Guilty of Obstructing Boston Bombings Probe

     (CN) – A friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of impeding the investigation into the 2013 rampage that killed four and injured hundreds, the Justice Department said Monday.
     Authorities accused Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, of obstructing a terrorism investigation a year ago. On Monday, a federal jury found the man guilty of conspiracy and obstructing justice with intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation after 14 hours of deliberations.
     At trial, federal prosecutors showed that after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan following the April 18, 2013, bombings, Tazhayakov and others went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room and removed key evidence including a Tsarnaev’s laptop, a thumb drive, a backpack containing fireworks and a jar of Vaseline used to make the improvised explosive devices.
     As law enforcement hunted for the Tsarnaev brothers, Tazhayakov then dumped the incriminating items into a dumpster outside his apartment in New Bedford, Mass., the evidence showed. The FBI recovered the bag a week later, after 25 agents spent two days searching a nearby landfill.
     A month before the bombings, Tsarnaev told Tazhayakov that he knew how to make a bomb and that it would be good to die as shaheed, or martyr, prosecutors said.
     Police killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a shootout days after the bombings. The younger Tsarnaev brother has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges tied to the attacks and subsequent manhunt.
     Tazhayakov is a national of Kazakhstan and was living in the United States on a student visa while attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. At the time of his arrest, however, his visa had been revoked.
     The man faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when he is sentenced on Oct. 16. He will be deported after serving his time.
     Two other friends of Tsarnaev – Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos – will face similar charges when their cases go to trial in September.
     The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John Capin.

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