They didn’t want him to get in trouble. In that case, they should have warned him to stay away from the jihad business. “Feds: Bomb suspect’s buddies covered for him,” by Matt Smith for CNN, May 1 (thanks to Kenneth):

(CNN) —A laptop, some empty fireworks and a jar of Vaseline landed three friends of Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in jail Wednesday, charged with trying to throw investigators off their buddy’s trail.

Those are the items federal prosecutors say Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos took from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in the hours after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, the suspects in the marathon bombings. According to FBI affidavits, they quickly recognized their friend from the pictures.

When Kadyrbayev texted his friend to tell him “he looked like the suspect on television,” Tsarnaev texted back “lol” and added, “come to my room and take whatever you want,” the affidavit states. Phillipos, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev went to the room, where Kadyrbayev noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been “opened and emptied of powder,” according to the affidavit.

“Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” the affidavit states.

All three are accused of removing items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the April 15 bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. According to the affidavit, they left with the backpack, the Vaseline — which Tazhayakov believed could be used to make bombs — and Tsarnaev’s laptop.

By the time they got back to the apartment in New Bedford that Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev shared, the Tsarnaev brothers had been named as bomb suspects, and the three friends “started to freak out,” Phillipos recounted after what the affidavit stated had been four previous interviews.

According to Kadyrbayev, they collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get into trouble,” the affidavit states.

Investigators found the pack, fireworks and Vaseline in a landfill last week after a two-day search. The complaint doesn’t state what happened to the laptop.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, both from Kazakhstan, were already in federal custody on immigration charges. They’re charged with obstruction of justice, while Phillipos, a U.S. citizen, is charged with lying to federal agents probing the bombing.

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