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Breaking News Of Three More Arrests Related To Boston Marathon Bombings

Aired May 1, 2013 - 15:29   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We are watching, as we should be seeing these three young suspects, the two from Kazakstan, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, also this third American by the name of Robel Phillipos, all apparently friends of this younger suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, all of whom face federal charges, the Kazakh students facing conspiracy to obstruct justice.

And by reading through this criminal complaint, as we have been learning, they're the ones who have alleged to have tossed out, as per instruction from their friend Dzhokhar, tossing out this backpack containing the fireworks. We have now seen the pictures of the fireworks -- tossing out Vaseline, tossing out this laptop computer.

And this -- this third suspect, this American, is facing charges of lying to the FBI.

Want to take you straight to the federal courthouse, which is where we find Brian Todd.

And, Brian, let me just ask you this. Having covered stories like this before, we all know, you know, you can't have cameras in a federal courthouse.

Do we know if we will even see these three individuals? Do we know how authorities will be bringing them inside the court?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, we believe that our colleagues inside, my colleague Pamela Brown, my colleague Adam Reece are both inside the courtroom right now, Courtroom 19.

We believe that they'll be able to physically eyeball these three people, but -- and they'll be, of course, courtroom sketch artists in there.

Now how long the appearance will be and whether they -- any of them will speak, we're not clear yet. We're going to get those details from Pamela and from Adam when they come out of the courtroom.

No cameras are allowed in, no phones, no nothing. That's standard procedure for a federal courthouse.

This is the moment, right about now, 3:30 p.m. Eastern time that this hearing was scheduled to begin. And, again, to bullet point it, the three people arrested, Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos, accused in this criminal complaint that I'm holding with conspiring to obstruct justice and making false statements to investigators, all after the fact, after the bombings, when investigators were looking into evidence in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room at UMmass Dartmouth in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in the days after the Boston marathon bombings.

The suspects, right about now, expected to appear in court. We've gotten a lot of good detail about what they're accused of in this complaint.

One piece of -- just piece of detail that we got was that one of them said that on April 17th, two days after the Boston marathon bombings, he drove to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dormitory.

He asked to meet him, and, when he met Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he noticed that Dzhokhar appeared to have given himself a short haircut, maybe an effort to change his appearance.

That's just one of several details in this criminal complaint, Brooke. I know you've been going over it for the last couple of hours. The essential accusation against these three is that they removed a backpack of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's from his dormitory room on the night of April 18th -- that's the night before he was captured -- a backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline and a homework assignment from UMass Dartmouth.

They removed that. At least one of them put that in a black trash bag and into a dumpster and that was then taken to a landfill. Investigators later found that backpack in the landfill with those items in it.

That's the essential complaint against these three is that they conspired to remove that piece of evidence and then that they lied to investigators about it.

Their attorneys, Brooke, at least one attorney, expected to come out here afterward and speak to reporters to lay out their side of it, we hope.

BALDWIN: Brian Todd, thank you. We'll come to you as soon as there is activity where you stand here in Boston at that federal courthouse.

Want to take you now to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where we have Susan Candiotti.

Susan Candiotti, again, just to be clear, New Bedford, this is where these -- some of these young suspects were arrested, not too far from where they're attending school at UMass Dartmouth.

Just correct me on that, A, and, B, what are you learning there?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's -- you set that up correctly. This is where those three -- at least two of those three students were living here, and it is near the campus.

Of course, the first thing I did when I arrived here just a short time ago was to try to sample some opinions of what people think about what happened. A lot of them astounded.

One in particular, this gentleman said, the fact that these young men are being charged with allegedly lying to authorities, but much perhaps more serious than that, allegedly destroying evidence, throwing away, trying to disguise what was allegedly used by getting rid of materials that belonged to the suspects in this case, at least Dzhokhar, anyway, they said, how could that happen in this day and age?

You would think after the attacks on 9/11 that people would be more willing to help investigators try to solve the case, again stressing that these are charges at this time, but pretty shocking ones to the people who live in this neighborhood. Call it a very quiet neighborhood.

You know, two of the things, Brooke, that stick out to me in reading this lengthy criminal complaint was not only did they talk about removing -- allegations about removing a backpack with the fireworks inside, and getting rid of that in a dumpster, but they also talk about removing a laptop, a laptop computer.

