NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was led away in handcuffs Tuesday after a brief court appearance on aggravated harassment charges, which her lawyer said were based on “an uncorroborated claim.”
Ailina Tsarnaeva, 24, of North Bergen, New Jersey was arrested last month after allegedly calling a 23-year-old woman, who was previously involved with her husband, at her home in Upper Manhattan and making a bomb threat, police told CBS 2.
According to a criminal complaint, Tsarnaeva told the woman, “Leave my man alone. Stop looking for him. I have people. I know people that can put a bomb where you live.”
The victim said she feared for her physical safety, according to the complaint.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Abreu said Tsarnaeva was apparently referencing her brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who had been the subjects of an intense manhunt in the Boston area in the days after the deadly April 2013 marathon bombing. Tamerlan was later killed.
Prosecutors said Tsarnaeva had driven past the woman’s house since an order of protection was issued.
Tsarnaeva’s attorney, Susan Marcus, said her woman disputes making such statements.
“My client is an easy target,” Marcus said. “This is an uncorroborated claim.”
Marcus said Tsarnaeva, a mother of two including a 5-month-old, and her family had “absolutely no means,” and she did not deserve to be jailed.
Judge Denise Dominquez renewed the order of protection and set bail at $5,000.
Tsarnaeva arrived at Manhattan criminal court with a man, though it wasn’t clear if it was her husband, as a small group of protesters screamed insults and a throng of media snapped photographs.
“I have nothing to say,” she told reporters.
Her lawyer referred to the father of Tsarnaeva’s children as her husband, though it has also been reported they were not married.
Tsarnaeva has an ongoing case in Massachusetts and is required to check in with probation officers since prosecutors said she failed to cooperate with a 2010 counterfeiting investigation.
Prosecutors said she picked up someone who passed a counterfeit bill at a restaurant at a Boston mall and “lied about certain salient facts during the investigation.”
She also was arrested in 2009 on charges she left the scene of an accident, but the case was dismissed, prosecutors said.
Her brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty in the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people.
Prosecutors allege that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now 21, and his then-26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev — ethnic Chechens from Russia who had lived in the Boston area for about a decade — built and planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013, to retaliate against the U.S. for its military action in Muslim countries.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police during a getaway attempt days after the bombing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded but escaped on foot and was later found hiding in a boat parked in a yard in a Boston suburb. Authorities have said he wrote about his motivation for the bombing on the inside of the boat.
Dzkokhar Tsarnaev is now awaiting trial in connection with the bombings, and federal prosecutors said in January that they will seek the death penalty in the case.
Killed in the bombings were: Martin Richard, 8, of Boston; Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford; and Lu Lingzi, 23, a Boston University graduate student from Shenyang, China. At least 16 others lost limbs.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also is charged in the slaying of an MIT police officer and the carjacking of a motorist during the brothers’ getaway attempt.
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