Judge Won’t Toss Statements by 2 Tsarnaev Friends

BOSTON (AP) -

(AP) – Statements made by two friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev following the deadly 2013 bombing can be used at their trial, a federal judge said Thursday.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos declined to testify this week during a hearing over statements they made under questioning by federal agents. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock said he would not throw out their statements.

A third friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, had been expected to testify Friday, but Woodlock said that will be postponed about two weeks until after testimony from an expert witness.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are accused of removing a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth several days after the bombings. Phillipos is accused of lying to investigators.

None of the men are accused of participating in the bombing or knowing about it ahead of time.

Prosecutors and the men’s attorneys are arguing over whether the statements were voluntary and can be used as evidence in the upcoming trials. Prosecutors have said the men willingly spoke to federal agents after being told of their right to remain silent and to contact a lawyer. The three men face separate trials.

Two bombs placed near the finish line of the 2013 marathon killed three people and injured more than 260. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting trial in November. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, also a suspect in the bombings, died following a shootout with police and being run over by his brother escaping in a hijacked car.