The defense for Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, accused of aiding his longtime friend in the preparation for the deadly 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, rested its case on Monday after putting two witnesses on the stand.
Rana did not take the stand, and he has denied all wrong-doing in the case. Closing arguments by the prosecution and defense are scheduled for Tuesday in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in downtown Chicago.
Rana, 50, faces charges that he helped his childhood friend, self-admitted terrorist David Coleman Headley, 50, by allowing him to travel as a representative of his business, First World Immigration Services, for his overseas trips to scout targets for the terror attacks that killed some 170 people in India's largest city.
He is also accused of helping Headley in a plot to attack a Denmark newspaper that was never carried out.
Headley, who pleaded guilty to his role to avoid the death penalty, testified that Rana was aware that he was acting as a scout for the plots when he traveled to Denmark and Mumbai, India, as a representative of Rana's business.
The trial, which began with jury selection on May 16, drew international media attention and was played out before packed courtrooms at the start.
Headley testified for five days, providing insight into how an international terrorism plot unfolded. Headley said he worked with several Pakistani terrorists, including members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, to orchestrate the Mumbai attacks.
The government rested its case on Monday after presenting evidence that included portions of Rana's six-hour interrogation with theFBI in Chicago after his October 2009 arrest.
In it, Rana can be heard acknowledging key members of the plot, including someone known only as “Major Iqbal,” who Headley said has direct links to the Pakistani government's secret intelligence office, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, known as ISI.
That allegation in the trial -- that an arm of the Pakistani government was linked to a terrorist attack on India -- is what drew much of the outside media to Chicago.
On Monday, the courtroom was about half-empty as Rana's interrogation was played and as his attorneys presented evidence.
Much of Rana's defense emerged during his attorney's cross-examination of Headley, who was portrayed, in his own testimony, as a calculating and untrustworthy individual who has set Rana up in the past.
The defense sought to show the jury that Rana's immigration business was above board Monday with the testimony of an attorney who said his work with First World included legitimate seminars on immigration issues.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times