Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Officials: FBI cleared in Orlando shooting connected to marathon bombing

WASHINGTON -- A Florida prosecutor has cleared an FBI agent of any criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a Chechen man as he was being questioned about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect, two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.

The officials said State Attorney Jeff Ashton won't bring charges against the agent.

Both officials spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the case. Ashton's report will be released Tuesday. The Washington Post first reported the prosecutor's decision.

Ashton's office did not immediately respond Friday to calls and emails seeking comment.

The Justice Department also has been investigating but has not yet released its findings. A third law enforcement official said the Justice Department is expected to reach the same conclusion, based on a recommendation from the FBI.

Ibragim Todashev (IH'-bruh-heem TOH'-duh-shehv), a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter, was killed in Orlando in May while FBI agents and Massachusetts state troopers questioned him about his friendship with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev (TAM'-ehr-luhn tsahr-NEYE'-ehv).

Officials originally said Todashev lunged at an agent with a knife while he was being questioned. They later said it was no longer clear what happened.

Federal prosecutors have said in court filings that Todashev named Tsarnaev as a participant in an earlier triple homicide in Massachusetts. The filings were made in the case against Tsarnaev's brother, surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

According to the filings, Todashev told investigators Tamerlan Tsarnaev participated in a triple slaying in Waltham on Sept. 11, 2011.

In that case, three men were found in an apartment with their necks slit and their bodies reportedly covered with marijuana. One of the victims was a boxer and friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The filing was prosecutors' attempt to block Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from getting certain information from authorities, including investigative documents associated with the Waltham slayings.

Authorities allege that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechens from Russia, planned and carried out the twin bombings near the finish of the marathon on April 15. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction and 16 other charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police as authorities closed in on the brothers several days after the bombings.

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