US & Canada

Boston Marathon bombings: Robel Phillipos guilty of lying

Robel Phillipos, front left, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, arrives at federal court with defence attorney Derege Demissie, right, on a day of jury deliberations in his trial, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, in Boston Image copyright AP
Image caption Robel Phillipos lawyers said he had been intimidated during lengthy and confusing questioning by the FBI

A friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect has been found guilty of lying to investigators.

Robel Phillipos, 21, told a string of falsehoods about the night two other friends threw out Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's bag and computer.

The defence argued Phillipos had been intimidated by investigators and had been so high on marijuana he could not remember what happened.

Three died and more than 200 were injured in the 15 April 2013 attack.

Two other friends of Mr Tsarnaev, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, have been convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Investigators say they threw out Mr Tsarnaev's belongings at his request shortly after the attack, in an effort to hide evidence.

None of the three have been implicated in plotting the attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis testified at Phillipos' trial

At Phillipos' trial, FBI agents testified he eventually acknowledged he was in Mr Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth with Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov when they removed Tsarnaev's backpack and computer from the room on 18 April 2013.

The defence called several friends who said Phillipos smoked marijuana a half-dozen times that day. Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, a friend of his mother, also testified.

Mr Dukakis said he had spoken to Phillipos on the phone five days after the bombings and Phillipos said he had been questioned by the FBI for five hours but was confused and did not remember what he said.

Prosecutors said Phillipos told investigators many details about the night of 18 April and had lied because he knew he had done something wrong.

Phillipos is set to be sentenced in January, and will remain under house arrest until then. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years per count of lying during a terrorism investigation.

Mr Tsarnaev is awaiting trial and has pleaded not guilty to the 30 federal charges against him.

His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police days after the bombing.