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BOSTON (AP) – Two friends of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were indicted Thursday for allegedly trying to throw away fireworks and other items police say they found in Tsarnaev’s dorm room before his capture.
Authorities later found some of the items in a New Bedford landfill, the federal indictment says.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19, face charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice. The two, who shared an apartment in New Bedford, have been detained since they were charged in May. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.
An attorney for Tazhayakov, Arkady Bukh, said his client did nothing wrong and he’s tried for the last several months to convince authorities to drop the charges.
“For me, this sounds like a witch hunt,” he said. “And this is the same view (my) client has.”
Kadyrbayev’s attorney, Robert Stahl, said his client never knowingly took evidence from Tsarnaev’s dorm room.
“My young client … was shocked and horrified to learn that someone he knew was involved in the terrible Marathon bombing,” he said.
Both are scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.
Tsarnaev, 20, is accused in the April 15 blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260. He was captured April 19 in the Boston suburb of Watertown following a manhunt. He’s pleaded not guilty.
Also Thursday, a hearing scheduled for Monday for a third Tsarnaev friend charged in the case, Robel Phillipos, was canceled. Phillipos is accused of lying to investigators. In a court filing, his attorneys say they’re in talks that could resolve the case.
Tsarnaev, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were all students at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
On April 18, the FBI posted pictures of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an alleged co-conspirator who died the next day during the manhunt. According to the indictment, Kadyrbayev later received a text message from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggesting that he go to Tsarnaev’s “room and take what’s there.”
The indictment alleges that Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and another conspirator, who was not named in the indictment, went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room and removed several items, including Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks. The indictment says they brought the items to Kadyrbayev’s and Tazhayakov’s apartment and later put some of them in a trash dumpster.
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