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Robel Phillipos: Guilty Verdict on Five of Nine Alleged Statements

Robel Phillipos has been found guilty of making five of the nine false statements alleged in the Indictment. The jury found he lied about both false statements charged in Count 1 and three of the nine statements charged in Count 2. He will remain on bond and house arrest through sentencing.

Shorter version: He did not lie about what he saw or heard in the dorm room. He lied about not being in the dorm room at all, and learning afterwards that his friends had taken the backpack from the dorm room. He did not lie when he denied discussing get rid of the backpack with his friends. The jury rejected the FBI's "written confession" by Robel. [More...]

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4th Day of Jury Deliberations in Robel Phillipos Trial

The jury is in its fourth day of deliberations in the trial of Robel Phillipos, the friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with two counts of making a false statement to federal officials in a terror investigation. Count One pertains to his statements to authorities on April 20, 2013, and Count 2 relates to statements made on April 25, 2013.

One of the reasons it may be taking so long: The jury must be unanimous as to any particular false statement he made. While there are only two counts, there are two allegedly false statements in the first count and seven in the second count. The jury has to discuss and arrive at a consensus on each. [More....]

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Robel Philippos: Verdict Watch

The jury has been deliberating for an hour in in the trial of Robel Philippos,the friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who is charged with lying to the FBI. Closing arguments were held this morning.

Prosecutors say Phillipos, 21, lied to investigators about his whereabouts and what he saw on April 18, 2013, when he and two friends allegedly visited Tsarnaev’s dorm room and removed a backpack of evidence after the marathon bombings. After several interviews, Phillipos signed a written confession admitting he had lied and that he regretted doing so.

Phillipos’s defense team contends that he was a scared 19-year-old at the time who was “high out of his mind” during interviews with investigators and could not remember clearly. The confession, they argued, was coerced by investigators.

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No Venue Change for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's jury trial will remain in Boston. The judge denied a change of venue yesterday. He did grant a two month continuance, until January, 2015. The 10 page order is here.

I recommend reading the defense expert's report. It is very well written and really gives a sense of the factors that need to be considered. It is available here.

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Seeks End to " SAMS" Restrictions

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers have filed a motion to end the SAMS restrictions on Tsarnaev and his legal team.

The SAMS imposed on Tsarnaev are attached to the motion as an exhibit. Take a minute to read them. But for all the alphabet references to federal agencies, I would have thought the jail was in Russia. The motion is here.

The documents also contain some interesting Government theories about Dzhokhar, some of which are at odds with other information released by the Government (the motion discusses this aspect.)

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Third Friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Indicted

Robel Phillipos, the third friend of Jahar Tsarnaev who was arrested for making false statements to the FBI related to the terrorism investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, has now been indicted. He's charged with two counts of making a false statement in a matter involving domestic or international terrorism. The Indictment is here. It alleges his false statements material and made knowingly and willfully.

His attorneys previously said they were working on a disposition. No more. They now say he will fight the charges. My translation: Negotiations over sentencing broke down. [More...]

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New Tsarnaev Injury Photos Released

Boston Magazine, which first published the leaked arrest photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has published another 48 images from the arrest scene. Like the earlier photos, these were taken by Sergeant Sean Murphy.

In this photo, an injured Dzhokhar lifts his sweatshirt. Presumably, this was in response to a request by law enforcement to show he did not have a bomb strapped to his chest. In this photo, you can see the number of agents with guns trained on him as he descended from the boat. This photo shows injuries to his face and hand while still on the boat.

Here's a video in which you can hear the barrage of shots fired at Tsarnaev, who was unarmed.

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DzhokharTsarnaev's Injuries

A few documents were unsealed in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case, including the transcript of his advisement at the hospital two days after his capture. The trauma surgeon attending to him told the judge:

He has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower 18 face. This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in 19 skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a 21 significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that's been treated. He has, in addition to this, some ophthalmologic injuries that have been treated.

He has multiple gunshots wounds to the extremities that have been treated with dressings to the lower extremities; and in the case of his left hand, he had multiple bony injuries as well that were treated with fixation and soft-tissue coverage, as well as tendon repair and vascular ligation.

