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Tsarnaev friend’s lawyer wants court order lifted

A lawyer for one of the college friends of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal judge Tuesday to lift a court order that restricts what the attorney can say publicly in the friend’s own criminal case.

The attorney for Azamat Tazhayakov argued before US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler that there is no reason for the protective order, and that it unfairly allows for federal prosecutors to decide what materials are put into the public record.

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The lawyer, Nicholas Wooldridge, asked Bowler to lift restrictions that prevent him from commenting publicly on or disseminating evidence in Tazhayakov’s case.

The court restrictions, known as a protective order, are often handed out in high-profile cases and prevent defense lawyers and prosecutors from making evidence in the case public before a trial.

The order was enacted soon after his arrest, and it required Wooldridge to share evidence only with his defense team and with Tazhayakov’s immediate family members.

But Assistant US Attorney John Capin argued Tuesday that the protective order is properly in place to prevent any pretrial publicity that could hurt the defendants, and he noted that court rules prohibit attorneys from commenting on ongoing proceedings.

Attorneys for two of Tazhayakov’s fellow defendants, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos, are negotiating a new agreement with prosecutors that would keep the protective order in place while letting defendants’ family members have access to the evidence.

Wooldridge told Bowler he would not agree with any protective order. A status hearing has been set for Jan. 15.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were friends of Tsarnaev and fellow students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Prosecutors allege they took evidence from his dorm room, tossed it in the trash, and later lied about it.

Phillipos, who was also a UMass student, was accused of lying to investigators, as well.

All three have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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