Tsarnaev Friend Changes Plea to ''Guilty''
31 January 2015
By Karin Friedmann
Khairullozhon Matanov, 25 year old
Kyrgyzstani immigrant and friend of the deceased Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is
accused of the Boston Marathon bombings, told me during a recent prison visit
that he decided to plead guilty to concealing evidence and lying to the FBI,
even though he is absolutely innocent. The government is now only going to be
asking for him to serve 2 1/2 years due to changing his plea to guilty,
though the judge could possibly give him an even shorter sentence.
However, the Patriot Ledger reported
that under the new charge, he would face ''no more than five to eight years
in prison, depending on whether the offense is considered to involve
terrorism.'' So it sounds like the situation is very much hanging in the
Matanovís attorney requested a hearing
earlier this month after Matanov agreed to be interrogated by the government;
however, he doesnít have any incriminating information to give.
Matanov was looking at 15 years for
deleting files off his computer (all of which were public information) and
for downplaying his relationship with the Tsarnaev brothers, even though he
actually went to the police station first thing in the morning to identify
them after the FBI put their photo on the TV, thinking he was doing his duty
by telling them, ''I donít think they did it but I know who they are.''
Prosecutors said Matanov called
Tamerlan Tsarnaev about 40 minutes after the bombings and invited him to
dinner. He is accused of lying to the FBI about whether he met them at the
restaurant or whether he drove them there. He is guilty of knowing the
brothers, liking them, and even worshiping at the same mosque. He is not
accused of knowing anything about the bombs.
Matanov was originally facing 40 years
of imprisonment due to ''suspicious'' wire transfers of money, some of which
were made using aliases, which the FBI insinuated could have been terror
related. He had wired money to people in many different countries. However,
the feds backed off that charge pretty quickly after it was shown that
Matanov could account for all of these money transfers, most of which were
sent to needy relatives.
The God-loving kid worked 80 hours a
week driving a cab in order to pay for his fatherís heart surgery as well as
his familyís other living expenses. It would be hard to find a more decent
human being than this brother.
Matanov was a subject of dirty
journalist Michelle McPhee, who wrote about him and Tamerlan in a seriously
ridiculous smear piece called ''Inside the Mind of a Killer.'' McPhee has
been criticized repeatedly for writing apparently bogus news articles
calculated to sway the trial against the accused. For example, she was the
source of the ''note in the boat'' based on ''anonymous law enforcement''
statements. (The government is NOT going to use the boat confession as part
of their case, as it is not legally considered as admissible evidence).
Dzhokhar Tsarnaevís attorneys attempted
repeatedly to convince Judge OíToole to find out which FBI agents have been
talking to the press, circumventing legal procedure. OíToole continues to say
heís ''concerned'' about media links but does nothing about it.
The judge in Matanovís case, Judge
William Young, however, has a reputation for being tough on media leaks.
Matanov filed a motion last month regarding media leaks and Young responded
by demanding a list from both the defense and prosecution of anyone who had
ever seen the FBI transcript that mysteriously appeared online, or any other
documents related to the case. This may be the reason that the government is
suddenly willing to negotiate.
Unfortunately, the government put
Matanovís lawyer under a lot of pressure, so in order to get this plea deal
he now has to file a motion to withdraw the motion regarding leaks to the
media. This is very disappointing. That information about the government
agent who is making up stories for the media, is pretty darn important and
Young is the only judge who might find out. But I guess Khair has to do what
he has to do.
He said of the government prosecutors:
"They are very powerful people."
The issue of whether he will be
deported after time served is undecided.
Matanov has many loving supporters who
write to him. In a letter to a supporter, which was circulated on Facebook,
he stated: "I know you guys support me, and I always claim I am innocent. I
still say I am innocent, but in this tough environment I can't imagine
getting a fair trial so that is why I am accepting a plea deal. I hope you
guys support me and I thank you for everything you guys have done, for your
support. I mean it is unimaginable good to get tonnes of support from people
I have never met."
The young man has received many letters
begging him not to testify negatively against Jahar and advising him not to
drop the media leaks issue. It is not clear if all these pending issues
played a role or not, but on January 24, 2015 it was announced that Judge
Young moved the hearing regarding the potential plea deal to February 25,
Matanovís lawyer, Paul Glickman, would
not comment when asked if the expected guilty plea means Matanov has an
agreement with prosecutors and plans to testify against the only surviving
brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, at his trial. Matanov assured supporters that he