The Boston Bombing and the Marijuana Defense
Robel Phillipos, a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, was found guilty of lying to the FBI despite his claim that he was too high to remember what he had done.
On Tuesday, a Boston jury found Robel Phillipos, the 21-year-old friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, guilty on two counts of lying to the FBI. Phillipos could face up to 16 years in jail when he is sentenced in January.
According to prosecutors, Phillipos lied to investigators about having visited Tsarnaev's University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dorm room days after the bombing, where he was said to have witnessed two of Tsarnaev's friends remove potential evidence, including fireworks and a laptop computer. (The two friends were both convicted of obstruction of justice.)
The subplot in the high profile bombing cases had other noteworthy aspects, mostly saliently, the Phillipos defense team's reliance on the claim that the then-19-year-old was "high out of his mind" on marijuana when he spoke with investigators. Jurors ultimately rejected that defense as well as the attempt by Phillipos' lawyers to paint him as a frightened young teenager.
Another significant particular in the case was the testimony of former Massachusetts governor and one-time Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who came to Phillipos' defense. Dukakis, a longtime friend of Phillipos' mother, told the court that following a conversation with investigators, Phillipos had confessed to Dukakis that he didn't remember what he said.
"He [Phillipos] told me he was so confused he was not sure what he'd said," Dukakis said in court.
According to NECN, Phillipos isn't expected to testify in the Tsarnaev trial.