Feds ask if Boston suspect to claim mental illness

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors are requesting that defense attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) notify them in writing by next month if they plan to introduce any evidence that Tsarnaev had a mental illness.

In a document filed Friday in U.S. District Court, prosecutors said the defense should disclose any such plans by May 7, a date previously set for pre-trial motions in the case.

The government said it was seeking notification of plans to present "expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition ... which bears on either the issue of guilt of the issue of punishment."

A spokeswoman for Miriam Conrad, one of Tsarnaev's lawyers, said she declined comment.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges in connection with last year's attack.

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