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Lawyer: Mysterious 'Misha' Cooperating in Boston Bomb Probe

  • VOA News

Law enforcement officers in tactical gear during search for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was captured in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013.

Law enforcement officers in tactical gear during search for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was captured in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013.

The lawyer representing the family of a man linked to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says his client is cooperating with investigators.

Attorney Richard Nicholson spoke to reporters Monday outside a home in West Warwick, Rhode Island, south of Boston. The home belongs to the family of a man called "Misha." Relatives of the Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have accused Misha of radicalizing Tamerlan, the older of the two brothers.

Misha, whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov, spoke to the New York Review of Books. In an interview published Sunday, the 39-year-old man of Armenian-Ukrainian descent refused to discuss the nature of his relationship with the Tsarnaevs, but said he had not had any contact with them in about three years.

His attorney said the family has answered all the questions authorities have asked of them. He said they are fully cooperating.

"What I told them to do is go about their normal activity. Go about their normal day," Nicholson said. "And to date they have answered all the questions that have been asked of them by the authorities. They are fully cooperating and that's it."

U.S. media reports say investigators have found no evidence that Misha had any connection to the Boston Marathon bombing.

The suspects' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, says she and her older son Tamerlan turned more deeply to Islam about five years ago after being influenced by the family friend.

U.S. lawmakers Sunday said investigators are pursuing "persons of interest" in the United States who may have links to the attacks. But authorities say they believe Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police, and his younger brother Dzhokhar, acted alone in carrying out the April 15 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 250.

A few days ago, Russian authorities told U.S. investigators they had secretly recorded a 2011 phone conversation in which Zubeidat Tsarnaeva had vaguely discussed jihad with Tamerlan.

The CIA and the FBI flagged Tamerlan and his mother over possible extremist ties after Russian officials contacted the U.S. agencies more than two years ago. But a U.S. inquiry at the time was closed in late spring of 2011.

Congressman Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told NBC's Today show he believes the FBI investigation would have gone much further if the Russian government had revealed the phone conversation and informed Washington of "the mother's radicalization, [and] the son's radicalization" earlier.
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