Man Charged with Destroying Evidence in Boston Bombing Probe

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A Massachusetts man is accused of destroying evidence related to the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings, federal prosecutors said in an indictment unsealed Friday.

Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, of Quincy, allegedly took a “series of steps to impede the FBI’s investigation” into his relationship with bombing suspects and brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, federal prosecutors said. They claim Matanov knew that he would be questioned by the FBI because they were friends and had been in contact with the brothers, sharing their “philosophical justification for violence.”

Investigators said he deleted information from his computer and also made false statements to the FBI.

Matanov has been charged in connection to the investigation of the twin April 2013 bombings, but not for participating in the attack itself.

According to the indictment, he spoke with the Tsarnaevs after the bombings and took them out for dinner on the day of the blasts.

Matanov faces one count of destroying, altering and falsifying records, documents and tangible objects in a federal investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said in a news release. He also was charged with three counts of making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements in a federal terrorism investigation.

If found guilty, Matanov faces up to 20 years in prison for the destruction of evidence, and eight years for each false statement count. All four counts also carry up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, prosecutors said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police after the bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will stand trial in November, and faces the death penalty.

— Erik Ortiz and Tom Winter