House Arrest For Bombing Suspect’s Friend Charged With Lying To FBI
SOUTH BOSTON (CBS/AP) – A magistrate judge on Monday agreed to release a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from federal custody while he awaits trial for allegedly lying to federal investigators probing the bombings.
Robel Phillipos, 19, was charged last week with lying to investigators about visiting Tsarnaev’s college dorm room after the bombings. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student faces a maximum of eight years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors initially asked that Phillipos be held while he awaits trial, arguing that he poses a serious flight risk.
But both sides said in a court motion filed Monday morning they agreed to allow Phillipos to be released on $100,000 bond, provided he be confined to his mother’s home in Cambridge and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler agreed to the strict house arrest during a hearing Monday afternoon at federal court in South Boston.
She told Phillipos he was allowed to leave the house only for meetings with his lawyers or true emergencies.
In an affidavit from Phillipos’ mother, she notes the family’s shock over the allegations.
“When the devastating event took place on April 15, we mourned for those who lost their lives and prayed for the injured. My son wants nothing more than the opportunity to clear his name. My whole family is in complete shock over the accusation against him. I love my son unconditionally as does the rest of our family,” she said.
Outside the courthouse, Phillipos lawyers said they look forward to defending their client and clearing his name.
“We are confident in the end we will be able to clear his name,” defense attorney Derege Demissie said.
Phillipos’ lawyers maintain their client had no knowledge of the bombing and no role in the attack or destroying evidence. “At no time did Robel have any prior knowledge of this marathon bombing,” defense attorney Susan Church said, “nor did he participate in any of the planning done by the defendant in this case.”
A huge crowd of supporters, including Phillipos’ relatives, friends and grade-school principal, showed up to the courthouse for the detention hearing.
It was not immediately clear when Phillipos would be released.
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