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Jurors Can Consider Tsarnaev Friend’s FBI Interviews

BOSTON — The federal judge presiding over the obstruction trial of Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will allow jurors to consider statements Tazhayakov made to the FBI.

Tazhayakov’s attorneys had asked Judge Douglas Woodlock to suppress statements their client made to the FBI, arguing they had been made involuntarily after Tazhayakov was ordered out of his New Bedford apartment by a SWAT team, stripped of his shirt and pants, handcuffed and held by the FBI at a state police barracks for hours.

In this May 13 file courtroom sketch, defendant Azamat Tazhayakov sits during a hearing in federal court in Boston.  (Jane Flavell Collins/AP)

In this May 13 file courtroom sketch, defendant Azamat Tazhayakov sits during a hearing in federal court in Boston. (Jane Flavell Collins/AP)

But FBI agents testified they had asked Tazhayakov if he would accompany them, called a cab for him after the interview was over, and said he was free to leave at any time.

Judge Woodlock said he could not find that Tazhayakov’s statements were involuntary.

Tazhayakov and another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, are charged with interfering with the FBI’s investigation into the bombing by removing Tsarnaev’s backpack, containing altered fireworks and a laptop, from his dorm room hours after the FBI released video and photos of Tsarnaev as a suspect.

Tazhayakov’s defense maintains that Kadyrbayev removed the backpack and later threw the items away.

Prosecutors say both men shared in the decision to take the items and get rid of them to protect Tsarnaev.

Jurors will hear closing arguments Wednesday and then begin their deliberations.

With reporting by WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman and The Associated Press.

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