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Friend of Boston bombing suspect pleads guilty to obstructing justice

By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley and Susan Candiotti
updated 6:50 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The guilty plea was to obstructing justice and conspiracy
  • The intent, prosecutors say, was "to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation"
  • The defendant is a friend of marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
  • Dias Kadyrbayev agrees to be deported after serving a prison sentence

(CNN) -- A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded guilty Thursday to charges in connection with removing a backpack and computer from Tsarnaev's dorm room after the bombing.

Dias Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to "obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation," according to a press release from the office of the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy with his actions in the days immediately following the bombing.

As part of the plea agreement, a sentence of seven years will be recommended by the U.S. attorney, and Kadyrbayev, a Kazakh national, has agreed to be deported after serving his sentence, according to the release.

Kadyrbayev's attorney was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

The charges stem from actions after bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and more than 200 were injured.

Kadyrbayev was charged with four counts including obstructing justice and conspiracy for allegedly throwing Tsarnaev's backpack into a dumpster after discovering it contained fireworks with gunpowder, and removing a jar of Vaseline and a computer thumb drive. The backpack was later recovered at a landfill by investigators.

Kadrybayev also allegedly took Tsarnaev's computer to his off-campus apartment, where the FBI later seized it.

In July, Kadyrbayev's roommate Azamat Tazhayakov was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction charges in the same case and has filed an appeal. He faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing in October.

In that case, prosecutors told jurors Tazhayakov knew the identity of the suspected bombers -- Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev -- before the public found out, allegedly texting Kadyrbayev: "I think they got his brother," hours before the public knew their names or their relationship to one another.

The friends recognized the Tsarnaev brothers after authorities released video and still photos asking for the public's helping finding the two men in the aftermath of the bombings, prosecutors said. Kadyrbayev told his friends that he believed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "used the Vaseline 'to make bombs,' or words to that effect," an indictment against him reads.

The government said Tsarnaev texted Kadyrbayev after the bombings and told him he could go to his dorm room and take what he wanted. Kadyrbayev showed that text to Tazhayakov, the government alleged.

Sentencing for Kadyrbayev is scheduled for November 18. If the court accepts the plea agreement, Kadyrbayev will be "sentenced to no more than seven years in jail and three years of supervised release," then deported, according to the release.

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