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Boston bombing suspect's friend to be released

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 6, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

WORCESTER, Mass. — A magistrate judge on Monday agreed to release a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from federal custody while he awaits trial for allegedly lying to federal investigators probing the bombings.

Robel Phillipos, 19, was charged last week with lying to investigators about visiting Tsarnaev's college dorm room after the bombings. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student faces a maximum of eight years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors initially asked that Phillipos be held while he awaits trial, arguing he poses a serious flight risk. But both sides said in a court motion filed Monday they agreed that Phillipos should be released on $100,000 bond, face home confinement and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

"We are confident that in the end we will be able to clear his name," defense attorney Derege Demissie said.

Assistant U.S .Attorney John Capin said documents filed over the weekend by Phillipos' defense attorneys, including many affidavits showing support from family and friends, might be viewed as indirectly questioning the government's case against Phillipos.

"The government stands by its allegations," Capin said.

Defense attorney Susan Church described Phillipos as a well-liked, honor roll student with many friends and supporters. At least 50 relatives, friends and other supporters attended the court hearing.

Church emphasized that Phillipos is not accused of helping Tsarnaev and his brother plan or carry out the bombings.

"At no time did Robel have any prior knowledge of this marathon bombing," she said.

Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler agreed to the strict house arrest during a hearing Monday afternoon. She told Phillipos he was allowed to leave the house only for meetings with his lawyers or true emergencies.

It was not immediately clear when Phillipos would be released.

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