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Feds: Bombing suspect's friend tried to help him

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BOSTON (AP) - A prosecutor has told jurors that a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) was trying to protect Tsarnaev when he agreed with another friend to take altered fireworks from Tsarnaev's dorm room.

Azamat Tazhayakov (AZ'-maht tuh-ZAY'-uh-kahv) is charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy for allegedly taking fireworks that had been emptied of their explosive powder, Tsarnaev's laptop and other items from his dorm room after last year's deadly bombing.

During closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutor John Capin told jurors that the 20-year-old Tazhayakov knew Tsarnaev was a suspect after he recognized his friend in photos and video released by the FBI. Capin said Tazhayakov agreed with a friend to take items and throw them away.

Tazhayakov's lawyers are to deliver their closing arguments later Wednesday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Jurors are set to hear closing arguments Wednesday in the obstruction of justice case against a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Azamat Tazhayakov is accused of helping to remove items from Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth several days after the 2013 attack.

Three people died and more than 260 others were injured when two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the marathon's finish line.

Federal prosecutors don't allege Tazhayakov and two other friends being tried separately knew anything about the bombing beforehand. They allege Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev took Tsarnaev's laptop computer and a backpack containing altered fireworks from his room hours after the FBI released photos and video of him and his brother, identifying them as suspects in the bombing but not naming them.

Prosecutors say Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev with a third friend, Robel Phillipos, went to Tsarnaev's dorm room after he texted Kadyrbayev that they could "take what's there."

Tazhayakov's lawyers said Kadyrbayev removed the items and threw away the backpack and fireworks, later recovered from a landfill.

Kadyrbayev has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice, and Phillipos has pleaded not guilty to lying to investigators. They will be tried separately.

Tsarnaev is awaiting trial and faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. He also has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege Tsarnaev and his brother carried out the bombings and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer days later. The brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died following a shootout with police the night the officer was killed. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding in a boat in someone's yard hours later.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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