• Jury begins mulling case against Tsarnaev friend


    BOSTON (AP) - A federal jury has begun its deliberations in the trial of a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

    The panel began considering the case of Azamat Tazhayakov on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, it heard closing arguments from prosecutors and Tazhayakov's lawyer.

    Judge Douglas Woodlock instructed the jury on the two charges against Tazhayakov: conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

    Prosecutors say the defendant was an active participant in a plan to protect Tsarnaev by removing altered fireworks and other items from his dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Tazhayakov's lawyer described him as a naive college kid who was prosecuted because he was a "friend of the bomber."

    Bombs placed near the 2013 marathon finish line killed three people and injured more than 260.

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