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Boston bombing suspect's friends charged with obstruction

By CNN Staff
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Sun August 11, 2013
Dias Kadyrbayev, left, with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsamaev in a picture taken from the social media site VK.com. Kadyrbayev is expected to plead guilty August 21 to charges in connection with removing a backpack and computer from Tsamaev's dorm room after the April 2013 bombing, according to a defense lawyer. Dias Kadyrbayev, left, with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsamaev in a picture taken from the social media site VK.com. Kadyrbayev is expected to plead guilty August 21 to charges in connection with removing a backpack and computer from Tsamaev's dorm room after the April 2013 bombing, according to a defense lawyer.
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Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
Suspects tied to Boston bombings
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Indictment says roommates, both 19, went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm, removed items
  • Among the items: a laptop, "manipulated" fireworks, Vaseline, school assignment sheet
  • Tsarnaev allegedly sent texts to teens saying they could go to his room, "take what's there"

(CNN) -- A federal grand jury Thursday charged two friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with obstructing justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev -- 19-year-old roommates and Kazakh nationals who began attending the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth the same semester as Tsarnaev -- were charged in May with conspiracy.

It is not clear whether Thursday's indictment represents a second conspiracy charge.

Thursday's indictment accuses Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev of helping Tsarnaev after the April 15 bombing by taking items from his dorm room to keep them from investigators.

Photos of Tsarnaev released after Rolling Stone complaints

If convicted, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev could be sentenced to a maximum 20 years in prison on the obstruction count and up to five years on the conspiracy count, the U.S. attorney's office said. They also could be fined $250,000.

Bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, followed by a manhunt kept the Boston area reeling until the surviving suspect was captured on Friday, April 19. Pictured, the second explosion goes off near the marathon finish line on Monday while smoke from the first bomb still hangs in the air. Here's a look at how the week unfolded: Bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, followed by a manhunt kept the Boston area reeling until the surviving suspect was captured on Friday, April 19. Pictured, the second explosion goes off near the marathon finish line on Monday while smoke from the first bomb still hangs in the air. Here's a look at how the week unfolded:
Boston bombings: A week in photos
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Boston bombings: A week in photos Boston bombings: A week in photos
Widow of Boston bomber still a mystery
Officer releases pics of 'real' Tsarnaev

Arkady Bukh, Tazhayakov's attorney, said his client is not discouraged. He also said that Tazhayakov did not touch any of Tsarnaev's items.

"He feels very strongly he'll be able to be able to convince a jury that's he's innocent," Bukh said. "There's no evidence of intent, no incentive to help (Dzhokhar), no motive to destroy anything."

The three students socialized and texted each other, the indictment says.

On April 18, three days before the FBI searched Tsarnaev's dorm room, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev allegedly went into the dorm, took Tsarnaev's laptop and a backpack containing Vaseline, a thumb drive, fireworks and a "homework assignment sheet" and took them back to their New Bedford apartment, the indictment states.

"The fireworks container has been opened and manipulated," the indictment says. "As a result, some of the explosive powder was visible."

Boston Marathon Terror Attack Fast Facts

Kadyrbayev told his roommate that he believed Tsarnaev "used the Vaseline 'to make bombs,' or words to that effect," the indictment states.

That day, Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov a text message from Tsarnaev that read, "If yu want yu can go to my room and take what's there (smiley face emoticon) but ight bro Salam aleikum."

Either that night or early the next day, Kadyrbayev tossed the backpack in a Dumpster, according to the charges.

"Over the course of two days," the indictment continues, "more than 30 federal agents searched (a New Bedford) landfill for the evidence Kadyrbayev had placed in the trash."

The indictment further says the roommates watched April 18 news reports about the bombing that featured photos of Tsarnaev.

A federal grand jury earlier this year returned a 30-count indictment against Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the bombings, that alleges he used a weapon of mass destruction.

Tsarnaev is charged with killing four people -- three spectators who died in the bombings and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer ambushed in his cruiser a few days later -- and "maiming, burning and wounding scores of others," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said.

Read more: Woman arrested in alleged scam of Boston victim's fund

CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin and Stephanie Gallman contributed to this report.

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