Jury begins mulling case against Tsarnaev friend

Updated at: 07/16/2014 12:52 PM

(AP) BOSTON - BOSTON (AP) — A federal jury has begun its deliberations in the trial of a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv).

The panel began considering the case of Azamat Tazhayakov (AZ'-maht tuh-ZAY'-uh-kahv) 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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