Customer Defends Cab Driver Charged With Blocking Marathon Bombing Investigation
BOSTON (CBS) – She was a longtime cab customer of Khairullozhon Matanov, known as Witness #2 in the indictment charging him with obstructing the Boston Marathon bombings investigation.
Matanov told her he knew the Tsarnaev brothers through soccer. “He was absolutely shocked that they could be involved in this,” she tells WBZ-TV preferring to shield her identity. She knew Matanov as hardworking with loyal customers. Without a car of her own, he picked her up every morning to take her to the train station so she could go to work.
She says the morning after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with Watertown police he asked if he should go the police offering to help. She says he was nervous and she accompanied him to the Braintree police station. “It was an effort to cooperate. He told me had cellphone numbers for the Tsarnaevs so they could organize soccer games. I thought that would be important.”
She says he answered the detective’s questions and even handed over the cell phone numbers. It was after that meeting the FBI started watching Matanov. In federal court at his detention hearing Wednesday, an FBI agent testified he sometimes drove wildly trying to lose them. “He was nervous, of course,” said his customer. “It’s not something you want to know that the FBI is searching through your past and following you.”
What she didn’t know is that Matanov had dinner in a Somerville restaurant with the Tsarnaev brothers just hours after the bombings. “It’s a coincidence. I don’t think it was a dinner to get together and high five each other and say congratulations.”
The FBI claims Matanov had a deeper relationship with the Tsarnaevs and accuse him of destroying evidence on his computer. This customer says he did the right thing. “I do have faith he is innocent.”
Matanov has pleaded not guilty to the obstruction charges and is being held without bail.
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