Boston bombing suspect's friend impeded investigation, prosecutor says

Azamat Tazhayakov in an undated photo. CBS Boston

BOSTON -- A federal prosecutor has told jurors that a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev impeded the investigation into the bombing for one reason - to help Tsarnaev.

Azamat Tazhayakov is accused, along with his roommate, of removing a backpack, fireworks that had been emptied of their black powder and a laptop computer from Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth several days after the bombing.

During opening statements at Tazhayakov's trial Monday, a prosecutor told the jury that the two friends "got rid of" the items after seeing photos and video of Tsarnaev released by the FBI.

Tazhayakov's lawyer is expected to give his opening statement later Monday morning. Tazhayakov has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges.

Harry Mannion, legal analyst for CBS station WBZ, says the big issue for the jury to decide is what did Tazhayakov intend to do the night of Tsarnaev's capture.

Depending on what they believe, Tazhayakov could face up to 20 years in prison.

"The question is: Did this young man go in that door room with the idea of hindering a federal investigation into a heinous, heinous murder and maiming?," Mannion said. "If he did, he deserves to go behind the wall and do some jail time."

Another friend of the Tsarnaevs, Khairullozhon Matanov, is accused of deleting computer files and lying to agents investigating the 2013 bombings.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, planted two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the 2013 marathon, killing three people and injuring about 260 others. Tamerlan died following a shootout with police several days later.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges. His trial is expected to begin in November.

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