But there seems to be no indication of what happened to that, only that one of them is accused of removing that laptop as well. So there's some question there.

The other key thing we're learning from this is that about three months ago, according to this court document, a few months ago, one of these students talks about setting off fireworks along the St. Charles River with Dzhokhar, and remarking at the time that he remembered that there was no powder inside the fireworks tubes and thinking, well, that seems rather odd.

And the other is an acknowledgement in one of the footnotes of this complaint that Dzhokhar allegedly told one of the students that he knew how to make a bomb and talked about using Vaseline and fireworks.

So those are two key pieces of information that we certainly hadn't heard before.


BALDWIN: Yeah, we were learning from the complaint there, there was discussion, as you mentioned, prior to the horrific day that rocked this city two and a half weeks ago, discussion from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with some of these guys, talking about bomb-making.

Susan Candiotti, thank you so much for your insight there in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

And, again, we're watching these live pictures here and I'm looking at a teeny-tiny monitor trying to see if those are -- if that's activity outside the federal courthouse or not. Here is a bigger picture. Again, we are awaiting this first appearance at this federal courthouse. I'm seeing these big white trucks and I'm wondering. They could be news crews. They could be law enforcement.

So just get in my ear -- I'm talking to the control room -- and let me know if there is a buzz about what's happening here.

When we come back, as we talk about these federal charges that these three young people are facing, you may be surprised when you think of the, forgive me, sheer stupidity of these allegations and the egregious nature that the penalty here may not be what you think it could be.

We have more on the legal angle of the case for these three suspects next.


BALDWIN: Welcome back to breaking coverage here in Boston. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And as we talk about the -- what these federal charges mean for these three suspects, these two individuals from Kazakhstan, one young man here from the United States, facing federal charges, specifically facing conspiring to obstruct justice, and also lying to investigators, two federal charges, facing penalties of up to five or eight years. That is the maximum and that is also depending upon which charge we're talking about.

Sunny Hostin, former federal prosecutor and our go-to CNN legal analyst here, let me just bring you in.

Sunny, again, as we are awaiting official confirmation from our folks at this federal courthouse in Boston that these three suspects are in there, can you just first tell me, when it comes to the first court appearance, what will be happening?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I can tell you because what happens at an initial appearance in federal court happens at every single initial appearance, Brooke, because it is prescribed by the federal rules of criminal procedure.

What will happen today is they will be advised of the charges that have been lodged against them in the complaint. They will also be advised about their right to have counsel and, if they can't afford counsel, counsel will be appointed to them.

The magistrate must advise them of those things. The magistrate must also advise them of their right to remain silent.

Now, remember, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was advised of that, during his first appearance, in the hospital room, so many people were very upset about that and said the magistrate judge determined that on her own.

That is not the case. This happens in every single initial appearance. So I am certain that that is what will happen today in court. What is also going to be, I think, interesting, an issue that will come up because it must come up, Brooke, is the issue of bail. We know that one of these suspects, one of these defendants is a U.S. citizen.

The other, the other two are not. They did have some visa issues and so I suspect that there will be a lot of time spent on issues of bail and whether or not these three young men will be leaving that courthouse today, or whether or not they will be -- they will remain in custody.

BALDWIN: OK, that's a great point, what literally, physically, happens to them once they have the first court appearance.

And, Sunny, just stick with me. I want to bring in Juliette Kayyem and Ashleigh Banfield who are alongside, also having read through this 14- page criminal complaint, sort of discussing as we await this official acknowledgement that these three suspects are in this federal court here in Boston.

What are you making of all of this?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There's a couple of key points coming out of it, and it's just clear that the people that they thought they had early on -- remember this New Bedford investigation that sort of unfolded that Friday night, the 19th.

They have been watching, tracking, going through the immigration profiles of them. So this has been going on because they want to put the pieces together.

At least according to the complaint, they met here. I think that's relevant just because we're all curious about sort of where are -- if there are any foreign influences to the planning of the attacks as compared to radicalization or what else might have gone on with the older brother in Russia.