He was questioned for two days before this hearing, without being advised of his right to counsel. He was also being administered Diluadid, a potent pain killer, every three hours.

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Tsarnaev Friends Plead Not Guilty at Arraignment

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, the friends of Dzokhar Tsarnaev who took items from his dorm room a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing, appeared in court today and entered pleas of not guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice. After court, Dias' attorney released a statement, which reads in part:

“Dias comes from a former Soviet-bloc region where police routinely are distrusted. Yet when authorities first approached him, he fully cooperated and for nearly 12 hours over two days Dias answered the FBI’s questions without an attorney or a Kazakh Consular official present,” the statement read.

“Dias also voluntarily turned over the computer from Tsarnaev’s room and told the FBI where they could find the backpack that contained a packet of fireworks. The FBI recovered all of the items because of Dias’ complete cooperation with their investigation.”

At Slate, Azamat's first lawyer, Harlan Protass, has an op-ed arguing against long sentences for the pair. The Government told the court today it expects to call 15 to 20 witnesses at trial.

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Two Friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Indicted

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on charges of Obstruction of Justice and Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. The Indictment is here.

Robelo Philliipos was not indicted. His lawyer says he is still negotiating with the Government.

What's missing from the Indictment? Any reference to what the two told the FBI during their early interviews. Did DOJ conclude their statements were inadmissible? The Complaint against them had alleged: [More...]

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Cop Who Leaked Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Photos Placed on Leave

Sergeant Sean P. Murphy, the State Police tactical photographer who leaked photos of a bloodied Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with a sniper's laser aimed at his head as he surrendered and departed the boat, has been placed on leave. He will have a hearing next week. He was not authorized to release the photos.

The U.S. Attorneys office, former prosecutors, police officials, a law professor and defense lawyers have all blasted Murphy's release of the photos.

“The release of these photos was completely unacceptable,” (U.S. Attorney) spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said in a statement. [More...]

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On the Cover of the Rolling Stone: Jahar's World

(Song here)

I'm sure there will be people outraged by the presence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone. I'm not one of them. I'm looking forward to reading the featured article about him.

[RS Editor Janet]Reitman spent the last two months interviewing dozens of sources – childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case – to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster.

I just wish they hadn't called him a "monster." Hopefully the article will provide some unbiased insights into Jahar from people that really knew him. It comes out August 3. [More...]

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Widow and Father of Ibragim Todashev Speak Out

While unnamed officials continue to tell the media that Ibragim Todashev "implicated" himself in the killing of three men in Boston in 2011, his wife (from whom he was separated) and father are speaking out and disputing the media allegations.

Ms. Manukyan, an Armenian who converted to Islam before marrying Mr. Todashev, says she met her late husband in 2010 through a mutual friend in Boston. She says she separated from Mr. Todashev last November but was still in regular contact with him and was partly supporting him through their joint bank account. She says she saw him last week when he came to visit her in Atlanta and spoke to him this week.

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FBI Agent Kills FL Man During Questioning About Boston Bombing

The FBI and Boston police were in Florida questioning Ibragim Todashev, an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, when the FBI says he got violent and an FBI agent shot and killed him in self-defense.

Here is an interview with a friend of Todashev's.

An unnamed source says Todashev is "directly involved" in the triple murder in Massachusetts, in which one of the victims was a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The source says Todashev and Tsarnaev knew each other from martial arts.

Undoubtedly, there is much more to this story. [More...]

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Docket: Missing Entries

Yesterday, the Judge in the Boston bombing case of defendant Dzokhar Tsarnaev issued an order denying a motion filed under seal in which the defense asked to take periodic photographs of Dzhokhar (Jahar) at Devens Medical Facility to be able to document his evolving physical and emotional state. The court declined to interfere with BOP policy which disallows visitors to have cameras on security grounds. It ruled that the staff at the prison can take the photos which will be shared with both parties (not just the defense.) Here is the Court's order, referencing the motion which was filed under seal as Docket Number 29. The order also refers to a response the Government filed under seal.

Looking at the docket, it appears that there have been many motions filed under seal, because so many numbers are missing. Instead of listing the docket number with a descriptive notation like "Motion to Suppress, Sealed, by Defendant", there's a big nothing. See below: [More..]

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