BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Two college friends of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect were arraigned Tuesday on charges of disposing evidence from the suspect’s dorm room.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov both pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon in federal court on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports
If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.
In an interview with CBS This Morning, Kadyrbayev’s attorney Robert Stahl said his client did nothing wrong.
“He and Azamat had no idea Dzhokhar was involved,” Stahl said. “Our hope is justice will prevail and Dias will be reunited with his family. He enjoyed and cherished his education in the United States.”
Prosecutors say the 19-year-old men, both from Kazakhstan, tried to thwart the investigations into the April 15 explosions by throwing away fireworks and other items they found in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room the day before his capture.
Authorities later discovered the fireworks in a New Bedford landfill.
Stahl said his client didn’t know fireworks and Vaseline are bomb-making materials.
In court Tuesday, the federal prosecutor says 15-to-20 witnesses may be called during the trial.
Like Tsarnaev, they were students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at the time.
Stahl told CBS the government has acted too aggressively by charging the two students in connection with the bombing.
“In this horrific act where people were injured and killed, labeled as terrorism, the government is not willing to look at the facts in a clear and balanced fashion,” Stahl said.
Stahl pointed to his client’s willingness to talk with police after the fact as reason Kadyrbayev was not involved.
After the arraignment, Stahl released a statement, reading in part:
“Dias comes from a former Soviet-bloc region where police routinely are distrusted. Yet when authorities first approached him, he fully cooperated and for nearly 12 hours over two days Dias answered the FBI’s questions without an attorney or a Kazakh Consular official present,” the statement read. “Dias also voluntarily turned over the computer from Tsarnaev’s room and told the FBI where they could find the backpack that contained a packet of fireworks. The FBI recovered all of the items because of Dias’ complete cooperation with their investigation.”
The two have been behind bars since their arrest in April.