Boston Bombing Suspect's Pal Lied to FBI: Jury
Robel Phillipos fibbed about being in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room after attack
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2014 10:51 AM CDT
Robel Phillipos, center, a college friend of Boston Marathon?bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, departs federal court on Oct. 27, 2014, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Newser) – A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted today of two counts of lying to FBI investigators about the 2013 attack, the AP reports. Robel Phillipos, now 21, was accused of lying to agents about being in Tsarnaev's dorm room on April 18, 2013—three days after the bombing—and watching as two other friends removed a backpack that allegedly contained Tsarnaev's things, including fireworks, the Boston Globe reports. Phillipos' attorneys argued that the then-19-year-old was "high out of his mind" on marijuana and couldn't remember everything that happened that day and that he signed the confession put in front of him by the FBI because he was frightened. Perhaps the most surprising defense witness: former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, reportedly a good friend of Phillipos' mother, a social worker in Cambridge.

Dukakis, who testified that he took Phillipos with him to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, said that he talked to Phillipos on the phone on April 20 after the teen had been grilled by the FBI for five hours; Dukakis said that Phillipos indicated "he was so confused he was not sure what he'd said" to agents, Carl Stevens of WBZ News Radio tweeted. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, the friends who removed the backpack, have already been convicted for conspiracy and obstruction of justice, the Boston Herald reports; Phillipos' lawyer argued that "this is a case about a kid high out of his mind, saying, 'I don't remember.' They're not saying he destroyed evidence. They're not saying he touched evidence. He committed no crime." Until his sentencing on Jan. 29, when he could receive up to 16 years in federal prison, Phillipos will be under house arrest and wearing a GPS bracelet.