MOSCOW, January 13 (RAPSI) – Khairullozhon Matanov, a legal immigrant from Kyrgyzstan who is accused of lying to investigators of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, is expected to change his plea to guilty, TASS reported on Tuesday, citing court documents.
According to prosecutors, Matanov, a cab driver from Quincy, Mass., was a friend of accused Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. At his meetings with investigators, he played down the closeness of his friendship with the Tsarnaev brothers. In particular, he did not tell them that he had had a dinner with them at a restaurant hours after the bombings.
Matanov was charged with deleting files from his computer and destroying cell phones as well as lying to investigators about meeting with Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan after two bombs detonated near the Marathon finish line. The indictment notes that Matanov was in contact with each brother and saw Tamerlan at least twice in the days and hours prior to the bombings.
He is also accused of destroying evidence.
Matanov previously pleaded not guilty to the charges of destroying, altering, and falsifying records, documents, and tangible objects in a federal investigation, specifically information on his computer, and three counts of making materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a federal terrorism investigation.
His defense team has not commented on the new developments.
A court date had been set for June 2015.
On the afternoon of April 15, 2013, two explosions occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. IEDs made from pressure cookers, low explosive powder, shrapnel, adhesive and other materials were hidden in backpacks that were then placed near metal barricades in areas packed with hundreds of spectators.
Three people were killed and over 260 wounded in the explosions.
Tsarnaev was arrested following a dramatic manhunt during which his brother and co-suspect Tamerlan was killed, as was MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. Tsarnaev was charged on April 21 with the use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges.
The trial began on January 5, 2015 with the selection of jurors. The prosecution and defense are expected to make opening statements on January 26. The trial will likely last three to four months. The prosecution will demand death penalty for Tsarnaev.