BOSTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Lawyers for two friends of the accused Boston Marathon bombers are due in court on Friday for separate hearings as the city braces for the January start of a trial focused on the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Attorneys for Khairullozhon Matanov, a cab driver from Kyrgyzstan who was charged with lying to investigators by downplaying his relationship with the accused bombers after calling police to offer information on them, are expected to ask a judge to crack down on leaks about their client from law-enforcement sources.
A Boston magazine story on Matanov contained information from non-public FBI reports on agents' interviews with Matanov, his lawyers contend.
Matanov went to the police on the morning of April 19, 2013, four days after the attack, to say that he believed his friends Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were the men pictured in photos the FBI had released as they sought to identify the suspected bombers.
Prosecutors said he lied about his relationship with the brothers and accused him of destroying some records of his interactions with the two.
The older of the pair, 26-year-old Tamerlan, died on the night of April 18, 2013, following a gun battle with police. Younger brother Dzhokhar, now 21, was arrested the next evening and is awaiting a trial to begin in January on charges that carry the death penalty.
Attorneys for another associate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Stephen Silva, are also due in U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday. Silva is charged with having possessed a gun with its serial number filed off that prosecutors say the Tsarnaev brothers used in the shootout, and also faces drug charges.
Silva, who has pleaded not guilty, may change his plea to guilty on Friday, according to a court filing.
The surviving Tsarnaev appeared in court on Thursday for the first time in more than a year, telling a judge that he was satisfied with he steps his attorneys have taken to prepare for his trial. (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)