Leave the (alleged) Boston Marathon bomber’s wife alone, readers say

Well that was interesting.  I posted yesterday about the wife of Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1, aka Tamerlan Tsarnaev – her name is Katherine – and her decision to turn down a request to speak with the FBI about her now-dead husband.

[UPDATE: A report today, April 23, has her lawyer quoted as saying:

“She is doing everything she can to assist with the investigation.”

I’m a lawyer too. In my opinion, that statement doesn’t really clarify, or say, much of anything.  Is she talking to the Feds or “can’t” she just yet?]

I was surprised by the feedback I got both here and on Facebook.

I noted my ambivalence about her decision.  While I can appreciate the need to mourn, when your husband is accused of planning and executing a huge terrorist bombing, you’re not permitted the luxury of mourning in peace.

Also, more generally, I was troubled as to why anyone wouldn’t want to talk to the FBI, if they could possibly help, even in a small way – unless, of course, they were guilty.

Tamerlan-Tsarnaev

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Suspect #1 in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

And finally, I did admit that I could understand why a Muslim – which the wife is (and despite some contrarians on Twitter, by all accounts she wasn’t “faking it,” look at the photo) – even an innocent Muslim, might be concerned about where an interview with the FBI might lead.

Well. You responded.

Initially, the responses seemed to show a bit of a gender gap.  Women noted the need to grieve, and more generally concerns about her rightful need to talk to a lawyer first.

Men tended to say she if she were innocent, she should just talk to the FBI.

But after a while, the comments tended to shift, male and female, to her defense – well, at least in terms of understanding that she should talk to a lawyer before talking to the FBI.

Here’s a sampling:

Some felt she should come forward:

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Lots of generic “don’t talk to the cops without a lawyer, ever” advice:

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A lot of lawyers weighed in:

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Spousal privilege?

A number of folks mentioned spousal privilege – I’ll need to look into whether that survives death.  Okay, just looked this up – it seems that spousal privilege about communications survives death (what he said to her), but not spousal privilege about testimony (mean her observations of things). This area of law seems to be complicated, so I’d be curious if any of the lawyers out there who are familiar with this can weigh in:

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Wife was abused?

A number of commenters believed the wife was an abused spouse – in fact, Tamelran was accused of domestic assault and battery back in 2009:

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Mom needs to protect her kid

Some noted that, as a parent of a young child, it was understandable that she’d take every precaution when speaking with the authorities:by-default-2013-04-23-at-10.273

Testifying while Muslim

Others echoed the concern that, as a Muslim, she should be very careful in talking to the authorities (it would be ironic if our treatment of Muslims, post-9/11, made it more difficult for us to collect needed intelligence from even innocent witnesses):by-default-2013-04-23-at-10.27-2 by-default-2013-04-23-at-10.27

Time to grieve

Another mentioned her needed time to grieve (I’m not, however, fully convinced of the argument that if you think you don’t have any useful information, that means you shouldn’t talk to the cops – let them decide what’s useful):

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Some did not by the “time to grieve” argument:

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While others felt Kimo was being too harsh, Kimo has a point about “mourning,” IMHO.  Tell the parents of Martin Richard, the 8 year old boy who was blown to bits after Tamerlan (allegedly) placed a bomb quite literally at the boy’s feet (there’s a photo out there showing the alleged terrorists right near the boy, bomb already on the ground), that the wife of the guy who allegedly blew up their son in cold blood needs time to grieve.  Then get back to me.  There are exceptions to everything, and hubby being a mass murderer who may, or may not, be part of a larger cell to murder even more people, is an exception to giving the widow to time to grieve.

My humble love of American institutions is showing:

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Not talking proves she’s innocent?

An interesting twist – perhaps her not wanting to talk to the police showed her innocent, rather than her guilt:

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Why is everyone assuming she’s innocent?

And another interesting point – that perhaps we all shouldn’t be so quick to assume she’s so innocent.  Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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