Today another 19-year old friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Robel Phillipos, whose attorneys have described as “a frightened young man who struggled amid intense interrogation by federal investigators,” was indicted by a federal grand jury for lying to said investigators, a charge with a maximum penalty of eight years in prison. Specifically, the lying is said to constitute concealing the entry of him and the previously indicted Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov into Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and removing incriminating evidence about the Boston marathon bombing. The indictment of Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov was on charges with possible penalty 25 years imprisonment over the same matter.

This development follows several weeks of court statements, most recently at the August 8 occasion of the Kadyrbayev-Tazhayakov indictment, that Phillipos’s attorneys and the US Attorney’s Boston office were in “talks to resolve the case.” It would appear that those talks have broken down. One’s guess is that, further, the government has now decided to lean hard on all three of Tsarnaev’s friends to turn against him in exchange for leniency, prior to the next court date of his own case, a status hearing scheduled for September 23.

Evidently the FBI considers the development important, since it issued a press release on the occasion (h/t MarkNo).

Correction, August 30, 7:45 AM Eastern: I misread the story somewhat. Phillipos is actually charged with two counts of lying to investigators, of which each carries a maximum penalty of eight years, so he could get 16 years total. (There was only one count when he was originally arrested.) For completeness, here is the indictment.