Friday, April 17, 2015

What happened to the Lord&Taylor video? - Part 2

This is the continuation of my article Do the Tsarnaev defense's last-minute photos bear proof for innocence? where I promised to show that the defense might be able to turn the table just with a few photos. It is also a continuation of an article from November 22, 2013 about the shadowy Lord&Taylor surveillance video which was last mentioned on April 17, 2013 - two days after the bombings, exactly two years ago. We never heard from the video again.

It is unclear if the defense has seen the video. The brand name Lord&Taylor appeared on a list of companies, potential contributors of evidence, as requested by the defense and approved by the government. The entry "Lord&Taylor" was most likely in reference to the said video.

So the defense lawyers might have obtained the video or not - we don't know it. And even if they were successful so far, it might be buried under the disordered 6-7 terabyte of digital data for which the defense appraised years of search to find the few needles in the haystack. Albeit, it's possible they found it already. Apart from that, it might also have passed to them by a whistleblower. The possibility that the defense knows the video is definitely given.

The Lord&Taylor video is not the only candidate for potential bombshell evidence in the hands of the defense, but it is an excellent representative. In the morning of April 17, 2013, it was praised in the news as a big breakthrough because it allegedly showed a dark-skinned male person placing a black bag in front of the Forum, exactly the bag the investigators were looking for. It was also reported that the suspect was identified with the help of enhanced video techniques, facial recognition etc. One hour later, reports came in that an arrest had been made, a suspect was in custody and moved to the courthouse.

Another hour later, the arrest was disclaimed and qualified as a rumor. No arrest, no suspect. The Lord&Taylor video and its decisive role seemed to be forgotten from one minute to the next. One day later, the Tsarnaev brothers were presented as the culprits.

It is this reported breakthrough moment of the Lord&Taylor video which makes it so attractive for the defense. It might show the person with the black backpack arriving at the Forum, dropping it in front of the entrance and sneaking away. And all the while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stands at the metal barriers looking at the runners, with his bag at his feet. The video might also indicate that the explosion happened on the patio - or exclude an explosion at the place where Dzhokhar's bag was.

There is ample speculation in this scenario, and many imponderables come along. The scenario shows, however, that a few self-explanatory photos might be sufficient to exonerate Dzhokhar with one stroke. The Lord&Taylor video is just one example. The potential pool of footage from the second bomb site, private or public, is big. A lot of cameras were roaming around. The defense's footage might exceed the government's scant material by the factor 2, 3, or 10 - in any case, enough to turn the table.