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Press Release

Investigation and Prosecution Team in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Case Receive Department of Justice’s Highest Award

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – Seven members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office received the Attorney General’s David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service – the highest honor in the Department of Justice – during a ceremony today at the Justice Department for their role in investigating and prosecuting Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“As the world watched, this extraordinary team worked countless hours, under tremendous pressure, to ensure the successful prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.  “Their efforts went well beyond the normal scope of preparing for a trial, combing through warehouses full of evidence, working closely with the families of the deceased and the many severely injured victims, all in the face of intense media scrutiny and security challenges.  I am honored to work alongside these committed public servants whose collective accomplishments, compassion, and dedication are nothing short of remarkable.”

In prepared remarks, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said, “We also express our gratitude to the team that successfully investigated and prosecuted the case against the surviving perpetrator of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks.  You undertook this emotional, complex, and high-stakes case with quiet dedication.  You forged a tightly knit team from a wide array of law enforcement agencies, and together, you built an incredible body of evidence.  When you tried the case in court, you spoke not simply for this department – you spoke for the people of Boston and this great nation who sought justice for this cold-blooded and cowardly attack.”

The following individuals from the United States Attorney’s Office were honored at the 64th Annual Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service for their role in the investigation and prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Weinreb, Aloke Chakravarty and James Farmer; Christina DiIorio-Sterling, Chief of Public Affairs; Cara Henderson, Community Outreach Program Manager; and Victim/Witness Specialists Kathleen Griffin and Jessica Pooler.  The trial team also included former AUSA Nadine Pellegrini, who was ineligible for the nomination as she has departed from the USAO.  The USAO and her colleagues would like to acknowledge Ms. Pellegrini’s outstanding contribution to the Tsarnaev case. 

On April 15, 2013, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two powerful IEDs near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two young women and an eight-year-old boy, maiming 17, and injuring hundreds more in the largest mass-casualty terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.  Following a manhunt during which the brothers killed an MIT police officer, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shoot-out with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested.  The worldwide investigation involved more than 6,000 items of physical and digital evidence, over 100,000 photographs and videos, and more than 1,000 witness interviews. 

The high-profile trial commenced less than two years after the bombings.  Over the course of 10 weeks, the prosecution team introduced over 1,000 exhibits and called more than 100 witnesses to the stand, including 14 victims who lost limbs in the bombings, family members of those killed, other survivors and eye witnesses, experts in the areas of fingerprints, DNA, bombs, and ballistics, law enforcement officers and terrorism experts.  The prosecutors also cross-examined nearly 50 defense witnesses.  A jury found Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts in the indictment charging terrorism and other violent offenses.  The same jury later sentenced Tsarnaev to death following an approximately three-week sentencing trial.   He was sentenced to death on six counts and consecutive life sentences on seven others, and ordered to pay $101 million in restitution to the victims. 

In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office employees, 29 investigators, legal professionals and operational support personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service and National Security Division, among other agencies, were also being recognized for exceptional service.

Updated November 10, 2016

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