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Friend of Boston bomber suspect goes on trial on obstruction charges

Published on Jul 8, 2014 12:12 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - The lawyer for a man charged with obstructing the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing denied on Monday that his client removed a laptop and backpack containing fireworks from the bombing suspect's dorm room three days after the deadly attack.

Defense attorney Nicholas Wooldridge said in his opening statement that Azamat Tazhayakov took nothing except a pair of headphones that were his property when he went to the room of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of helping his brother in the April 15, 2013, blasts.

Tazhayakov is the first of three of Tsarnaev's friends to face trial for hampering the investigation of the bombing and Wooldridge said it was his friend and fellow Kazakh exchange student Dias Kadyrbayev who took the laptop from the room and dropped it in a dumpster. Kadyrbayev is awaiting trial later this year on similar charges.

Prosecutors contend that Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev removed items from Tsarnaev's room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth at his request after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the bombing, which killed three people and injured 264. "Dias is the one that took that bag back to the apartment, not Azamat," Mr Wooldridge said. "Azamat never touched that bag."

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