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Boston bomb suspect called 'lucid,' but how much does he know?

A US judge read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his rights at a hospital bedside hearing, finding him 'mentally competent.' The Boston bombing suspect reportedly called his brother the attack's mastermind.

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Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar (back) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are revealed in this photo during an FBI news conference in Boston last Thursday.

Courtesy of Reuters

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The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is described as alert and “mentally competent,” but he also now has a lawyer.

As of Monday, when a US judge visited Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his hospital room, Mr. Tsarnaev has been notified of his legal right to remain silent and has accepted the offer of legal counsel from a public defender.

It’s not clear how much information the bombing suspect will provide to federal investigators from here on. One reason for being forthcoming, legal analysts say, would be to reduce the risk of a death sentence for the charges outlined by the Justice Department Monday.

At the same time, it's not clear how much he knows. According to news reports, he has said that he and his brother, who was killed in a gun fight with police, acted alone. But he is also reported to have labeled his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as the attack's mastermind.

Other news accounts in recent days, citing people who knew one or both Tsarnaev brothers, have corroborated the view that Tamerlan had an intensity and religious passion that Dzhokhar lacked.

The surviving brother has already communicated at least a bit with investigators, by writing. According to government sources quoted by The New York Times and CNN, Tsarnaev has admitted he helped plant the bombs that went off near the marathon finish line on April 15, and has said he and his brother didn't act as part of a larger terrorist group.

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