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Friend of Boston bomber to be sentenced for obstructing investigation

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A friend of the Boston Marathon bomber who admitted to obstructing the investigation into the deadly 2013 blast, one of the highest-visibility attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, is set to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Kazakhstan national Dias Kadyrbayev was one of three friends to face federal charges for removing a backpack containing fireworks from bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college dorm hours after the FBI released photos of the suspect and his older brother.

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Federal prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Kadyrbayev, who pleaded guilty in August after his roommate and fellow Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov was convicted of obstruction of justice.

Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty of killing three people and injuring 264 others with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race’s crowded finish line. A jury sentenced him to die by lethal injection for his crimes.

The stepfather of a police officer who was shot dead by the Tsarnaev brothers at about the time Kadyrbayev was visiting the dorm said in a court filing that the defendant could have saved his stepson’s life if he had immediately told the FBI he suspected Tsarnaev was one of the bombers.

“The impact this crime has had on our family is immeasurable,” said Joseph Rogers, whose stepson Sean Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed by the Tsarnaevs. “Every day is a struggle knowing that he is gone and being aware of the circumstances surrounding his murder, specifically that it could absolutely have been prevented.”

Kadyrbayev will be able to speak at the hearing where U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock sets his sentence, although he is under no obligation to do so.

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Tazhayakov, who was found guilty by a jury of the same charges, and Robel Phillipos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was convicted of the lesser charge of lying to investigators, are set for sentencing on Friday.

Prosecutors are seeking a four-year sentence for Tazhayakov, because he had agreed to testify against Tsarnaev at trial, although he was not called to the witness stand.

The charges against the three men trace back to the evening of April 18, 2013, three days after the bombing, when the FBI released photos of the Tsarnaev brothers, saying they were suspects in the bombing.

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Trump alerts ‘active-duty U.S. military police’ for possible deployment to Minnesota: report

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President Donald Trump's administration is contemplating using active-duty U.S. troops in an attempt to quell the protests in Minneapolis, the Associated Press reported early Saturday morning.

As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests," the AP reported.

"Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations," the AP explained.

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John Roberts joins liberals as Supreme Court rejects challenge to Newsom’s COVID-19 limits on California church attendance

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In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California. The San Diego area church tried to challenge the state's limits on attendance at worship services:

The church argued that limits on how many people can attend their services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.

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Atlanta mayor urges violent protesters to ‘go home’

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ATLANTA — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had a blunt message to protesters who turned the streets of downtown Atlanta into scenes of violence and destruction late Friday: “Go home.”In an emotional news conference, flanked by hip-hop stars and civil rights leaders, the mayor said that demonstrators outraged at systemic racism and police violence are defying the city’s legacy of nonviolent protest by destroying police cars and smashing windows.“This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos,” she said. “A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, ... (more…)

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