Ex-Massachusetts governor writes support letter for Tsarnaev friend as judge ponders sentence

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis has written a letter of support for a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) as a judge prepares to sentence him for lying to the FBI days after the 2013 bombings.

Robel Phillipos is one of two Tsarnaev friends scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

Dukakis, a friend of Phillipos' family, testified during his trial. In a letter to Judge Douglas Woodlock, Dukakis said he "can't understand why justice would be served by incarcerating him."

Azamat Tazhayakov (AZ'-maht tuh-ZAY'-uh-kahv) also faces sentencing Friday. Tazhayakov was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for removing Tsarnaev's backpack and laptop computer from his dorm room with another friend.

Prosecutors have recommended a 4-year sentence for Tazhayakov. They haven't said what kind of sentence they're seeking for Phillipos.