Closing arguments set in trial of Boston Marathon suspect's friend, charged with obstruction

The Associated Press
July 15, 2014 11:09 PM

FILE - In this May 13, 2014 file courtroom sketch, defendant Azamat Tazhayakov, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sits during a hearing in federal court in Boston. Tazhayakov, of Kazakhstan, is accused with another friend of removing items from Tsarnaev's dorm room, but is not charged with participating in the bombing or knowing about it in advance. The jury began deliberating in the case Wednesday, July 16, 2014, after closing arguments in the first trial related to the 2013 bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins, File)

BOSTON - Jurors are set to hear closing arguments Wednesday in the obstruction of justice case against a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Azamat Tazhayakov is accused of helping to remove items from Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth several days after the 2013 attack.

Three people died and more than 260 others were injured when two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the marathon's finish line.

Federal prosecutors don't allege Tazhayakov and two other friends being tried separately knew anything about the bombing beforehand. They allege Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev took Tsarnaev's laptop computer and a backpack containing altered fireworks from his room hours after the FBI released photos and video of him and his brother, identifying them as suspects in the bombing but not naming them.

Prosecutors say Tazhaykov and Kadyrbayev with a third friend, Robel Phillipos, went to Tsarnaev's dorm room after he texted Kadyrbayev that they could "take what's there."

Tazhayakov's lawyers said Kadyrbayev removed the items and threw away the backpack and fireworks, later recovered from a landfill.

Kadyrbayev has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice, and Phillipos has pleaded not guilty to lying to investigators. They will be tried separately.

Tsarnaev is awaiting trial and faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. He also has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege Tsarnaev and his brother carried out the bombings and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer days later. The brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died following a shootout with police the night the officer was killed. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding in a boat in someone's yard hours later.


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