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Monday, December 22, 2014 - 1:31pm

Tsarnaev friend convicted of obstructing Boston bombings probe

Tsarnaev friend convicted of obstructing Boston bombings probe
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Monday, July 21, 2014 - 8:40pm

A federal jury on Monday found a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of obstructing the investigation into the 2013 attack.

The jury found Azamat Tazhayakov guilty of obstructing justice and conspiring to obstruct justice relating to the removal of a backpack from Tsarnaev's dorm room after the bombings.

The verdict came in the first trial related to the April 15, 2013, bombings that killed three people and injured more than 200 others.

Prosecutors accused Tazhayakov and another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, of trying to help Tsarnaev by removing a backpack from a dorm room at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after the bombings. Authorities said they eventually found the backpack in a landfill.

Kadyrbayev faces the same charges and has pleaded not guilty. Another friend, Robel Phillipos, pleaded not guilty to making false statements. None of Tsarnaev's friends is accused in the bomb plot itself.

The government says Tsarnaev texted one of the friends after the bombings and told him he could go to his dorm room and take what he wanted.

Authorities alleged that on April 18, the friends went into Tsarnaev's room and picked up a backpack containing Vaseline, a thumb drive and fireworks, then took it back to the apartment Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov shared in New Bedford.

Kadyrbayev told his friends that he believed Tsarnaev "used the Vaseline 'to make bombs,' or words to that effect," an indictment against him reads.

Either that night or early the next day, with Tazhayakov's knowledge, Kadyrbayev tossed the backpack in a dumpster, according to the charges.

Lawyers for Tazhayakov, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student from Kyrgyzstan, said he did everything he could to help the investigation when he spoke with the FBI. Based on that information, authorities found Tsarnaev's backpack in the landfill, his attorneys said.

Tsarnaev awaits trial, having pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges tied to the bombing and the subsequent pursuit of him and his brother, Tamerlan.

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