Tsarnaev friend guilty of lying to FBI in Boston Marathon bomb investigation

The defense witnesses at Robel Phillipos' trial included former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, an old family friend.

By Frances Burns

BOSTON, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- After six days of deliberations, a jury convicted a longtime friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of lying to the FBI.

Robel Phillipos, 21, faces a lengthy sentence in federal prison. While he was not charged with knowing about the bombing beforehand, prosecutors said he was aware Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan were suspects when he and two other friends went to Dzhokhar's dorm room three days later.


Three people were killed and many more injured when two backpack bombs exploded near the finish line of the Marathon on April 15, 2013. The brothers allegedly killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer hours before Tamerlan died in a confrontation with police.

Phillipos and Tsarnaev were classmates at Cambridge Rindge and Latin and went on to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth together. Phillipos admittedly went to Tsarnaev's dorm room with two other friends who removed a backpack and laptop, but his lawyers argued he was high on marijuana and had no clear memory of the event.

The witnesses at Phillipos' trial included former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who testified as a longtime family friend. Dukakis said he talked to the young man on the telephone on April 20, 2013, soon after his first interview with the FBI, and described him as "confused."


Azamat Tazhayakov, who was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy, and Dias Kadyrbayev, who pleaded guilty to obstruction, are scheduled to be sentenced soon. Tsarnaev, who could face the death penalty if convicted, is scheduled to go on trial in January.

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