A Boston area cabdriver who was friends with the Tsarnaev brothers has been indicted in connection with destroying evidence from his computer and lying to the FBI about his relationship with the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, federal authorities announced Friday.
Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, of Quincy, Mass., is scheduled to appear at a Friday afternoon in federal court in Boston, accused of obstructing the FBI's investigation into the two bombings in April 2013.
The indictment does not accuse Matanov of knowing or participating in the attacks, but federal officials said in the document that he “shared the suspected bombers’ philosophical justification for violence.”
He is charged with destroying, altering and falsifying records, documents and other “tangible objects” in the FBI’s investigation, as well as making “false, fictitious and fraudulent” statements to federal agents.
If convicted, he faces up to 31 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Matanov realized that the FBI wanted to interview him, and that agents learned he had tried to contact Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shortly after the bombings.
Also, he met twice with Tamerlan, including a dinner meeting at a restaurant with both brothers the night of the terror attacks, the indictment said.
After that dinner, according to the charges, Matanov told another person that “the bombings could have had a just reason, such as being done in the name of Islam.” The indictment also alleges that he said “he would support the bombings if the reason were just or the attack had been done by the Taliban.”
Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout four nights after the bombings, and Dzhokhar was arrested the next day.