A lawyer for a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect said Monday that he rejected a plea deal offered to his client, who he said "knows he's not guilty."
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The defendant, Azamat Tazhayakov, and another man are accused of removing items from the dorm room of their friend, bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, days after the deadly bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Tazhayakov's lawyer, Matthew Myers, told reporters after a pretrial hearing that prosecutors offered him a deal to plead to reduced charges but he turned it down. Myers would not disclose the terms of the offer.
"He knows he's not guilty," Myers said of Tazhayakov. "He's confident." A spokeswoman for prosecutors did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Jury selection is slated to begin next week in Tazhayakov's trial. Nicholas Wooldridge, another lawyer representing Tazhayakov, said the defense is hopeful of finding an impartial jury, but he acknowledged it could be challenging because of the impact the bombing had in Boston and the surrounding area.
"Even though this case is not the Boston Marathon bombing case, still people have a connection with that," Wooldridge said.
Authorities say Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, planted the bombs near the finish line of the marathon last year. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days later.
Later on Monday, a friend of Tamerlan's planned to ask a judge to release him on bail while he awaits trial on charges of impeding the investigation into the attack. That friend, Khairullozhon Matanov, is accused of deleting computer files and lying to investigators in the marathon probe. Prosecutors said Matanov had dinner with both Tsarnaevs hours after the bombings. He is not charged with participating in the bombings or knowing about them in advance.
Matanov, 23, of Quincy, initially waived his right to seek release on bail. His lawyer, Edward Hayden, said then that Matanov, who came to the United States from Kyrgyzstan in 2010, has no family here, lost his job as a cab driver after he was indicted and has nowhere to go if he were released.
During a court hearing this month, prosecutors argued that Matanov had shown a "pattern of deceit" that included using false names to send money overseas. His lawyer said Matanov sent most of the money to his family and sometimes used false names because he was uncomfortable sending all the money in his own name.
Prosecutors said Matanov deceived authorities when he was asked about his relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But Hayden said Matanov went to police the morning after the FBI released photographs of the Tsarnaevs and gave police the brothers' address and phone numbers.
Matanov and Tazhayakov are among four friends of the Tsarnaev brothers who have been charged with somehow impeding the investigation or lying to authorities. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting a November trial.
—The Associated Press
First published June 23 2014, 1:01 PM