|Classmate of Boston Bombing Suspect Indicted|
|By AARON KATERSKY (@aaronkatersky)||Aug 29, 2013, 6:38 PM|
A federal grand jury returned an indictment Thursday against a friend of surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Robel Phillipos is the third UMass-Dartmouth classmate of Tsarnaev to face charges in connection with the terror investigation.
Phillipos, a 19-year-old from Cambridge, Mass., is accused of lying to investigators about an alleged visit he and two other friends paid to Tsarnaev's dorm room the night pictures of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan were made public.
Phillipos is charged with two counts of making false statements. The indictment also charges Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 19, both of New Bedford, Mass., with conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede a terrorism investigation.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced the indictment jointly with Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Boston Field Division.
It said the three friends went to Tsarnaev's dorm room the night of April 18, 2013. Kadyrbayev had received a text message from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggesting that he go to Tsarnaev's "room and take what's there." Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and Phillipos allegedly removed several items, including Tsarnaev's laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks, and brought them to Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov's apartment in New Bedford. Later that night, Kadyrbayev allegedly tossed the items in a dumpster.
If convicted, Phillipos faces up to 16 years in prison. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face a maximum penalty of 25 years and the possibility of being deported to Kazakhstan.
A court date for Phillipos has not been set. His attorneys have previously denied the allegations.