Tags: boston | bombing | friends | coverup

Three Friends of Boston Bomber Plead Not Guilty to Cover-up Charges

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 12:15 PM

Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court on Friday, pleading not guilty to separate charges of lying to investigators and conspiring to obstruct justice.

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19-year-olds from Kazakhstan, are charged with impeding the investigation into the April 15 attack that left three dead and about 200 injured by trying to conceal and cover-up evidence

Robel Phillipos, 19, another college friend of Tsarnaev's, pleaded not guilty to charges he lied to police after the attack.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon blasts, police carried out a massive manhunt for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who allegedly planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line.

The indictment alleges that after the FBI released photographs of the suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sent Kadyrbayev a text message suggesting that he go to Tsarnaev's "room and take what's there."

The three young men then went to Tsarnaev's dormitory room and removed a laptop and a backpack containing fireworks and other items, prosecutors allege.

Later that night Kadyrbayev is accused of putting the backpack in a garbage bag and placing it in a dumpster outside their apartment.

During later questioning, Phillipos hid these events from police and "in so doing, he made numerous false and misleading statements to the agents," according to the indictment.

Kadyrbayev's lawyer Robert Stahl said his client had "no criminal intent to obstruct justice to assist Dzhokar in any way."

"My client is shocked and horrified as the rest of us about what happened and there was no context for him to put this in because Dzhokar was not radical, not religious and never expressed any of these views."

The latest arraignment comes from a superceding indictment which combines the case of the first two suspects -- who had already pled to the charges -- with that of Phillipos.

"Today's arraignment of Robel Phillipos on the indictment is simply a formal step in the court process and does not represent any new development in the case," his lawyers said.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face up to 20 years in prison and the prospect of deportation from the United States if convicted. Phillipos faces up to 16 years in jail if he is found guilty.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police, while his younger brother -- who has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts, 17 of which are punishable by death -- was later arrested, wounded and hiding inside a small boat in a nearby backyard.

On Thursday, the parents of Tamerlan's wife Katherine Russell, appeared before a grand jury to answer questions about the attack, local media reported.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court on Friday, pleading not guilty to separate charges of lying to investigators and conspiring to obstruct justice. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19-year-olds from Kazakhstan,...
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Friday, 13 Sep 2013 12:15 PM
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