A sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers appeared in court Wednesday on charges of impeding a 2010 investigation into counterfeiting.
Ailina Tsarnaeva, who is 23 and lives in New Jersey, is charged with lying to a Boston police detective investigating a counterfeit bill used at an Applebee’s restaurant in Dorchester in April 2010.
Tsarnaeva is not accused of passing the fake currency, but police say she knew members of the group that did.
After a short hearing, she was released on personal recognizance after agreeing to check in with the Probation Department once a week. She left the South Boston courthouse without speaking to reporters.
“We have no comment,” said her lawyer, George Gormley .
Tsarnaeva’s brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are accused of planting bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. They are also accused of killing MIT police Officer Sean Collier.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed during a confrontation with police in Watertown several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, escaped, but was found later that day hiding in a boat in a Watertown back yard. He is facing federal charges that could carry the death penalty.
Tsarnaeva was arraigned in 2011 in the counterfeiting case, but had not appeared in court since then and had an outstanding warrant for her arrest.
Her lawyer said she was appearing voluntarily to “get herself in good standing with the court.” She has a 1-year-old and is pregnant with her second child, he said.
Gormley urged the judge to release Tsarnaeva without bail, saying she could not pay the $1,500 sought by prosecutors.
“She is, practically speaking, indigent,” he said. “It may as well be $15,000.”
Judge Michael Bolden imposed $1,500 bail but said Tsarnaeva was not required to post it before release. She must pay that amount if she fails to appear in court when required.
“She needs to stay in touch with our Probation Department,” he said.
A pretrial conference was scheduled for Dec. 4. Tsarnaeva is not required to attend.
In court documents, investigators said that a group of customers at the Applebee’s left a counterfeit bill, and their server went outside in time to see them drive away. She wrote down the license plate and notified police, who tracked the car to Tsarnaeva.
Tsarnaeva told police thatshe had been at work that day and that no one had borrowed her car.According to a detective’s report filed in court, Tsarnaeva told police she was near the restaurant and picked up a friend. She “knew something was wrong” with the group, but said they never told her what happened. She told police she only knew the friend as Brian and didn’t know the others.
Tsarnaeva provided police with a phone number for her friend, but phone records showed no activity at that number. Tsarnaeva said she had not lied to police but did not “want to be a snitch.”
In a phone conversation in June 2010, the detective said he “wanted the truth about what happened.” Tsarnaeva then hung up, the detective wrote.
In September 2010, police went to the family’s Cambridge address, where they spoke with Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the Tsarnaevs’ mother. She said her two daughters had moved out three months before. She reportedly told police her daughter would attend the next hearing.