Friday, October 31, 2014
Few have been paying attention to the “supporting actor” Boston Bombing trials now paving the way for the main act
They’re worth paying attention to, for what they demonstrate about how the government is ensuring that the official story will stick all the way through to conviction.
The latest development in this blockbuster drama came during the trial and conviction of Robel Phillipos, friend of accused Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A jury on Oct. 28 convicted him on two counts of lying to investigators, for which he now faces up to 16 years in prison.
Jurors found he’d made false statements during two interviews with the FBI within days of the April 15 bombing. Specifically, he was convicted for lying about his whereabouts on the night of April 18. Phillipos, 19, said he was “stoned out of his mind” on marijuana at the time, and that’s why he gave the conflicting statements, according to his defense attorney.
This trial fits squarely with the particular public image of the Tsarnaevs and their friends that has arisen from media coverage and the government pronouncements in it. Anyone remotely involved with the brothers is immediately judged to be part of a nest of conniving terrorist sympathizers. That’s certainly no presumption of innocence. Phillipos undoubtedly faced this added burden in his trial.
Taken together with a steady stream of leaks about the bombing investigation, it’s clear the government wants to ensure it will have a slam-dunk case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at his trial in January. Yet it doesn’t have to go the extra mile, thanks to a tried-and-true FBI method that was on display in Phillipos’ trial.