BANFIELD: Let me jump in for a moment with Pam Brown, CNN correspondent.
What do you know about this latest development, Pam?
PAM BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, I just spoke to a Department of Homeland Security source with firsthand knowledge of this investigation and I am told the two students who were arrested a couple of weeks ago, who were held in custody a couple weeks ago on administrative visa charges, have now been arrested for making false statements and conspiracy to obstruct justice. We know now there's a third suspect arrested in this case. All I'm told at this point is that that third suspect is a U.S. citizen and sources tell us that is not Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Because everything is under seal right now, they are not able to elaborate on who that suspect is other than saying it is a U.S. citizen.
We know these two students from Kazakhstan, who went to school with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were arrested a couple of weeks ago. Initially authorities thought Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding out in their apartment in Watertown. Authorities did not find Dzhokhar there, but arrested the students after finding they didn't have current student visas. And now we know, we have found out that today those two students have been arrested for false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice. We do expect them in the federal courthouse later today.
BANFIELD: Just, Pam, if you would repeat the issue with regard to that third U.S. citizen. Your sources say it is not, not Katherine Russell, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder and now dead brother's wife, widow?
BROWN: I'm being told by several sources at this stage it is not Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. We know FBI agents have been visiting her house, her parents' house, in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. We know they have been questioning her. But at this point, we're hearing that she is not the third suspect that was arrested this morning. That doesn't mean that down the road she might not face charges, but at this point I'm being told it is not her.
This third suspect is a U.S. citizen. Documents seal right now, so I don't have anymore details on who that third suspect is.
BANFIELD: She is clearly under investigation, just given the volume of material that was taken out of her house by investigators yesterday. One of those clear plastic bags labeled DNA evidence.
Pam Brown, standby.
Alan Dershowitz, want to make a quick comment about that reporting?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, in fact, if there is a charge of making false statements to the police and conspiracy, those are very serious charges. Most people don't know, if you talk to a federal agent, not under oath, just talk to them and tell them a lie, you have committed a federal crime. When they investigate people like these young men without a lawyer, and if these guys just fib a little bit about their background, every fib they tell is potentially a five-year felony. This can become a very serious crime, which can be used to squeeze even tighter and get more information.
BANFIELD: Important to just remind our viewers, we don't know who the third suspect is at this point. As Pamela Brown just reported, according to her sources, it is not the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Certainly the investigation continues.
Don't go anywhere. I have a lot more questions for you as this information continues to development. Again, if you're just joining us, the breaking news the Boston police the first to tweet out the information that three more suspects have been arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing. There are further details to follow. Two of the students with whom the younger Dzhokhar Tsarnaev brother was living with at the university of Massachusetts campus are those two students who are originally being hold on immigration violations. The third is a U.S. citizen, but it is not Katy Russell, the now widow of the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
We're taking a 90-second break, but a lot more details to follow after this.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to our breaking news out of Boston. CNN confirming what the Boston police tweeted within the hour and that three more suspects are now in custody of the FBI in relation to the Boston Marathon bombings. They were brought in within the last few hours. They are being held. We can tell you a department of Homeland Security source with firsthand knowledge of this investigation tells CNN these were two New Bedford students that were brought in on charges of making false statements to police and obstruction of justice. There is a third student that's been arrested. It is an American citizen. This third citizen is not the now widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who is also accused in the Boston bombings but was killed before being taken into custody. His brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in custody. Now we hear three more people brought into custody facing charges in this case.
Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst, is on the phone now.
Jeffrey, I want to get your perspective on this latest breaking news.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): I think it is important to take a deep breath and find out what in -- there are two categories of offenses here. One is you're actually talking about conspirators in the bombing. The other category is people who may have lied and covered up, but were not involved in the bombing. Both are serious, but the first category is a great deal more serious. We don't know yet which category they fall into.
DERSHOWITZ: I think we have a pretty good idea.
BANFIELD: Before you break in on that, I want to give a little bit more breaking news courtesy of the Boston bombing. Regarding the investigation, this was posted by police department, "Please be advised, there is not a threat to public safety. Three additional suspects have been taken into custody in connection to the attack on the Boston Marathon. There is no additional information to release at this time. Additional details will be provided when they become available. No info available at this time relative to a preference."
That coming to us from a Boston Police Department.
