BOSTON (AP) — A friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev acknowledged Tuesday he suspected his friend was involved in the Boston Marathon bombings when he removed items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room several days after the deadly attack.
Dias Kadyrbayev’s testimony came during a federal court hearing on his request to suppress statements he made to authorities while being questioned about Tsarnaev.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports
Kadrybayev conceded during cross-examination that he told agents he suspected Tsarnaev was being sought in the bombings when he and another of Tsarnaev’s friends, Azamat Tazhayakov, went to Tsarnaev’s room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The two men are accused of trying to obstruct the investigation into the bombings by throwing away Tsarnaev’s backpack containing fireworks.
“You said you didn’t know for sure that he was the bomber, that you suspected he was the bomber, correct?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Kadyrbayev replied.
Kadyrbayev testified Monday that he felt intimidated and pressured by agents who questioned him the day after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, as suspects in the bombings. Two pressure cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the April 15, 2013, marathon killed three people and injured more than 260.
Kadyrbayev’s lawyer argues that Kadyrbayev — a native of Kazakhstan — was not proficient enough in English to fully understand the forms he signed giving authorities permission to question him without a lawyer.
Siegmann attempted to demonstrate that Kadyrbayev fully understood the forms he signed. She showed him transcripts of two recorded jailhouse phone conversations he had with his girlfriend. In one, when he is talking about a form he signed giving consent for agents to search his apartment, Kadrybayev said, “Everything that we did — everything that I did, everything that I signed, I signed it on my own,” according to the transcript.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock did not rule on the motion to suppress, saying he would allow prosecutors and Kadyrbayev’s lawyer to submit written briefs and make oral arguments during a hearing in August.
Woodlock denied a request from Kadyrbayev’s lawyer to elicit testimony from a state trooper and an attorney who claimed to represent Kadyrbayev while he was being questioned. The lawyer said he had been contacted by the state’s public defender agency and told to call the barracks. Woodlock said the issue was not relevant to Kadyrbayev’s motion to suppress.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police on April 19. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a trial in November. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
In a court filing Monday, prosecutors said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told his mother in an email days after the explosions that he expected to die. Prosecutors say Tsarnaev wrote the email before the slaying of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and the subsequent shootout.
“If I don’t see you in this life I will see you in the akhira,” prosecutors said he wrote. In Arabic, akhirah refers to the afterlife.
Prosecutors described the email in arguing against a motion by Tsarnaev’s lawyers to suppress evidence seized from his dorm room and a Cambridge apartment where he once lived. They say the email indicates Tsarnaev “abandoned his expectation of privacy” because he did not expect to return alive.
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