By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - An agent with the FBI is due to take the witness stand on Wednesday in the trial of a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber.
Robel Phillipos, 21, is on trial on charges he lied to the FBI about a visit to the suspected bomber's college dorm room three days after the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260, as investigators were hunting for the suspect.
Two other friends, exchange students from Kazakhstan, accompanied Phillipos on the visit to suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where they removed a backpack containing empty fireworks shells.
One of the Kazakhs, Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted in July of obstruction of justice for taking the backpack. The other, Dias Kadyrbayev, pleaded guilty to obstruction in August.
Phillipos' attorneys argued that their client, who faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted, was too intoxicated on marijuana the day the visit occurred to have any clear memory of what he did, and thus could not have lied to investigators.
FBI special agent Timothy Quinn, who also interviewed Tazhayakov during the investigation, is scheduled to take the witness stand at U.S. District Court in Boston on Wednesday.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is awaiting trial on charges that carry the death penalty.