NEW YORK – A sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was led away in handcuffs Tuesday after a brief court appearance on allegations that she threatened to "put a bomb" on a perceived romantic rival, which her lawyer called "an uncorroborated claim."
Ailina Tsarnaeva, 24, of North Bergen, New Jersey, was held on aggravated harassment charges. She is accused of threatening a woman who previously had a romantic relationship with her husband.
"Leave my man alone," she said in a phone call on Aug. 25, according to the criminal complaint. "Stop looking for him. I have people. I know people that can put a bomb where you live."
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Abreu said Tsarnaeva was apparently referencing her brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who had been the subjects of an intense manhunt in the Boston area in the days after the deadly April 2013 marathon bombing. Tamerlan was later killed.
Prosecutors said Tsarnaeva had driven past the woman's house since an order of protection was issued.
Tsarnaeva's attorney, Susan Marcus, said her client disputes making such statements.
"My client is an easy target," Marcus said. "This is an uncorroborated claim."
Marcus said Tsarnaeva, a mother of two including a 5-month-old, and her family had "absolutely no means," and she did not deserve to be jailed.
Judge Denise Dominquez renewed the order of protection and set bail at $5,000.
Tsarnaeva arrived at Manhattan criminal court with a man, though it wasn't clear if it was her husband, as a small group of protesters screamed insults and a throng of media snapped photographs.
"I have nothing to say," she told reporters.
Her lawyer referred to the father of Tsarnaeva's children as her husband, though it has also been reported they were not married.
Tsarnaeva has an ongoing case in Massachusetts and is required to check in with probation officers since prosecutors said she failed to cooperate with a 2010 counterfeiting investigation.
Prosecutors said she picked up someone who passed a counterfeit bill at a restaurant at a Boston mall and "lied about certain salient facts during the investigation."
She also was arrested in 2009 on charges she left the scene of an accident, but the case was dismissed, prosecutors said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with building and planting the two pressure cooker bombs that exploded near the marathon's finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. He has pleaded not guilty. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunbattle with police.