The toking gun: Boston bomb obstruction trial in pot lingo haze

by Reuters
Tuesday, 8 July 2014 20:31 GMT

BOSTON, July 8 (Reuters) - Lawyers defending a man charged with obstructing the Boston Marathon bombing investigation had no problem hearing their client described as "cooked," but wanted to be clear on Tuesday that the slang term meant high on marijuana.

The first two days of Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov's trial on obstruction charges featured repeated debate about the meaning of drug slang, with witnesses describing regular marijuana use in the accused bomber's social circle.

"If someone says you're 'cooked,' you're stoned, right? It has nothing to do with bombs," defense attorney Nicholas Wooldridge asked a college friend of Tazhayakov, referring to a text message in which Tsarnaev used that term to describe the defendant.

The witness, Alexa Guevara, said Tsarnaev and his friends used a variety of code-words to refer to smoking pot: "There was 'roll up,' as in 'let's smoke,' 'do you have bud?'"

But under prosecutors' examination, she denied defense lawyers' contention that three days after the deadly blasts Tsarnaev would have used the "smiley face" emoticon in a text message urging a college friend to go to his room and "take anything you want" as a code for smoking pot.

"Did you ever use a plain smiley face to mean, 'let's go get high?'" Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann asked Guevara, who responded: "No."

Tazhayakov is the first of three of Tsarnaev's friends to go on trial on charges of hampering the investigation by going to the bombing suspect's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth three days after the bombing and removing a laptop and backpack containing empty fireworks casings.

Tazhayakov has pleaded not guilty and Wooldridge on Monday denied that his client touched either the laptop or backpack, saying that was the work of another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, who is awaiting trial on similar charges later this year.

He said his client was more interested in a bag of marijuana they found that night, which the two smoked once they returned to their apartment.

"As soon as he found that marijuana they stopped looking around," Wooldridge said. (Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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