Massachusetts man charged with obstructing Boston bombings probe

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by CNN staff

CNN

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Updated Friday, May 30 at 12:41 PM

(CNN) -- A Massachusetts man was arrested Friday on suspicion of obstructing the investigation of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, authorities said.

Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, of Quincy is charged with "one count of destroying, altering, and falsifying records, documents, and tangible objects in a federal investigation, specifically information on his computer, and three counts of making materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a federal terrorism investigation," the U.S. attorney's office for Massachusetts said Friday.

An indictment against Matanov was unsealed Friday.

Authorities say brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted bombs at the finish line of the 2013 race. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a subsequent manhunt that paralyzed Boston. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to killing four people -- including three killed by the bombings -- and wounding more than 200 others.

Matanov is not charged with participating in the bombings, but with trying to hide his connection to the Tsarnaev brothers.

According to prosecutors, Matanov knew that investigators would want to talk to him after the bombings, and he allegedly tried to keep the FBI from learning the extent of his friendship and communication with the suspects.

According to the indictment, once photos of the suspects were released, Matanov viewed them several times on CNN and on the FBI's website before trying to reach Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

He also hid that he shared the "philosophical justification for violence" that the Tsarnaev brothers held, the U.S. attorney's office said.

"In addition to deleting information from his computer, Matanov made a number of false statements to federal investigators," the office's statement said.

If convicted, Matanov faces up to 20 years in prison for the destruction of evidence charge, and eight years for each of the false statement counts.

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