Tsarnaev's Friend Guilty of Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on July 21, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The trial of Azamat Tazhayakov, better known as one of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends, began earlier this month, and a mere two weeks later, the jury has deliberated and found him guilty.

Let's take a closer look at the details surround the criminal trial.

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The Criminal Conduct

Azamat Tazhayakov, a native of Kazakhstan and visiting student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, was indicted for allegedly interfering with the investigation against alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tazhayakov was charged with two counts of conspiracy and two counts of obstruction of justice -- one count in connection with the removal of Tsarnaev's backpack, and one count in connection with the removal of Tsarnaev's laptop, reports WBZ1030.

The Prosecution's Case

According to the prosecution, Tsarnaev texted another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev and told him to go to his room and "take what's there," reports WBZ1030. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov and went to Tsarnaev's dorm room three days after the attack, and removed Tsarnaev's backpack -- which contained emptied fireworks -- and disposed of it. Though prosecutors acknowledged that it was Kadyrbayev who actually disposed of Tsarnaev's things, they argued to the jury that Tashayakov "agreed with the plan."

The Conviction

Today, Azamat Tazhayakov was convicted of two of the four counts -- obstruction of justice related to the removal of the backpack, and the corresponding conspiracy charge. The jury reached this verdict after deliberating 15 hours across three days, says The New York Times. Tazhayakov may face up to five-years' imprisonment on the conspiracy charge, and up to 20-years' imprisonment on the obstruction charge. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 16, 2014.

Tsarnaev's other two friends, who are also charged with interfering with the investigation -- Dias Kadyrbayev (for disposing of evidence) and Robel Phillipos (for lying to investigators) -- are awaiting trial in September, reports The New York Times. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial is scheduled for November, when he will face the death penalty if convicted.

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