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A friend of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers who was accused of trying to impede the investigation is set to plead guilty, court papers show. The new filings in the case of Khairullozhon Matanov come while prosecutors and defense lawyers are trying to pick a jury for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnev, who is charged with carrying out the April 15, 2013, attack with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was later killed.
Matanov, a cab driver from Kyrgyzstan who's been in the U.S. since 2010, was arrested a few weeks after the bombings. The FBI said that on the evening after blasts, he had dinner with both Tsarnaev brothers and spoke by phone with Tamerlan several times in the days after. But when he was interviewed by police, Matanov claimed to know the brothers only casually and later deleted a large amount of data from his computer, prosecutors charged.
The FBI also said Matanov participated in a variety of activities with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, "including discussing religious topics and hiking up a New Hampshire mountain in order to train like, and praise, the 'mujahideen.'"
Matanov originally entered a plea of not guilty. The new filing does not say what the terms of the new deal are, and his lawyer, Paul Glickman, had no comment.
Meanwhile, the process of selecting jurors to decide whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is guilty of capital murder is progressing slowly. The prosecution and defense have agreed to excuse 124 potential jurors “for cause” out of 1,200 who filled out questionnaires last week. Oral questioning of the jury pool is expected to begin later this week with opening statements near the end of the month.
— Pete Williams and Tom Winter