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Jury selection to begin for marathon suspect’s friend

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POSTED June 29, 2014 6:45 p.m.

BOSTON (AP) — The first of four friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to go on trial on charges he impeded the investigation into the deadly attack.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in Azamat Tazhayakov’s trial on obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges. Opening statements are scheduled for July 7.

Authorities say Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev admitted they removed Tsarnaev’s backpack from his dorm room three nights after the bombing after they saw photographs of Tsarnaev on the news identifying him as one of the suspects. The backpack contained fireworks that had the black powder scooped out.

“This discovery frightened Tazhayakov because the powder had been emptied from the tube. Kadyrbayev also found a jar of Vaseline in the room and told Tazhayakov that he believed Tsarnaev had used the Vaseline ‘to make bombs.’ At that point, Tazhayakov believed that Tsarnaev was involved in planting the bombs at the Boston Marathon,” FBI Agent Scott Cieplik wrote in an affidavit.

Kadyrbayev told authorities they threw the backpack and fireworks in the trash “because they did not want Tsarnaev to get into trouble,” Cieplik wrote.

Kadyrbayev, who is scheduled to go on trial in September, is accused of putting the backpack and fireworks into a trash bag and throwing it into a trash bin. Authorities later found the items in a landfill.

Tazhayakov is accused of agreeing with the plan to get rid of the items.

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev, both 20 and natives of Kazakhstan, came to the United States in 2011 on student visas. They attended the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where they became friends with Tsarnaev, a native of Kyrgyzstan who came to the U.S. with his family from Russia as a young boy.

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