Tsarnaev friend consented to search, call suggests

In this September courtroom sketch, defendants Robel Phillipos, second from left, and Dias Kadyrbayev, right, college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, stand for arraignment with their attorneys.

Jane Flavell Collins/AP

In this September courtroom sketch, defendants Robel Phillipos, second from left, and Dias Kadyrbayev, right, college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, stand for arraignment with their attorneys.

A college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears to acknowledge in a recording of a phone call he made from jail that he freely gave permission for the FBI to search his apartment in New Bedford.

“Everything that we did — everything that I did, everything that I signed, I signed it on my own,” Dias Kadyrbayev said, according to a transcript of a May 24, 2013, phone call he made from the Essex County Jail to a woman who appeared to be his girlfriend.


The phone call, in which Kadyrbayev spoke mostly in Russian, was translated by federal authorities. The transcript was submitted as a government exhibit in a hearing in which Kadyrbayev is seeking to have evidence suppressed in his obstruction-of-justice case.

Kadyrbayev is charged with obstructing justice by allegedly going to Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and removing evidence, while authorities were looking for the Marathon bombers.

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Defense attorneys have argued that some of the evidence against Kadyrbayev should be suppressed because he did not voluntarily cooperate with authorities. According to the defense, Kadyrbayev, a Kazakh national, was a naive foreign student with limited English skills who was defenseless against manipulative federal agents. The defense says he never fully understood his right to remain silent or to demand a lawyer.

Kadyrbayev acknowledges in the phone call that he “wasn’t obligated” to consent to the search of his apartment.

“[A law enforcement official] said, ‘Will you let us look in the apartment?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ ” Kadyrbayev said.


In another phone call, on May 15, 2013, Kadyrbayev indicates he was able to read a form notifying him of his right to stop talking at any time, but suggested he was too trusting.

“Well, I read it, but I . . . in general, I approached this with a kind heart, you know?” he said.

Kadyrbayev’s attorney, Robert G. Stahl, said Friday, “I can tell you that translations of a foreign language to English are difficult at best, and my client will be testifying as to the context and as to what those conversations truly meant.

“There will be an explanation for those statements, and they will be put in context.”

Tsarnaev, 20, along with his late brother, Tamerlan, is accused of planting the bombs that exploded on April 15, 2013, near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Prosecutors say the two brothers also killed an MIT police officer.

Three of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends from UMass Dartmouth are facing charges in connection with the removal of a laptop and a backpack containing fireworks from Tsarnaev’s dorm room.

Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov face charges of obstruction of justice. Robel Phillipos faces a lesser charge of lying to investigators.

All three are seeking suppression of evidence in their cases. The three men attended the suppression hearing this week, but only Kadyrbayev’s bid for suppression is still alive because he agreed to the judge’s condition that he testify and be subject to cross-examination about alleged improper actions by federal agents.

The hearing has been suspended so a language specialist can testify about Kadyrbayev’s English language skills before he testifies. The language specialist is not available until the end of the month.

“My client is looking forward to trial, and he hopes that the justice system works the way it’s supposed to and he’ll be returned to his family as soon as possible,” Stahl said.

Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane
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