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Bombing suspect's friends arraigned

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By USA Today
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 9:36 p.m.

BOSTON — Arriving in orange jumpsuits and smiling slightly at supporters, two friends of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in federal court to charges that they interfered with the April bombing investigation.

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, two Kazakh nationals and college friends with Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, were charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. If convicted, each could receive up to 25 years in prison.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov wore handcuffs when they entered the courtroom. U.S. marshals uncuffed them for the proceedings. They sat next to their attorneys at a table and faced Judge Marianne Bowler in an arraignment that lasted about five minutes.

According to the indictment, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov removed a laptop and backpack from Tsarnaev's dormitory room when they learned he was a suspect in the April 15 bombings that killed three and injured more than 200. The two are accused of discarding the backpack in a garbage bin outside their New Bedford, Mass., apartment.

The indictment asserts that the two saw that the backpack contained fireworks, which had been opened and manipulated, such that some of their explosive powder was visible.

They saw a jar of Vaseline, which Kadyrbayev allegedly believed to be an ingredient for a homemade bomb. Kadyrbayev discussed disposing of the backpack and its contents, and Tazhayakov agreed, the indictments says.

In the courtroom, Tazhayakov had an entourage of family supporters, led by his father, an oil exporter in Kazakhstan who has been in the United States ever since his son was first charged in April. Also present were his mother, brother, sister and a cousin.

Tazhayakov and his family believe he's being “scapegoated,” according to his attorney, Arkady Bukh, who translated from Russian for Tazhayakov's father, Amir Ismagulov.

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