Tuesday 15 October 2019

Teenager accused of lying in Boston bomb case can be released

Tim McLaughlin

US prosecutors have agreed that a teenager suspected of lying to FBI agents in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation can be released while awaiting trial, according to a court filing today.

Prosecutors and the defense team for Robel Phillipos plan to ask U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler to grant the 19-year-old a pretrial release under strict conditions. The court has not yet ruled on the joint motion. Phillipos was expected to appear at 2 p.m. hearing Monday (1700 GMT) in Boston.

 

Defense lawyers and prosecutors "conferred extensively" and agreed the court could have Phillipos ordered to home confinement at the residence of a third-party custodian, the court filing said. He would wear an electronic bracelet with GPS monitoring and post a $100,000 bond to ensure his appearance in future court proceedings.

 

Phillipos, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is accused of making false statements to FBI agents investigating the April 15th attack that killed three people and injured 264 near the marathon's finish line.

 

Defense lawyers argued he was not a flight risk, has no prior criminal history and can refute FBI allegations that he interfered with their investigation, court records show.

 

Last week, U.S. authorities charged Phillipos and two 19-year-old students from Kazakhstan with interfering with their investigation as a manhunt for brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was under way.

 

The three teens are described as college friends of surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Authorities charged the Kazakhs, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, with conspiring to obstruct justice by disposing of a backpack containing fireworks they found in Tsarnaev's dorm room.

 

Lawyers for Phillipos point out that he has not been charged with removing or tampering with evidence. Instead, he is charged with lying to authorities about the conduct of his friends.

 

Their cover-up, as alleged by investigators, happened after the FBI released surveillance photos of Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The elder Tsarnaev, 26, was killed and Dzhokhar was found bleeding while hiding in a covered boat in a Watertown resident's back yard.

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