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US judge won’t toss statements by Tsarnaev friends

May 16, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday refused to reject statements allegedly made by two friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev following the deadly 2013 bombing.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev are accused of removing a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev’s university dormitory room several days after the bombings. Robel Phillipos is accused of lying to investigators.

None of the men is accused of participating in the bombing or knowing about it ahead of time.

Two bombs placed near the finish line of the 2013 marathon killed three people and injured more than 260. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting trial in November. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, also a suspect in the bombings, died following a shootout with police several days later.

Prosecutors and attorneys for the three friends are arguing over whether the statements they made after the bombing, under questioning by federal agents, were voluntary and can be used as evidence in the upcoming trials. Prosecutors have said the men willingly spoke after being told of their right to remain silent and to contact a lawyer.

On Thursday, prosecutors released a transcript of Kadyrbayev’s text messages in the days after the bombing that show Dzhokhar Tsarnaev joking not to text him after the FBI released his photo.

Kadyrbayev texted Tsarnaev shortly after photos of Tsarnaev and his brother were released publicly as suspects.

Tsarnaev responded that he had seen the news then texted, “Better not text me my friend,” then “Lol.” Another text told Kadyrbayev he could go to Tsarnaev’s room and “take what’s there” followed by a smiley face.

Some of the messages had been released previously.

Update hourly