And then just a series of activities that one could describe in the best light as stupid, in the worst light as co-conspirators. And so it's left open by the indictment ...

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I got to say, stupid or co- conspirators or young and foolish.

There's something that I found here that I think is somewhat telling. I hope it's not just the language of the FBI special agent who did the affidavit, but it talks about the night of the 18th where CNN was broadcasting wall-to-wall images that they saw, that they showed one another, that they then became well aware that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, their friend, was the man that they were seeking.

BALDWIN: It was an acknowledgement.

BANFIELD: A total acknowledgement and so they went to Tsarnaev's dormitory room and were let in by his roommate.

Before they went in, Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov a text message from Tsarnaev that stated, I'm about to leave. If you need something in my room, take it.

And when Tazhayakov learned of this message, he believed he would never see Tsarnaev again.

Once inside the dormitory room, Kadyrbayev located a backpack that contained an emptied out cardboard tube that Tazhayakov described as fireworks, and then in parentheses, a couple of months earlier Tazhayakov had seen Tsarnaev with fireworks which Tazhayakov and the others had set off along the banks of the Charles River.

The discovery frightened Tazhayakov because the powder been emptied from the tube. He goes on to say he found the Vaseline. He then became very aware that this is likely what he used to make the bomb.

So the notion that he became frightened, a description of the investigator, I think is somewhat telling as to what these kids were going through at a time when we're all suggesting right away that they had to know something. They sure were stupid. Don't forget these are kids. These are foreign kids. Probably in their country ...

BALDWIN: All of them 19 years of age.

BANFIELD: And in their country ...

KAYYEM: We commented on that, taking a nap in the middle of all this.

BANFIELD: You don't know what the law in their country, what they're used to, would immediately ascribe to these kinds of behaviors.

BALDWIN: Doesn't matter because they're right here.

BANFIELD: They're here. They're here and they're grown-ups, so ...

KAYYEM: However one would read those, whether they're sympathetic or -- not sympathetic, that's the wrong word. Whether they are just not aware of their consequences of what they were doing, or that they were co-conspirators to the planning, and that's left unclear because it might still be.

What they did and what the U.S. government is doing now is essentially trying to get them to open up about any communications. They describe a long-term relationship amongst all of them. Families knew each other, and so this is part of the process of trying to put the pieces together of the bombing itself.

That's going to be the most relevant because we have been talking about intelligence sharing and Russian influence and Russian terrorists and everything else. And the most important thing is that we get the story right so that we can learn from it. And that's probably what ...

BANFIELD: People are going to be really angry with this and they're not going to want to negotiate much.

BALDWIN: Let me hit pause. Much more here from Boston again. Much more also from this federal courthouse where these three suspects could be sitting inside this courtroom, could be, could be entering any moment now.

Back in Boston in just a quick minute.


BALDWIN: Breaking news here on CNN as we have been covering through the past couple of hours as the news has come out now that there are three suspects, these three young people, by the name of -- all of them, 19 years of age -- Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Robel Phillipos.

Two from Kazakhstan, the two pictured here. The third, we don't have an image of him yet. He is the American suspect here. All of them facing federal charges.

We have Brian Todd at the federal courthouse here in Boston. Brian, do we have any word whether or not they are inside the building yet?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We believe they're inside the building, Brooke. We believe the hearing is going on now.

I have three colleagues inside the building who have potentially lost communication with the outside world because those are the rules of federal courthouses. My colleague Pamela Brown, producers Adam Reese and Dougal McConnell are inside there. They'll be coming out as soon as the hearings are finished.

We believe there may be more than one hearing attached to this, not sure about that. But we believe the suspects who were arrested today and the names again, Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos are inside this courthouse now engaging in their hearing.

That's what we can tell you right now. We'll have more when hopefully attorneys for at least one of them will come out in the moments after these hearings end.

BALDWIN: Brian, let me just ask you quickly, I think it is just important as people are tuning in just to reset exactly how authorities were tipped off that these three, don't want to say involved, but have information regarding after these bombs went off here on Boylston Street.

We know they were taken in, they were questioned, there was some student visa issues, and then now facing federal charges. Take me back to the very beginning, if you will.

