The use of United States taxpayers’ money to bring convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family to the country to serve as witnesses has reportedly upset survivors of the attack.
My FOX Boston reports that six members of Tsarnaev’s family have been in the country since Thursday, staying at the Hampton Inn hotel in Revere, Massachusetts.
Americans' tax dollars are allegedly being used to pay for their stay, as well as the security personnel assigned to them.
The family is here so they may testify on behalf of Tsarnaev in the penalty phase of his trial.
The reported costs involved in the family’s stay are as follows:
Airfare: ~$2,500 per person
Hampton Inn government rate room reservation: ~$200 per night, per person
The cost for agency protection provided by the FBI, U.S. Marshals and Revere Police is unknown but former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan estimated the total cost for all services.
“I think you're probably talking about $100,000 plus in that neighborhood in terms of security and out of pocket costs associated with travel,” Sullivan said.
Tsarnaev’s case is a federal one, and therefore it is the federal government’s decision how money is spent.
“It's a federal trial, it's a federal case, the feds ultimately need to make the decisions about this,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.
Sullivan said he understands how taxpayers may be upset over the use of their money in the case but that, in order to make sure the trial is conducted fairly, costs are involved.
“The court wants to make sure that at the end of the day, the defendant gets a fair trial and would not want to add any potential issues on appeal in the penalty phase, prosecutors finished making their case yesterday,” Sullivan said.
Boston marathon survivor Marc Fucarile said he is “outraged” that Tsarnaev’s family’s expenses are being paid for when he and other survivors have to pay their own way.
“Myself and some of the other survivors and our families have to pay for our own parking at court, lunch, and we were told that if the trial was moved out of state, we'd have to pay for our own travel and lodging, there,” Fucarile said.
"Why should our country pay for them when that family committed a violent act against our country?" Fucarile continued. "Not to mention, all of the free government services this family previously enjoyed on the backs of the taxpayers including government assistance and a free ride to UMass Dartmouth. In contrast, I was denied housing assistance I sought after the bombings, even though I needed a handicapped accessible apartment, and my wife lost her job as a result of the events."
Fucarile added that he feels badly for the taxpayers that have to pay for Tsarnaev’s family’s visit after they were so generous to all of the survivors and the One Fund.
CBS Boston reports that the Hampton Inn in Revere has received multiple cancellations from customers because Tsarnaev’s family is staying at the hotel.