Judge, you just mentioned it is only going to be a matter of hours before we find out what's happening. But the judicial process is rolling.
BORENSTEIN: Absolutely. They'll make an appearance without unnecessary delay.
BANFIELD: And there's no public safety issue at this point, at least that's what the Boston police are saying.
BORENSTEIN: Two of these folks have been in custody for some time and subject to questioning I'm sure.
BANFIELD: Does this matter that the Boston police say there is no public safety issue or is it the federal authorities that need to say that?
BORENSTEIN: I think this matters. It's just because there are other people involved don't go out of your house.
BANFIELD: I'm talking about the Miranda issue.
BORENSTEIN: There is some relevance of whether Miranda applied or not. But it bears some relevance.
BANFIELD: Let me reiterate -- and I'll get your comments in a moment -- we need to be very clear, these suspects, at this point, we don't believe at this point they were involved in the planning or executing of this bombing. This is an entirely different set of circumstances for which they have been brought into custody. They have not been charged with anything related to the bombing itself.
Continue your thought, Alan.
DERSHOWITZ: At the very least, we know this. They haven't been charged with anything involved in the bombing the charges would be conspiracy to do the acts for which the other man has already been charged. It sounds like at this point in time the only evidence they have is actions that took place after the bombing, as Jeffrey Toobin says, very serious, but very different from involvement in the bombing. It may develop they were involved with the bombing, but they're not being charged with that at this point.
BANFIELD: I want to bring in Juliette Kayyem. I don't know if she's on camera or on telephone. Juliette Kayyem, former Homeland Security Official.
If you could weigh in with what you know and what you have from your sources and perspective on this new breaking news.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: This has been sort of percolating for the last couple of days. Those of us who know public safety here have been hearing there would be additional arrests. Everyone remembers from a few weeks ago, I guess, or about a week ago, there were those New Bedford investigations. That is carrying on. To reiterate, the fact the Boston police did it is because the Boston police oversee a city that is still nervous. These investigations take many forms and no one needs to get too worried about this that there was a massive plot or conspiracy. It does look like this has to do with after the fact, either discussions or collaborations. I think those are very significant, as Jeff was saying, because at this stage, you know, whatever the brothers said to at least two of the students, and the third, we don't know who that is, in terms of their escape plan, in terms of where they hid stuff or evidentiary material in a court case that will proceed will be relevant. So this charge is probably being used by federal authorities as both a carrot and a stick. Very, very nervous they will be facing a long time in jail unless they cooperate fully and honestly. There's a big threat behind this as well. Probably, as everyone is saying, not related to public safety today. That why, what does it matter if Boston police did it. Anyone who lives there is probably grateful the Boston police came out first. I suspect that was a strategy.
BANFIELD: Perhaps more significant for the people who live here than perhaps the strategy of Miranda issue in the 48 hours, whatever the 48 hour issue is at this stage of jurisprudence in this country.
I want to alert you to a live picture we have. I believe this is over the federal courthouse. I want our production team that I'm seeing. I think that's the aerial view of the federal courthouse here?
Judge, are familiar with the aerial view of the federal courthouse?
BORENSTEIN: It is. It is the federal courthouse.
BANFIELD: And obviously, that will be activity today.
After the break, I want you to mechanically take me through the process as it pertains to what will be happening there in the ensuing, I'm assuming, hours. And also I want to talk a little bit about the consequences for the kinds of charges that we are potentially, you know, facing here for these three suspects. Already the Department of Homeland Security telling us that these will be charges of making false statements to obstruct justice in the case of the Boston Marathon bombings.
We are going to take a very brief break. We're going to analyze exactly what our teams there on the ground at the courthouse are finding out as well as further investigation into exactly what the authorities know about these suspects.
Back in a moment.
BANFIELD: Breaking news here in Boston. The Boston police say they have taken three additional people into custody now with regard to the marathon bombing case. Additional Boston police information, they're tweeting out, "Please be advised there's not a threat to public safety. Three additional people have been taken into custody in connection to the attack on the Boston Marathon. There's no additional information to be released at this time." But clearly, there's a lot more information still to be unearthed in this particular case.
Judge Borenstein and Alan Dershowitz are still here.
I asked before the break, if you could take me through the machinations of what federal authorities and these people going into custody will be going through as they speak.
