Privacy SOS

It’s too late for Robel Phillipos, but it isn’t too late to learn from his mistake

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Cambridge resident Robel Phillipos has been found guilty of making false statements to federal officials. The young man faces over a decade in prison for multiple counts of lying to the FBI. That's all Phillipos was charged with; officials said he had nothing to do with the Boston marathon bombings for which his friend Jahar Tsarnaev stands accused. Phillipos had no knowledge of the alleged plot, the feds contend. They prosecuted him only on the basis that he made false statements to FBI officials.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Department of Justice have claimed in court that they do not know where the Marathon bombs were built, or who built them. In other words the US Attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, has invested energy in aggressively prosecuting Phillipos while her own colleagues readily admit they have thus far failed to uncover arguably the most critical facts in the marathon bombing investigation. Troubling.

It's too late for Robel Phillipos to avoid harsh penalties for speaking to the FBI. But it isn't too late for you. Please do not make the mistake Phillipos and too many other people have made. Do not talk to the FBI without your lawyer present. This is not hysterical or even anti-government advice. As renowned civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate says in the must-watch video embedded above, it is sound, practical advice. It is advice that could mean the difference between a long federal prison term and living your life outside.

Please share the video with everyone you know. Understand how the FBI "puts people in a vice"—so you can be sure to stay out of it.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.