Marathon bombing suspect's friend was told to be on 'Team America'

BOSTON ( – The trial of Robel Phillipos, a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, continued into its second day on Thursday.

Phillipos, 21, of Cambridge, is charged with lying to the FBI about being in suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm when two other friends removed Tsarnaev's backpack and other potential evidence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin said in court on Monday that Phillipos had told a string of lies to the FBI during several interviews until he finally confessed to being in Tsarnaev's dorm room and seeing the men remove the backpack, which contained fireworks that had been emptied of their explosive powder.

Phillipos' lawyer, Derege Demissie, argued that Phillipos was "high out of his mind" on April 18, 2013, and could not remember what he did that night.

During a cross examination by the defense on Tuesday, Special Agent Dwight Schwader, who interviewed Phillipos, said that Phillipos had never told him during questioning that he had been too high to remember.

Special Agent Michael Delapena testified that Phillipos had initially said during questioning that he didn't remember going into Tsarnaev's room, but by the end of the interview he had admitted to being there. In the April 26 interview, Delapena said he told Phillipos that he needed to be on "Team America."

In Phillipos written confession, the suspect says he had taken a two hour nap on the night in question, and when he had woken up the backpack was gone. In the confession, Phillipos also says that he regrets not turning the backpack over to authorities.

Azamat Tazhayakov, Phillipos's friend who has been convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for removing the backpack, took the stand Tuesday. Tazhayakov admitted to being convicted of a crime, and that he had been told that telling the truth would help with his sentencing, but that the government hasn't made any promises.

Tazhayakov's brother, Abylaikhan Ismagylov, came to federal court Tuesday.

"He's doing well," Ismagylov said of his brother. "He is not going against Robel. He just saying the truth, actually what happened that night."

Special Agent John Walker from the FBI Marathon bombing task force said in court on Tuesday that the FBI still does not know where the bombs used in the explosion were made.

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