[Editor’s Note: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that a judge had signed the prosecutors’ proposed protective order, which was attached to the prosecutors' motion, to block Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from seeing some of the photos of the Boston bombing victims. After publication, prosecutors said that the proposed, unsigned protective order had caused “confusion,” and that the judge has not ruled on their request. The matter of the photos is not yet decided.]
Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to sign a protective order that would prohibit accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhohkar Tsarnaev from gaining access to some autopsy photos of his alleged victims.
“Allowing photos of the mutilated bodies of the victims to be viewed by the man accused of mutilating them would needlessly re-victimize the family members in the same way that innocent children who are photographed pornographically are re-victimized whenever those photos are seen by others," Assistant United States Attorney Nadine Pelligrini argued in a court filing entered late Monday.
Three people were killed after a pair of bombs were set off along the finish line of the Boston Marathon, allegedly detonated by Tsarnaev, then 19, and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. Tamerlan died in a shootout with police days after the blasts. The victims of the bombing were identified as 8-year-old Martin Richard, Boston University student Lingzi Lu and restaurant manager Krystle Campbell.
The younger Tsarnaev is also charged with the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was ambushed and shot on April 18 by the brothers, according to a federal indictment.
Pelligrini wrote in the court filing that during a meeting with Tsarnaev’s defense team last month where autopsy reports and photographs were given as part of the discovery process, his lawyers demanded copies of “all autopsy photos.”
“Defense counsel refused to accept any limitation on Tsarnaev’s ability to view the autopsy photos and repeated their demand for copies of all of them," Pelligrini wrote.
Defense attorneys did not immediately return a request for comment by ABC News, but in court filings and during pre-trial hearings, Tsarnaev’s attorneys have argued that prosecutors have not been fully cooperative with discovery materials.
The defense has yet to file a response to the proposed motion. District Court Judge George O’Toole will decide if Tsarnaev is allowed to see the photos outside of evidence exhibits.
The next court hearing in the Tsarnaev case is slated for April 16 -- a year and a day after the deadly bombing -- during which defense attorneys are expected to ask a judge to dismiss some of the charges in the 30-count federal indictment against their client. In a previously-filed motion, defense attorneys said many of the charges are repetitive.
A few days later, Boston will host the marathon once again. This year the 118th historic race will be held on April 21 with unprecedented security precautions in place, officials said.
Michele McPhee is a freelance reporter and frequent ABC News contributor based in Boston.