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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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national lead

April 30th, 2013
06:26 PM ET

Bombing suspect's legal team includes a 'miracle worker'

When Dzhokar Tsarnaev has his day in court, he will be defended by some of the best lawyers in the business. Only two weeks after he allegedly planted the Boston bombs that took three lives, and severely wounded so many others, the court has appointed a defense team with client rosters that read like a worst-of-the-worst list.

Miriam Conrad is one of the country's most well-respected public defenders. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Conrad has defended notorious clients for more than two decades. This is not even Conrad's first terrorism case, she assisted in the defense of Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, who tried to blow up a passenger plane in 2001 with explosives packed in his sneakers. Reid was sentenced to life in prison.

Conrad recently defended a Muslim-American radicalized by online videos who plotted to fly remote-controlled model airplanes packed with explosives into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

"Miriam is really committed to the cases that have no chance of winning, just as committed as she is to the cases that she could possibly win. She's really hard working, and cares a whole lot about her clients, and is really a determined, tenacious lawyer," said Tamar Birckhead, of the University of North Carolina School of Law. Birckhead helped defend Richard Reid, working with Conrad in Boston's Federal Public Defender Office.
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