BOSTON -- A sick juror in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev forced the judge to push back scheduled testimony until Monday.
The surprise announcement by District Judge George O'Toole on Thursday morning delayed the departure of five of Tsarnaev's relatives who flew in from Russia and are being kept under tight security at an undisclosed location.
The family members were expected to testify for the defense on Thursday and board a flight home on Friday.
A security detail of 16 FBI employees is monitoring them around the clock. Because of the considerable expense to taxpayers, the prosecution had insisted that they testify by the end of the week, according to the transcript of a private meeting in the judge's chambers, The Boston Globe reported.
“It’s an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that’s just part of the expense that the government has endured,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said in the Monday meeting with O'Toole and the defense, according to the transcript.
William Fick, one of Tsarnaev's lawyers, said he couldn't guarantee that the defense would be ready for them on Thursday, according to the transcript.
The jury convicted Tsarnaev, 21, on April 8 of charges related to the 2013 bombing. The same seven women and five men will sentence him to spend life without parole in isolation at a federal prison or to be executed.
Some of the relatives have been seen in the courthouse in South Boston this week wearing devices on their ankles.
The relatives checked into a Hampton Inn in Revere, Massachusetts, on April 23, but were then whisked away to another location because members of the news media kept poking around the hotel. A Revere police official said at the time that six relatives had been moved, though the transcript of the meeting notes that five are expected to testify.