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Friend of Boston bomber released on bail

Robel Phillipos, accused of making false statements to the the FBI about Boston bombings, has been freed on bail.

Last Modified: 06 May 2013 23:06
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Phillipos' friends and family attended Monday's hearing at the Boston federal court on Monday [Reuters]

The teenager accused of lying to FBI agents in the Boston Marathon bombing case has been freed on bail pending a later trial date.

While out on bail, Robel Phillipos will be under the custody of his mother and must wear a GPS bracelet, US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler ordered in federal court in Boston on Monday.

The $100,000 bail for the 19-year-old was secured by real estate put up by a third party, the judge said.

Phillipos, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is accused of making false statements to FBI agents investigating the April 15 attack that killed three people and injured 264 near the marathon's finish line. He was not charged with direct involvement in the attack.

Phillipos' mother was "very emotional," after the ruling, the teenager's attorney, Derege Demissie, said.

About 60 people, including friends, family and a large contingent from the Boston Ethiopian community, appeared in the courthouse on Monday showing their support.

Defence lawyers argued he was not a flight risk, has no prior criminal history and can refute FBI allegations that he interfered with their investigation, court records show.

In affidavits of support filed with the court, Phillipos is described as a social worker's caring son who read to kindergarten students.

Last week, US authorities charged Phillipos and two 19-year-old students from Kazakhstan with interfering with their investigation as a manhunt for suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was under way.

Federal investigators, meanwhile, are focusing on two main points in their continuing investigation.

They are examining forensic evidence, most notably computers seized from the suspects and possibly their associates, a US national security official said. 

They are also focused on a trickle of evidence that is coming in from Russian authorities, the official said.

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