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 balance.
Matanov’s attorney requested a hearing earlier this month after Matanov agreed to be interrogated by the government; however, he doesn’t 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 don’t 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 father’s heart surgery as well as his family’s 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 Tsarnaev’s attorneys attempted repeatedly to convince Judge O’Toole to find out which FBI agents have been talking to the press, circumventing legal procedure. O’Toole continues to say he’s “concerned” about media links but does nothing about it.
The judge in Matanov’s 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 Matanov’s 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, 2015.
Matanov’s 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 would not.