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Dias Kadyrbayev to plead guilty in obstruction case

Bishkek (AKIpress) - Tsarnaev Dias Kadyrbayev, a college friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who is accused of removing evidence from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room, has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges, according to his attorney, Robert Stahl.

Kadyrbayev is scheduled to change his plea Thursday afternoon in US District Court in Boston, according to Stahl and court records. Stahl confirmed the guilty plea, but declined to provide further details before the hearing, the Boston Globe reports.

A trial had been scheduled Sept. 8 for Kadyrbayev, who faces charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Lawyers for Kadyrbayev were filing motions as recently as Tuesday, and a hearing was already scheduled for Thursday. But it is not unusual for prosecutors and defense lawers to engage in behind-the-scenes plea negotiations while a case is still moving forward.

The change in plea could reduce the severity of Kadyrbayev’s sentence under federal sentencing guidelines.

He is the second of three college friends of Tsarnaev to face trial on charges that they interfered with the investigation into the April 15, 2013, bombing, which killed three and injured more than 260.

Kadyrbayev’s roommate, Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted by a federal jury earlier this year and faces up to 25 years in federal prison when sentenced in October by US District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock.

A third friend, Cambridge native Robel Phillipos, faces lesser charges of lying to investigators about his whereabouts the night the evidence was allegedly removed. His trial is set for Sept. 29.

During pretrial hearings in the cases against the three men, testimony from some witnesses painted Kadyrbayev as the one who took the lead in taking items from Tsarnaev’s room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and in tossing Tsarnaev’s backpack into a dumpster.

The backpack held fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and a thumb drive and was later recovered from a nearby landfill by the FBI. That evidence is likely to be used against Tsarnaev, who faces the death penalty if convicted when he goes to trial in November.

Kadyrbayev exchanged text messages with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the day that the FBI released images of the bombing suspects. The exchange came before Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, were identified by officials as the primary suspects in the bombing.

During the exchange, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev warned Kadyrbayev not to text him but also told him he could go to his dorm room and take anything he wanted from there.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office alleges that Kadyrbayev’s actions hampered the investigation into the bombings and the related murder of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, which was also allegedly committed by the Tsarnaev brothers.

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