Boston's Moakley Courthouse continues to be the media hotspot this summer.
This morning, two friends of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arraigned in federal court. Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos both pled not guilty to charges they impeded the investigation into the Marathon bombing. (The third defendant, Azamat Tazhayakov, is set to be arraigned this afternoon. Tazhayakov's attorney was delayed on a train from New York when a tree fell across the tracks.)
Robel Phillipos, a Cambridge resident and U.S. citizen, is being held on home confinement. Phillipos offered no comment for reporters upon leaving the courthouse.
Robert Stahl, attorney for Dias Kadyrbayev, spoke to a group of reporters outside the courtroom. Stahl said his client, a 19-year-old Kazakhstan national, is innocent of charges that he disposed of evidence related to Dzhokhar's participation in the April 15th bombings. Stahl said his client was grateful for the "scores" of letters of support he has received since being arrested. "There was no criminal intent to obstruct justice to assist Dzhokhar in any way. My client is just as shocked and horrified as the rest of us about what happened and there was no context for him to put this in because Dzhokhar was not radical, was not religious and never expressed any of these views. So he had no way to know that he would be involved in something like this... He didn't dispose of evidence. He didn't understand it was evidence. And the rest will come out at trial," Stahl said.
Stahl went on to say that he and his client look forward to proving his innocence at trial. He stated unequivocally that he will not entertain a plea deal. "We are not interested in any deal," Stahl said.
Prosecutors stated this morning that they anticipated the trial taking approximately two weeks. But Stahl said he thought it would take "significantly longer than that."
View video of Stahl's full comments here.
Some background: All three defendants are friends and former UMASS-Dartmouth college classmates of Dzokhar. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are 19-year-old Kazakhstan nationals. Phillipos, also 19, is a US citizen who was raised in Cambridge. In May, all three were named in federal criminal complaints. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. They were arrested and arraigned in May. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov have been held in jail since their arrests. Phillipos was charged with making false statements in a terrorism investigation. He was released on $100,000 bond and placed on home confinement. It's alleged that the three friends met at Dzokhar's dorm room the night authorities released photos of the suspected bombers, and removed potential evidence (including a laptop and backpack full of fireworks) from the room. The items were discovered days later at a local landfill. On August 8th, a federal grand jury indicted Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov with conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as obstructing justice with the intent to impede an investigation. The charges carry possible sentences of 8 years in prison and fines of $250,000. Both also face potential deportation.
In related news, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected back in federal court next week (September 23rd).
The Moakley Courthouse madness continues.
Check out the related ChartGirl chart: "The Bombers, Et Al"
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