Khairullozhon Matanov, the 23-year-old Quincy resident and friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, pleaded not guilty in federal court today to charges of making false statements to investigators, and destroying, altering, and falsifying documents.
Matanov was arraigned earlier this afternoon before being led out of the court room in a prison jumpsuit and handcuffs. Matanov agreed to voluntary detention and a status hearing will be held at 2 p.m on July 15, according to the US Attorney’s office. Matanov waived bail because he has no place to live since he has no family in the US, according to the Associated Press.
Matanov was arrested last week and charged with obstructing the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. In the indictment, federal prosecutors said Matanov “knowingly altered, destroyed, concealed, and covered up records, documents, and tangible objects, specifically, information on his computer, with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence an investigation.”
Investigators said Matanov took Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev out to dinner shortly after the bombings and attempted to contact both brothers in the days after the blasts—Speaking to Tamerlan over the phone and also visiting him at his Cambridge home. Investigators also said Matanov viewed images of the bombing suspects after they were released by the FBI, and made comments to witnesses about the bombings and the suspected bombers.
Matanov, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, came to the US legally in 2010, and worked as a cab driver in Massachusetts.
Earlier today, FBI agent Timothy McElroy testified that the FBI openly followed Matanov during the investigation and asked him to stay away from last year’s Fourth of July festivities and this year’s Marathon, The Boston Globe reported.
"It was not covert in any manner," McElroy testified, adding that agents were told "to make sure they stay with Mr. Matanov and don't lose him."
The agent also said Matanov knew he was being followed and at one point introduced himself to agents trailing him.
McElroy also testified that Matanov sent more than $71,000 to people in six countries, often using fake names, from 2010 to 2013, the AP reported. Matanov’s defense attorney, Edward Hayden, said the money went to friends and family and was not connected to terrorism.Zeninjor Enwemeka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Zeninjor.