Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's college friends, Kazakh exchange students Dias
Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos of Cambridge,
will appear at hearings in federal court in Boston this week ahead
of the trials, which are due to begin in June.
Lawyers for Kadyrbayev began to cross-examine FBI special agent John
Walker on Tuesday. The agent recounted that four days after the
bombing attack that killed three people and injured 264, he led a
search of the students' apartment in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on
a lead that Tsarnaev was hiding there. The lead turned out to be
Walker said he interviewed Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, and a third
person he described as Kadyrbayev's girlfriend, during a manhunt for
Tsarnaev at a time the bureau was concerned that other conspirators
may have been involved in the bombing plot.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the other brother accused in the blast, had died
hours earlier after a gun battle with police.
After prosecutors and defense attorneys have finished questioning
FBI agents involved in the proceeding, Kadyrbayev will take the
stand as his lawyers seek to prove that his early statements were
made before he understood the legal consequences of speaking with
"We look forward to cross-examining the government witnesses and
putting our client on the stand," Kadyrbayev's attorney, Robert
Stahl, told reporters after Tuesday's hearing.
Attorneys for Tazhayakov and Phillipos withdrew requests to have
their early statements suppressed to protect their clients from
having to testify ahead of the trials.
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None of the friends were charged with taking part in the attack, but
prosecutors contend the three went to Tsarnaev's dorm room three
days later and removed a backpack and laptop computer as police
searched for the suspected bomber.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face conspiracy and obstruction of justice
charges, which carry a penalty of up to 25 years in prison, while
Phillipos faces a less serious charge of lying to investigators,
which could mean a possible 16-year sentence.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock on Tuesday agreed to try the
three men separately, but rejected a request to move their trial out
(Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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