TODD: Well, at the very beginning, Brooke, they were rounded up on April 19th, which was the day that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. They were rounded up from their residence near UMass Dartmouth campus in New Bedford.

The first two suspects, the Kazakhstan students, and another person were rounded up, brought in for questioning, and they were released that night because of a lack of evidence.

They were then taken into custody again over that weekend, either on the 20th or the 21st, and the two Kazakhstan students were arrested and charged with visa violations. They violated, allegedly, their student visas by not going to class.

Now, they have been held since that time, and they had an immigration hearing even this morning after which they were detained. So we have always gotten the impression since they were taken into custody on those charges, the visa immigration charges, that investigators at the very least wanted to know more from these people.

And now we know from this criminal complaint that, again, accuses them of conspiring to obstruct justice and making false statements that the initial statements that they gave to investigators, either on April 19th or over that subsequent weekend, just did not sit well with investigators for some reason.

They made, allegedly, false statements. They misrepresented what they have done. The criminal complaint now accuses them of, on the night of April 18th before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested, the night before, of going into his dorm room and removing a backpack of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a backpack that was later found in a landfill near the campus, a backpack contain fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and some homework assignments from the college.

They had apparently, according to this complaint, misrepresented what they had done, told them they hadn't done anything, hadn't touched any evidence, but apparently now according to this complaint they had done that and they misrepresented that.

Now, how investigators kind of came back to them and got this set of facts that they are now accusing them of, we don't quite know whether one of them may have broken under questioning, whether, you know, something else may have happened to tip them off. That's not what we're not quite clear of right now, Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. OK. Brian Todd, for me at the federal courthouse in Boston I'll let you go and do some reporting and figure out exactly what is going on in the courthouse behind you. I appreciate you so much.

Sunny Hostin, let me just check back in with you in New York here just with your legal hat on.

When we talk about these federal charges, conspiracy to obstruct justice, lying to these federal investigators, lying to the FBI, when we know what happened here in Boston two and a half weeks ago, one would think that maybe the penalty would be potentially years and years in a prison, but that's not the case, correct?

HOSTIN: That's right. The obstruction of justice charges, I believe the penalty is five years, up to five years in prison. That's the maximum.

The other charge, lying to federal agents, the maximum penalty is eight years.

So I've got to tell you, federal agents are very, very upset when you certainly obstruct an investigation, but when you actively, intentionally lie to them, and sort of shift the direction of an investigation, it's very, very difficult for investigators. That's why you sometimes see the larger penalty for lying to federal investigators.

But you're right. I think especially in what many believe is a domestic terror case, you would think that the penalties would be a bit higher, but they're really not. We're talking about five years and eight years.

But remember, these are 19-year-olds and, so ...


HOSTIN: Five years in a federal prison, I've been to federal prison. I haven't been an inmate, but certainly I've visited federal prisons.

It's just not a happy place. And so five years is, you know, five years too many for anyone.

BALDWIN: OK. Sunny, thank you.

Let me come back over here and, Juliette ...

BANFIELD: Special reporting going on.

BALDWIN: Special reporting.

BANFIELD: This is all happening live.

BALDWIN: It's all happening live and that's how we roll sometimes here at CNN.

But to you and your point, I think it's important to make it once again for people who are just now joining us, the fact that when we think of what happened here, a block and a half that way, the sheer destruction, the ruining of lives, the sophistication of that plot, the successful plot, the bombs going off, but then when we look at the aftermath, right, these two guys on the run, the younger one partying, working out at UMass Dartmouth, and now, clearly, communicating, according to this criminal complaint, with some college buddies to try to dispose of evidence ...

KAYYEM: It is not an exit strategy that we're used to ...


KAYYEM: ... for those who have been involved with these cases.

So -- and they weren't -- as we've been saying, they weren't suicide bombers so they knew that they were going to survive.

So that just, you know, is part of the mix of all of the information about determining both how did they plan this? Were there foreign contacts or foreign planning? Or was this something else? And I think, at least from the complaint, it's -- it shows a very disorganized, unsophisticated, you know, if to be believed, set of reactions and relationships between the four of them that essentially tried to dispose of materials that would have shown that he was guilty.

