Father of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect's Friend Writes to President Obama

The father of a Chechen man shot to death by authorities in Florida while being questioned in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation has written to President Barack Obama asking for help finding out what happened.

Abdulbaki Todashev wrote in a letter released Monday that son Ibragim Todashev knew dead marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, through boxing but had no connection to the bombing or any other crime.

He said his son voluntarily went to an FBI office in Orlando to speak with agents four times before they showed up at his apartment on May 22. He included photos of his son's body with the letter and offered to travel to Washington, D.C., to speak to Obama directly.

"My reaching out to you is dictated by the calling of my soul and the unsubsiding pain of the father who has lost his guiltless son to a violent shooting death," Todashev wrote. "I am not asking you to share this pain with me; rather, I plead with you, the ruler of the great country and a guarantor of the democracy in the modern world, to see that the law and justice triumph in my son's case."

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the White House had received the letter and was reviewing it "to determine the appropriate follow-up." She referred questions to the FBI, which declined to comment.

Attorney Barry Cohen said the elder Todashev, who lives in Russia, fears a cover-up.

"He's asking the president from one dad to another not to let that happen," Cohen said.

Todashev wonders why authorities are being secretive about the investigation and why it's taking so long, Cohen said. An Orlando prosecutor investigating the death said he expects to release a report next year. Federal authorities also are investigating.

Ibragim Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter recovering from knee surgery, was killed as FBI agents and police from Massachusetts and Florida questioned him. Officials originally said Todashev lunged at an agent with a knife. They later said it was no longer clear what happened.

A court filing this year indicated Todashev had told investigators that Tamerlan Tsarnaev participated in an unsolved 2011 triple slaying in Waltham, just west of Boston. It was unclear if he provided any evidence of that.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty in the April 15 marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others. His brother died following a shootout with police.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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