A friend of accused marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in federal court Wednesday accused of misleading investigators.
Police say Khairullozhon Matanov went to the Braintree Police Department several hours after Tamerlan was killed during a shootout in Watertown to admit he had ties to the brothers.
Prosecutors say Matanov misled the investigators but his lawyer sees it differently.
“He gave them accurate information about the Tsarnaev brothers,” Matanov’s lawyer Edward Hayden said.
A friend of Matanov's and one of the witnesses cited in his indictment said she believes Matanov did not intentionally mislead investigators.
“He was not hiding from them. Right away he said ‘I want to cooperate I want to try to see what I can do to help,’” she said.
Matanov is accused of making false statements and destroying information from his computer.
Just hours after the bombing prosecutors say Matanov picked up the Tsarnaev brothers in the cab he drove for work and took them to dinner at Man-O-Salwas Kabob and Grill in Somerville; just a mile and a half from Tamerlan’s apartment in Cambridge.
“They discussed the bombings like everyone else but the Tsarnaevs did not admit to it,” Hayden said.
Also during the 90-minute hearing an FBI agent took the stand and told the judge that investigators had been following Matanov for several months before his arrest.
Matanov was reportedly told to stay away from the 2013 Fourth of July festivities in Boston and the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Hayden says his client had no idea the Tsarnaevs were allegedly planning to attack the marathon.
“He has no ties to terrorism, these guys were his friends. He had no idea they were going to do it,” he said.
Prosecutors also say Matanov used aliases over the past four years when he wired $70,000 home to his family.
Still, the witness said she believes Matanov is innocent.
“He's doing everything right and then because circumstances where his soccer team includes two people that have evil in their minds is unfortunate. I for one don't think he's guilty,” the witness said.
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