I should say "The Boston Globe" where I work is in there. They're now tweeting live at and they are saying that two of the defendants are there now and have said that they -- they do not need public funds, so that is at least some stuff coming out.

The third defendant has not appeared yet.

BANFIELD: Robel Phillipos, the third defendant, hasn't come out yet?

KAYYEM: They didn't say, so -- but a lot of people are in the courtroom, will come out with information, but "The Boston Globe" is reporting that now.

BALDWIN: We have a crew in the courtroom, so as soon as they get information, of course, we'll bring that to you.

But to you, you've had this 14-page criminal complaint. I just think it's worth reiterating some of the details, the communication, the texting, right, between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and ...

BANFIELD: And the lying, let's not forget ...

BALDWIN: The lying.

BANFIELD: ... the lying because it is clear in this affidavit as you progress through the details that they at first interview said they didn't know what was going on or that they had no idea the significance of what Tsarnaev might have been asking them to remove.

On second and subsequent interviews, they had to finally admit they did know. They'd actually been watching CNN. They quoted it in the affidavit that it was CNN they showed and shared amongst themselves to prove that their friend Dzhokhar was a wanted man and not just any wanted man, the number one wanted man ...

BALDWIN: Forgive me for interrupting you. As we mentioned, we had someone in the courtroom. Pamela Brown has been covering the story with us here in Boston.

Pamela, you are joining me. You are in this federal courthouse. Tell me what's happening.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, that's right. The initial appearance involving the two suspects that were arrested early this afternoon, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, made an appearance today for the -- they were in the initial appearance in front of the magistrate judge, Marianne Bowler, interestingly enough the same judge that administered Miranda rights to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The two suspects walked in. They were handcuffed and their feet and hands were cuffed and they listened to the judge as the judge read Miranda rights and presented them with the charges of obstructing justice.

When the judge asked if they understood, they said, yes, and then came time for questions for bail. At that point, both attorneys decided to waive that. They opted for voluntary detention, declining the questions for bail.

I spoke to one of the attorneys after the hearing. He told me that they wanted more time to present a bail package to the judge.

So we know that on May 14th, at 11:00, the probable cause hearing is scheduled at this point. So that's what happened. That's what we know so far.

BALDWIN: Pamela, let me just ask you, when you saw these two 19-year- olds cuffed, you know, ankles and wrists, how did they appear? Were they making eye contact? Were they looking down? Give me a little bit more color.

BROWN: Yeah. They walked in. One walked in in a T-shirt and jeans. The other was wearing a gray sweater and a navy khakis.

They walked in with their heads down. They looked downtrodden. They looked, you know, upset. And they didn't make eye contact with anyone. They didn't really look at anyone that was in the courtroom.

This was a packed courtroom full of journalists and federal government authorities. They didn't look at anyone. The only people we saw them talking with, of course, was their attorneys.

When the judge asked them if they were -- that they understood the charges, they were very soft spoken when they answered, yes.

So, clearly, this is something that these two suspects, these 19-year- olds, as you point out, are very upset about, and just want to note here this morning there was a -- another hearing for immigration. There was a hearing for removal -- removal proceedings.

So essentially these two students from Kazakhstan had allegedly violated their student visas, so there was this removal proceedings this morning and now they are here inside the federal courthouse facing federal charges.

BALDWIN: Right. It's the immigration charges and then it's, of course, the federal charges.

Pamela, 45 seconds, can you just tell me, where is this third suspect? Where is Robel Phillipos, this U.S. citizen who is facing charges of lying to the FBI?

BROWN: After the hearing with the two students from UMass Dartmouth, the two that we just talked about, now the other hearing is taking place involving the third suspect, the other student at UMass Dartmouth. Right now we do have CNN correspondents and producers inside that courtroom. Of course, we will bring you the very latest with what happens during that hearing.

BALDWIN: OK. Pamela Brown, live for me there in Boston just outside of the federal courthouse, reporting on those two young students from Kazakhstan who had been at UMass Dartmouth.

The bail has been waived. They are taking voluntary detention while their attorneys sort of try to figure out and present a bail package there to the judge.

And that is it for me here in Boston, but please do not go anywhere. We'll continue this breaking coverage with my colleague, Jake Tapper, who's up next.

"The Lead" starts right now.