MOSCOW, June 24 (RAPSI) – A US magistrate judge has denied bail to Khairullozhon Matanov, a Quincy cab driver who was a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan, AP announced on Monday night.
The Massachusetts attorney’s office says Matanov was a friend of the Tsarnaev brothers and even had dinner with them hours after the bombing. They believe he knew that investigators could have questions for him and so took measures to prevent prosecution.
AP writes that Matanov appeared in court on Monday, where his attorney asked the judge to release him on bail. The request was denied.
Matanov is accused of covering up evidence by deleting computer files and lying to investigators in the marathon probe. During a federal court hearing in early June, Matanov claimed he was innocent of the charges brought against him.
Meanwhile, Azamat Tazhayakov, another friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared in court on Monday for a final hearing before his June 30 trial on obstruction of justice charges. According to AP, prosecutors offered him a plea bargain to reduced charges but he turned the deal down.
Tazhayakov and Matanov are accused of removing items from the dorm room of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev days after the deadly bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
On the afternoon of April 15, 2013, two explosions occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. IEDs made from pressure cookers, low explosive powder, shrapnel, adhesive and other materials were hidden in backpacks that were then placed near metal barricades in areas packed with hundreds of spectators.
Tsarnaev was arrested following a dramatic manhunt during which his brother and co-suspect Tamerlan was killed, as was MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. Tsarnaev was charged on April 21 with the use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
US prosecutors filed a notice of intent to pursue the death penalty against Tsarnaev on January 30, 2014. Tsarnaev’s trial is to begin on November 3.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
The other defendants in the Boston Marathon bombing case, apart from Tsarnaev, are his three friends: Kazakhstan nationals Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev and US citizen Robel Phillipos.
Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev have been accused of removing a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev's university dormitory room several days after the bombings. Phillipos is accused of lying to investigators.