BOSTON - Three college friends of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were due in court on Friday to answer charges that they helped cover his tracks when the FBI was trying to find the people responsible for the April 15 attack.
The men, two exchange students from Kazakhstan and one from the Boston area, are charged with removing a laptop and a backpack containing empty fireworks shells from Tsarnaev's room three days after receiving a text message from him telling them to "go to my room and take what's there," according to court papers.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both from Kazakhstan, both face the charges of obstruction of justice and could face 25 years in prison or deportation. Robel Phillipos, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been charged with lying to investigators and could face up to 16 years in prison.
None of the men is charged with involvement in the bombing and at an appearance on Aug. 13 in federal court in Boston, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov pleaded not guilty to all charges. Phillipos has not yet entered a plea.
Federal prosecutors said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now 20, and his older brother, Tamerlan, killed three people and injured 264 other with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the crowded finish line of the marathon on April 15.