US officials on Tuesday agreed to loosen prison restrictions on accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that the 20-year-old's lawyers have argued made it difficult to mount an effective defense.
In papers filed in US District Court in Boston, officials said they had modified the special rules of Tsarnaev's confinement to allow his attorneys to discuss his statements with third parties to help them prepare their defense.
The new rules also allow additional people, including a mental health specialist, to meet with him without an attorney present.
Tsarnaev is accused of planting two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the crowded finish line of the marathon on April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
Prosecutors contend that Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, killed a university police officer three days later in an unsuccessful attempt to steal his weapon as they prepared to flee the city.