Law enforcement officials to testify at hearing for friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect

Paige Sutherland / The Associated Press
May 14, 2014 06:45 AM

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. A lawyer for Tazhayakov said Monday, June 23, 2014, that prosecutors offered him a deal to plead to reduced charges, but he turned it down. Tazhayakov is accused with another friend of removing items from Tsarnaev's dorm room. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins, File)

BOSTON - More law enforcement officials are scheduled to testify at a federal hearing on whether to suppress a confession by a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect as the proceedings enter their third day.

The law enforcement officials are expected to testify Thursday, pushing testimony from defendant Dias Kadyrbayev to Friday.

Federal investigators and defence lawyers argued Wednesday whether confessions made by Kadyrbayev and another friend, Azamat Tazhayakov, were voluntary. The two men are accused of tampering with evidence in the days after the April 2013 bombing when authorities were engaged in an intense manhunt for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A federal judge ruled that a motion to suppress evidence requires the defendants to testify. Tazhayakov and a third friend who was charged, Robel Phillipos, declined to testify.

FBI agents said Wednesday that the defendants agreed to talk and allowed officers to search their apartment. Documents were presented in court showing that Kadyrbayev signed a consent form that permitted his apartment, car and laptop to be searched and that he signed form listing his rights.

Agent Farbod Azad said the defendants did not seem tense during the April 19, 2013, interviews and even cracked jokes.

But Kadyrbayev's lawyer, Robert Stahl, said his client was asked if he was willing to talk after several armed officers swarmed his apartment, handcuffed him and placed him in a police car. At a nearby police station, he said, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov admitted to taking Tsarnaev's laptop and a backpack containing fireworks from Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, about 60 miles from Boston.

The Kazakhstan nationals were later released but were arrested the next day at their apartment on immigration charges.

They and Phillipos will be tried separately in Massachusetts beginning this summer. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov have been held without bail for more than a year. Phillipos, of Cambridge, is charged with lying to investigators. He has been held under house arrest.

All have pleaded not guilty.

Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges stemming from the deadly bombing. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty at his November trial.

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