The former Chechen rebel who said his home was searched by the FBI in connection to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation said in a letter today he has "nothing to do with the terrible act in Boston."
"I would like to state that I barely knew the Tsarnaev family, and only met them for the first time after we moved to the U.S.," 35-year-old Musa Khadjimuradov said in a letter handed to media outlets. "During the very few encounters, which were initiated by Tsarnaev, we have never discussed political or religious issues, so I could never guess what ideas were in their minds."
"Should I have any suspicions I would do my duty to prevent what happened at the Boston marathon," he added.
Khadjimuradov told Voice of America Thursday he met with Tamerlan Tsarnaev less than a month before the bombing. He said he has been repeatedly interviewed by the FBI and agents searched his Manchester home and took DNA and fingerprint samples Tuesday.
Tamerlan and his younger brother Dzhokhar are accused of setting off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Tamerlan was killed in a firefight with police, but Dzhokhar survived and was later captured.
A neighbor of Khadjimuradov's, Troy Boudreau, said he noticed sedans with tinted windows and Massachusetts license plates near his home two weeks ago and finally asked one of the occupants for identification.
"They showed me their FBI badge,'' said Boudreau, 36. "I asked them why they were there and they would only say, 'it's a private matter.'"
Days later, Boudreau saw roughly a dozen investigators go into Khadjimuradov's home. He said for most of the day crime scene technicians and FBI agents came in and out of the apartment carrying electronic equipment. "They were moving furniture in, moving furniture out. They didn't leave until after 10 pm."
Boudrea said it was "unsettling" to think Tsarnaev had walked past his door to visit his neighbor.
In the VOA report, Khadjimuradov said he moved to the U.S. from Chechnya in 2004 and met Tamerlan at a gathering for Chechens in Boston in 2006.
Khadjimuradov told VOA he felt like he was being treated like a suspect by the federal agents, but said they told him not to worry. In the new letter, which is dated May 16, he said he understands why they were focusing on him.
"… I fully cooperate with the federal investigators, and I understand that these guys need to do everything they can to solve this case, so they can prevent anything like this horror from happening again in the future…" he says.
Khadjimuradov said in the letter he and his family are exhausted from stress and asked for privacy.
"I am sincere in saying that America has become a new, beloved home for me and my family, and we appreciate the freedom and peace this country gives us," the letter says.
Freelance writer Michele McPhee is a Boston-based reporter and frequent contributor to ABC News.