Former Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis testified for the defense in the trial of Robel Phillipos, the friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who is accused of lying to investigators.

Dukakis’s appearance was a surprise for the courtroom and jury, many of whom recognized the former politician upon his entrance.

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On the stand, Dukakis said that he had spoken with a “confused” Phillipos over the phone on April 20, five days after the marathon bombings. In their conversation, Phillipos said he had been interviewed by the FBI for five hours, Dukakis testified. Phillipos also said he was so confused he wasn’t sure what he had told investigators, Dukakis said.

Dukakis said in testimony that he was encouraged to call Phillipos by the defendant’s mother, a Cambridge social worker and friend of Dukakis and his wife. The two families had been friends since Phillipos was a boy. Dukakis added that in 2004, he took Phillipos to the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Prosecutors say Phillipos, 21, lied to investigators about his whereabouts and what he saw on April 18, 2013, when he and two friends allegedly visited Tsarnaev’s dorm room and removed a backpack of evidence after the marathon bombings. Phillipos’s defense team contends that he was a scared 19-year-old at the time who was “high out of his mind” during interviews with investigators and could not remember clearly.

Dukakis was one of five witnesses called by the defense during the day, many of whom were Phillipos’s personal friends. Witnesses Jim Li and Michael Creese both testified that Phillipos had smoked marijuana with friends on April 18.

The prosecution rested its case on Wednesday after the last of several …read more