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Tag: Boston

College Friend of Suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Convicted of Lying to FBI Task Force in Boston Marathon Probe

Robel Phillipos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After an eight-day trial, a Boston federal jury Tuesday convicted a college friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, of making false statements to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Robel Phillipos, 21, of Cambridge, Mass., was found guilty of making false statements on April 20 and April 25 in 2013. Sentencing is set for next Jan. 29.

“In the wake of one of the most significant events in this City’s modern history – an event which left two young women and a child dead, and many more injured – thousands of ordinary citizens assisted law enforcement in identifying and locating the perpetrators,” Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. “Today, a federal jury concluded that Robel Phillipos did just the opposite. He lied to agents when he could have helped. He concealed when he could have assisted. It is a crime to lie to law enforcement agents, and that is why Robel Phillipos was charged and why the jury found him guilty today. But this case also reminds us that our public safety network relies on every citizen in the Commonwealth.

A Justice Department press release stated the following:

In August 2014, Dias Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges related to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. Kadyrbayev admitted to removing evidence from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and discarding Tsarnaev’s backpack with fireworks, some of which appeared to have been emptied of their explosive powder, in a garbage dumpster. In July 2014, Azamat Tazhayakov was found guilty by a federal jury in Boston of obstruction of justice charges for his role in impeding the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. His conduct was related to the same conduct as charged against Kadyrbayev that occurred in Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013.

At the Phillipos trial, the government proved that Phillipos lied about his knowledge and activities on the evening of April 18, 2013. Specifically, Phillipos repeatedly lied to investigators when he denied that, on the evening of April 18, 2013, he entered Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and saw Kadyrbayev remove a backpack containing fireworks.

According to evidence presented at trial, at 7:00 p.m. on April 18, 2013, Phillipos saw the images released by the FBI of the two suspected bombers and immediately recognized one of them as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. At 10:00 p.m., Phillipos went with Tazhayakov to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room where he and Tazhayakov watched, as Kadyrbayev searched through Tsarnaev’s belongings and found a backpack containing fireworks. When Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and Phillipos left Tsarnaev’s room at 10:30 p.m., Kadyrbayev removed Tsarnaev’s backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and Tsarnaev’s laptop computer. Later that night while Tazhayakov and Phillipos were monitoring the manhunt for the Tsarnaevs on television, Kadyrbayev discussed getting rid of the backpack containing the fireworks with them. Tazhayakov agreed with Kadyrbayev that they should get rid of it. After this conversation, Kadrybayev placed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s backpack in a garbage bag and placed it in a dumpster outside their New Bedford apartment. The FBI recovered the backpack a week later, after 30 agents spent two days searching a landfill in New Bedford.

Between April 19, 2013 and April 26, 2013, Phillipos was interviewed five times by investigators conducting the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and during each of those interviews Phillipos lied. At the conclusion of the fifth interview, Phillipos finally admitted that he did go into Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013 and that he saw Kadyrbayev remove evidence from Tsarnaev’s room. After he confessed, Phillipos indicated he regretted his decisions. In his signed statement, Phillipos stated: “In retrospect, I should have notified the Police once I knew Jahar was the bomber. Further, I should have turned over the backpack to the authorities.”

 

Jury Deliberations begin in Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect’s Friend

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A jury has begun deliberating in the trial of a friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

The Boston Globe reports that the fate of Robel Phillipos is now in the hands of a jury.

In closing arguments, Phillipos’ attorney said the government failed to show that he “knowingly and intentionally” made false statements during the investigation. The attorney said Phillipos’ memory was clouded by marijuana.

But U.S. attorneys said Phillipos intentionally lied to protect his friend.

“This case is about someone who lied, not about someone who didn’t remember,” Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said.

 

 

Attorneys for Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Tsarnaev Deny Impersonating FBI Employees

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are accusing the defense lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of posing as FBI employees to investigate their client’s background in Russia, the Boston Globe reports.

“Let us be clear: At no time have members of the defense team misrepresented themselves or lied about their work,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote in papers filed Monday in US District Court.

Calling the allegations “false and facially preposterous, ” the lawyers charged that prosecutors had made an “absurd charge.”

Russian authorities recently told the U.S. government that Tsarnaev’s defense team traveled to Russia to investigate the case and falsely claimed they were FBI employees.

“While conducting interviews in Russia, the members of the defense team reportedly refused to produce documents confirming their legal status and identified themselves as employees of the FBI,” prosecutors wrote. “As a result, the Russian government . . . expelled them.”

Police Search for Men Who Posed As FBI Agents, Pistol-Whipped Man During Fake Raid

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Police are looking for two armed men who posed as FBI agents while knocking on a suburban Boston apartment Saturday night.

The Boston Globe reports that assailants said they had a search warrant and pistol-whipped an occupant who opened the door in Waltham, Mass.

The assailants fled the apartment after striking the occupant several times over the head.

The occupant, who was taken to the hospital for head injuries, had told the assailants that he had called 911.

FBI Confirms Sightings of Masterpieces Stolen from Boston Art Museum in 1990

The Concert (c. 1658–1660) by Vermeer

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two men disguised as police officers stole $500 million worth of artwork from a Boston museum in 1990.

Now the FBI has confirmed recent sightings of the work that was taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.com reports.

The art included work by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Manet.

FBI Special Agent Geoff Kelly, who is in charge of the theft, identified three persons of interest, all of whom have ties to organized crime: Carmello Merlino, Robert Guarente, and Robert Gentile.

Gentile, who is the only one of trio still alive, said he knows nothing of the missing artwork.

One-Year Anniversary of Boston Marathon Bombings Brings Unanswered Questions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One year after twin pressure cooker bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon bombings, many questions remain.

Why did federal authorities miss an opportunity to act on a warning from Russia that bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was becoming radicalized? How much of a role did his younger brother, Dzhokhar, play in attack? Would the brothers have launched an attack in New York?

“The obvious one is the motivation and how could two young men who were in a country that, from all appearances, was very good to them end up this radical,” former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who helped lead the investigation, told the Associated Press.

The April 15 bombings killed three people and injured 260 more. At least 16 people lost limbs, the AP wrote.

Book Review: ”Long Mile Home,’ Recounts Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation

By Aamer Madhani
USA Today

On the first-year anniversary of a national tragedy, it’s inevitable for the so-called definitive account to be rolled out by publishers calculating that enough time has passed for an author to have developed perspective, but not so much time that the calamity is no longer fresh in the public’s conscience.

Publishing houses are, more often than not, wrong. Too often, readers, including this one, feel burned by investing time and cash in what too frequently reads like notebook dumps by journalists on the front line of a big story. The works ultimately don’t stand the test of time.

But with Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, The City’s Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice, The Boston Globe‘s Scott Helman and Jenna Russell prove there are exceptions.

Long Mile Home, which arrives just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is a riveting piece of journalism and an exceptional tribute to a great American city that manages to avoid being sentimental or syrupy.

Helman and Russell, two of the Globe‘s best reporters, relied heavily on their colleagues’ outstanding coverage of the bombing and the aftermath in weaving a narrative around several principal characters.

Former Head of Boston’s FBI Office Fined for Violating Ethics Charge

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The former head of the FBI’s Boston office choked up Tuesday as he was fined $10,000 for violating an ethics charge, the Boston Globe reports.

Kenneth Kaiser, a retired assistant director of the FBI, had pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement that spared him jail time.

“I lost something I valued the most — my reputation,” Kenneth W. Kaiser, 57, of Hopkinton, said.

Kaiser was accused of meeting with former FBI colleagues about his company that was under investigation.