The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Lawyers for 2 men, New York Post clash over significance of emails in 'Bag Men' lawsuit

  • Print

BOSTON - Lawyers for two Massachusetts residents and for the newspaper that called them "Bag Men" after the Boston Marathon bombing are clashing over the significance of emails that circulated among law enforcement in the chaotic days after the attack.

Both sides say newly released emails, among documents unsealed earlier this month by the Boston judge presiding over the case, support their competing arguments. Lawyers for the men said the emails strengthened their argument that the New York Post was reckless, while the newspaper's legal team said they bolstered its contention that the story was, at the time of publication, accurate.

The Post's front page on April 18, 2013 — three days after the bombing — had a photograph of the two young Moroccan immigrants, one a high school student, standing near the finish line with the headline "Bag Men" and sub-headline "Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon."

The two, Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, were never linked to the investigation and say the story damaged their reputations and caused emotional distress. They sued the newspaper in June 2013.

The newspaper has stressed that it never called the men, who weren't named in the story, suspects in the bombing. It has previously referenced emails that circulated on April 17, 2013, including one from an FBI agent that stated the photographs were being distributed in an "attempt to identify the individuals highlighted therein."

Among the unsealed law enforcement emails was one with the words "BOLO," short for "be on the lookout," and "Boston Marathon Bombing Terrorist Suspects."

"Discovery, in other words, has shown that the Post's report was accurate: Law-enforcement authorities were looking for Messrs. Barhoum and Zaimi, did want to identify them, and — unlike the Post — actually labeled them as ... suspects," the lawyers wrote in a court filing.

But attorneys for Barhoum, a Revere High School student, and Zaimi responded in another court filing that some of the same email chains threw cold water on the notion that the two were being sought. One email, appearing to have been sent by a Department of Homeland Security agent, said the men shown in the picture were "not of interest" and that an original request for identification was based on "bogus intel."

The emails were part of a "frenzied digital rumour mill" that one recipient at the time called a "circular reporting tornado that is sweeping the nation," the lawyers wrote.

Attorneys have declined to comment publicly on the status of the case, which remains pending in Suffolk Superior Court. Judge Judith Fabricant denied a bid by the Post last March to dismiss the lawsuit.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awaiting trial on charges that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, set off two pressure cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police four days after the bombing.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets This Week: Young guns get a look

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press January 18, 2011 Local Standup -
  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google