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Jury selection set for friend of marathon suspect

BOSTON – Federal prosecutors and lawyers representing a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are getting ready to choose a jury for his federal trial on obstruction of justice charges.

Azamat Tazhayakov is accused of removing items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth several days after last year’s attack. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when twin pressure cooker bombs exploded near the marathon’s finish line.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday.

Prosecutors say Tazhayakov and another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, took Tsarnaev’s backpack containing fireworks after seeing Tsarnaev’s photograph on the news and realizing he was a suspect. The backpack and fireworks were later recovered in a landfill.

Tazhayakov’s lawyers say he cooperated fully with authorities when he was questioned about Tsarnaev. He is not charged with having anything to do with the bombings or knowing about the attack ahead of time.

Kadyrbayev’s girlfriend, Bayan Kumiskali, is expected to testify against Tazhayakov. In a court filing, Tazhayakov’s lawyers asked the judge to instruct the jury to use “particular caution” when evaluating Kumiskali’s testimony, “given that she was given an agreement from the government not to be prosecuted for her role in the alleged conduct.”

Tazhayakov’s lawyer has said he expects his client to testify in his own defense.

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