Jury selection to begin Monday in the trial of Tsarnaev friend, Robel Phillipos

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the federal trial of Robel Phillipos, who faces charges of lying to investigators in the wake of last year's deadly Boston Marathon bombing.

Robel Phillipos (2nd L), a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with lying to investigators, leaves the federal courthouse after a hearing in his case in Boston, Massachusetts May 13, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER Robel Phillipos (2nd L), a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with lying to investigators, leaves the federal courthouse after a hearing in his case in Boston, Massachusetts May 13, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER

 

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the federal trial of Robel Phillipos, who faces charges of lying to investigators in the wake of last year's deadly Boston Marathon bombing.

 

 

Phillipos, 21, of Cambridge, attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School with accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is set to go on trial in January for allegedly detonating two bombs at the Boylston Street finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three and injuring 264.

 

Federal prosecutors claim Phillipos lied to investigators probing the bombings, and allege he was in Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth several days after the attack, when two other friends removed Tsarnaev's laptop, Vaseline, and a backpack containing empty firework shells.

One of the other two men, Azamat Tazhayakov, was found guilty in July of obstruction of justice for removing the evidence, and the second, Dias Kadyrbayev, in August pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Phillipos is accused of lying about being present when the men took the items. He has pleaded not guilty.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock last week denied a renewed plea by Phillipos to move his trial to another city - either Springfield; Providence, Rhode Island; or Portland, Maine.

Woodlock said that the court experienced less trouble selecting a jury for the Tazhayakov trial than had been anticipated.

“I’m satisfied as to being able to get a fair and impartial jury in this case,” Woodlock said.

Phillipos has been confined to his Cambridge home since his May 2013 arrest. He faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted. Investigators do not believe he played any role in the attack.

Last week a federal judge also denied requests by Tsarnaev's defense team to delay his trial until next fall - it was originally scheduled to begin this November - and to move it out of Boston on the grounds that it will be nearly impossible to give him a fair trial in the city.

Tsarnaev faces the possibility of execution if found guilty of carrying out the deadly terror attack and also murdering an MIT police officer as he attempted to flee with his late brother and alleged accomplice Tamerlan Tsarnaev three days later.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 
Latest From ...
Most Popular From ...