BORENSTEIN: They will be appearing, I assume, before Judge Bowler this afternoon to be informed of the charges against them. A detention hearing --
BANFIELD: Why the Judge Bowler, the same judge in the bombing case?
BORENSTEIN: She's familiar with the case. She's handled this matter already. She is a federal court. She's a good judge. It will be in front of her. There will be advice formally by her of the charges. They will plead not guilty. They will have the right to detention hearing, probably will put that off, continue the detention hearing. They're probably meeting with attorneys right now.
BANFIELD: This quickly?
BORENSTEIN: This quickly.
BANFIELD: They've been afforded attorneys this quickly?
BORENSTEIN: If I'm Judge Bowler, I'm making sure is -- well, the federal public defender probably has a conflict so you're getting private attorney. They are entitled to a private defense attorney appointed under the criminal justice act.
BANFIELD: Alan Dershowitz, do you think they would be afforded Miranda this quickly and counsel this quickly, given the nature the federal government would like to find out prior to giving them those rights given the heat the federal government has faced in the last week?
DERSHOWITZ: I think it depends on what they've gotten from them already. Two of them have been in custody. They may already have lawyers for their immigration matter. The lawyers could not be denied access to them if the lawyers sought access to them.
But I suspect there may be some delays and flexibility and fudging around the edges if the FBI would like to get more information they haven't already gotten from them.
BANFIELD: I understand our constitutional right to speedy procedure, but this is awfully speedy considering they were just taken into custody.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, there's really no constitutional right to an immediate appearance before a judge. Those are mostly rules and statutes. The speedy trial doesn't come into operation until weeks and months. So there is some fluidity and flexibility. And it all depends on what the goal is. There may be some conflict. Prosecutors may be saying we want to make sure we convict these people. FBI agents may be saying we don't care as much about conviction, we want to squeeze them for information. So we're not sure exactly what the procedure will be. We know what it should be, but we don't know what it will be.
BANFIELD: This is such an unusual case.
If you could standby for one moment, I understand representative Peter King from New York is now on the phone with us.
Representative King, if you can hear me, I'd like to get your thoughts. You've been very outspoken on this exact issue that Alan Dershowitz and I are discussing right now. I want to know what you may be privy to in Congress with this latest development, sir.
REP. PETER KING, (R), NEW YORK (ph): First of all, this is part of an ongoing investigation. And this basically is, I believe, going to involve three students who helped to -- allegedly helped to dispose of evidence or to remove evidence. And that's what this is going to be about. Two of them, you know, had been in custody on visa violations. The other one is an American citizen who has been picked up.
BANFIELD: And are you being briefed at all? I know this is a very early stage of this investigation. But are you being briefed at all with regard to your committee status with what's happening here?
KING: No. I was just told this through personal contacts that I have.
BANFIELD: And what are they telling you that you are able to broadcast?
KING: Well, basically that these were, you know, three students who knew the younger terrorist, the surviving defendant. And they were involved in disposing of evidence. That's the allegation. Exactly whether that's going to be obstruction of justice and having a charge or not, I'm not certain.
BANFIELD: And obviously, I think you might have been able to hear as you were waiting to start this interview with me live that Alan Dershowitz and I were talking about public counsel to be assigned to these people brought in and facing charges. I would like to get your thoughts on that because you've been very outspoken about the amount of time afforded to investigators prior to Mirandizing Tsarnaev here at the hospital.
KING: Yes. I know Alan Dershowitz and I have a disagreement on this, but as far as this particular situation, I don't know if the same. you know, public safety element would apply. You talk about people who are involved after the fact. Again, police may have information indicating existing threat, but if not I don't think public safety would apply. Again, I'm not close enough to comment on that here. BANFIELD: All right. Peter King, I appreciate you taking the time to shed light on this and at least speak with us with regard to this very breaking situation. I do appreciate it, sir. We'll hopefully get more perspective from you in the hours and days to come.
That's all the time that I have from here in Boston. I do appreciate you watching.
We are continuing our coverage of this breaking news. In fact, my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, is going to take over right after this short break. Don't go away.
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We're following important breaking news out of Boston. Police now say three additional people have been detained in the marathon bombing investigation.
Let's bring back Ashleigh Banfield right now.
Ashleigh, you've been working this story.