The Associated Press

Lawyer Says Friend Of Marathon Bombing Suspect Refused Plea Deal

BOSTON — 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.”

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.

Tazhayakov is among four friends of the Tsarnaev brothers who have been charged with somehow impeding the investigation or lying to authorities.

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.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting a November trial.

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