Robel Phillipos: Friend of Boston bomber asks for release after allegedly lying to investigators

Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge allegedly lied to investigators to cover accused Boston bomber's tracks. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge allegedly lied to investigators to cover accused Boston bomber’s tracks. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Lawyers for Robel Phillipos, a teen charged with lying to investigators after the Boston Marathon bombings, want a federal judge to release him from jail on the basis that he was not behind the terror attack and does not pose a flight risk.

Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge, is due in U.S. District Court Monday for a detention hearing , where his defense is expected to deny authorities’ claim that Phillipos gave them conflicting accounts.

“This case is about a frightened and confused 19-year-old who was subjected to intense questioning and interrogation, without the benefit of counsel, and in the context of one of the worst attacks against the nation,” lawyers Derege Demissie and Susan Church wrote. “The weight of the federal government under such circumstances can have a devastatingly crushing effect on the ability of an adolescent to withstand the enormous pressure and respond rationally.”

Last week Phillipos was charged with lying to federal investigators about visiting bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college dorm room on April 18, three days after the bombings. Two other friends, Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by taking a backpack with fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev’s dorm room.

Prosecutors said Phillipos confessed to lying on April 26. He faces up to eight years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Phillipos lawyers claim he was at the university “by sheer coincidence and bad luck,” and that he had taken a leave of absence in December and hadn’t spoken to Tsarnaev or the other two men for more than two months.

In an affidavit, Philipos’ mother, Genet Bekele, wrote: “My son wants nothing more than the opportunity to clear his name. My whole family is  in complete shock over the accusation made against him. We are all in disbelief that this is actually happening to our family…The whole family is committed to helping him fight the charged filed against him.”

She said she has “no doubt” that Phillipos will abide by any condition of release.

Defense lawyers described the teen as “friendly, kind, and genuine.”

“The charge has ruined his once bright future. He will suffer its enduring and devastating effect for the rest of his life. The only way he can salvage his future is by clearing his name,” his lawyers wrote. “He is committed to do just that.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Sharpton adapts adversarial style to de Blasio's New…

It was not the first time the Reverend Al Sharpton made his way to City Hall in a fiery mood to scold a mayor about New York City police officers…

National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

Music

polyphonic

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…