A federal magistrate judge agreed Thursday to appoint a taxpayer-funded lawyer for a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Marathon terror bomber.
Robel Kidane Phillipos is charged in US District Court in Boston with lying to investigators in the bombing case.
US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler agreed to appoint Derege Demissie to represent Phillipos, who knew Tsarnaev from Cambridge and attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with him.
Demissie had already been hired by Phillipos, but Bowler agreed to appoint him at taxpayer expense. Judges can appoint a lawyer for a defendant who proves he cannot afford one.
Bowler would only appoint Demissie, but the lawyer and his law partner, Susan Church, said in a statement that they would both continue defending Phillipos, and that the appointment “is procedural matter that will not affect the vigorous and strong defense Mr. Phillipos will receive at trial.”
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