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Federal jury convicts friend of Boston Marathon bomber suspect

FILE - This file photo released Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. At least 1,000 people will be summoned and asked to fill out questionnaires for Tsarnaev's jury in the trial, a federal judge said during a status hearing Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Tsarnaev is charged with carrying out the April 2013 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and could face the death penalty if convicted. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 5. (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File) AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for lying to police during the investigation of the bombing that killed three and left several people injured.

The jury found Robel Phillipos guilty of lying to police during two separate interviews on April 20 and April 25, 2013. Phillipos is a college friend of Tsarnaev, is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on Tuesday for lying to police investigators about his actions in Tsarnaev's dorm room just after the 2013 bombing took place. (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

He faces up to eight years each for the two counts of lying to police, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each offense. But the Department of Justice said sentences are usually less than the maximum penalties allowed.

"In the wake of one of the most significant events in this city's modern history – an event which left two young women and a child dead, and many more injured – thousands of ordinary citizens assisted law enforcement in identifying and locating the perpetrators," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts. "Today, a federal jury concluded that Robel Phillipos did just the opposite. He lied to agents when he could have helped."

The department said Phillipos "repeatedly lied" to investigators by denying that on April 18, 2013, he saw another friend of Tsarnaev's remove a backpack filled with fireworks from Tsarnaev's dormitory room.

The department said by the fifth interview with authorities, Phillipos finally admitted that he saw this happen.

Earlier this year, two other friends of Tsarnaev pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice by lying to investigators about the removal of incriminating evidence from Tsarnaev's room.

That backpack was eventually thrown into a dumpster, but was finally found after dozens of FBI agents combed through a garbage dump in New Bedford.

"The FBI recovered the backpack a week later, after 30 agents spent two days searching a landfill in New Bedford," the department said.

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