David Coleman Headley to testify in Mumbai terror case: Attorney
CHICAGO: A Pakistani-American who pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai will testify in the trial of a Chicago businessman accused of helping his former friend in the plot, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
The trial of Tahawwur Rana is being closely watched worldwide for what testimony might reveal about suspected links between the Pakistani militant group blamed in the attacks and the nation's main intelligence agency, which has been under increased scrutiny since Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 2 outside Islamabad.
During opening statements, Assistant US Attorney Sarah Streicker confirmed that David Coleman Headley would testify at Rana's trial. Headley is cooperating with the government after pleading guilty to taking photos and videos of targets in Mumbai before the rampage that killed 160 people including six Americans over three days in India's largest city.
Though Streicker did not give any indication that the trial would give any clues about the global fight against terrorism, Headley's testimony is of particular interest because he may discuss allegations that Pakistan's government knew or possibly helped plan - the Mumbai attack blamed on the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Rana, 50, has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys say their client was simply duped by his longtime friend and didn't know what was in store. Headley and Rana, a Pakistani-born Canadian who has lived in Chicago for years, met at one of Pakistan's most prestigious military boarding schools and stayed in touch as adults.
Defense attorney Charles Swift told jurors that Headley was a "manipulative man" who "balanced multiple lives" including working for Laskhar-e-Taiba, Pakistani intelligence and the US Drug Enforcement Administration at the same time.