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Robel Phillipos' fate still up in the air

A friend of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awaiting a verdict in his trial for allegedly lying to federal investigators.

Jurors in the trial of Robel Philllipos, who prosecutors claim lied to investigators probing the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, are still deliberating on whether the 21-year-old is guilty of the crime.

The jury entered its fifth day of deliberations Monday, tasked with deciding whether Phillipos knowingly lied to detectives about being in his friend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's UMass Dartmouth dorm room days after the terror attack.

Tsarnaev is accused of carrying out the fatal bombing with his older brother Tamerlan, now deceased. Tsarnaev is awaiting trial, and faces the death penalty if convicted.

"The first time I asked him, he said he didn't recall entering, the second time I asked him he said he did not" enter Tsarnaev's dorm room, FBI special agent Timothy Quinn testified at U.S. District Court in Boston earlier in the trial.

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FBI agents have produced a written statement from Phillipos following agents' questioning in which he admitted to visiting the room.

Two other friends, exchange students from Kazakhstan, accompanied Phillipos on the visit to Tsarnaev's room, where they removed a backpack containing empty fireworks shells.

One of the Kazakhs, Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted in July of obstruction of justice for taking the backpack. The other, Dias Kadyrbayev, pleaded guilty to obstruction in August.

Phillipos' attorneys argued that he was too intoxicated on marijuana the day the visit occurred to have any clear memory of what he did, and thus could not have lied to investigators.

He faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.

 
 
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