Azamat Tazhayakov Found Guilty of Obstruction
A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who faced a judge for allegedly hindering a probe into the April 2013 attacks was found guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy in federal court on Monday after a weeks-long trial.
Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, was first charged in May 2013 after investigators said he and two friends that were close with Tsarnaev while at UMass Dartmouth went into the bombing suspect’s room at his request on April 18, and removed a laptop and backpack containing fireworks and other items connected to the bombings.
Prosecutors claimed that after taking the objects from the residence on campus, Tazhayakov helped dispose of them in a dumpster. The bag was later recovered in a New Bedford landfill, but FBI officials said Tazhayakov “intentionally obstructed justice” during the investigation by “destroying, concealing, and covering up tangible objects.”
A jury began deliberations in the trial last Wednesday. On Monday, they found Tazhayakov guilty of obstruction of justice for going along with the plan to get rid of the bag, but not the laptop. Tazhayakov faces up to 25 years in jail for aiding in the disposal of the items from Tsarnaev’s room in the days after the bombings. Sentencing is set for October 16, federal officials said.
Tsarnaev’s other two friends, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos, also face charges stemming from the incident. Kadyrbayev’s trial is scheduled to begin in September, where he will sit before a judge for charges similar to Tazhayakov’s. Phillipos is accused of “knowingly and willfully” making false statements to the FBI about where he was the night the items were taken.