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Judge denies venue change for Tsarnaev friend

Robel Phillipos, 21, is charged with lying to authorities investigating the bombing.Steven Senne/AP File

US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock rejected Tuesday a request to move the trial of Robel Phillipos, who is accused of lying to authorities investigating the Boston Marathon bombing.

Woodlock said he has already shown — in the trial of Phillipos’s college friend Azamat Tazhayakov — that he can select an impartial jury.

Phillipos, 21, is accused of lying about a visit he made with Tazhayakov and another friend to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after the April 15, 2013, bombings. His lawyers say that Phillipos could not remember details of the visit because he was high.


Tazhayakov was convicted in July of conspiracy to obstruct a terrorism investigation by removing a backpack containing fireworks from the room. Dias Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty last month to the same charge.

Woodlock said he will begin jury selection by summoning 175 potential jurors to the courthouse Monday. Opening statements could begin Oct. 6.

Tsarnaev, now 21, is slated to face trial in November.