Mumbai Terror Trial Winds Down Tuesday

Chicago, June 7 (IANS) Closing arguments are expected Tuesday in the trial of Pakistan-born Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana who is accused of providing material support to Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Rana, 50, told US District Judge Harry Leinenweber in Chicago Federal court Monday that he was waiving his right to testify after his attorneys presented just two witnesses on his behalf, according to Chicago Sun Times.

"You know what Mr. Rana would have said? 'I didn't do it, and I didn't know,'" defence attorney Charles Swift said, explaining why his client chose not to take the stand.

Swift and his co-counsel Patrick Blegen have argued that Rana was oblivious to Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley's deadly plans when he asked Headley to operate his Mumbai-based immigration office, according to the Sun Times.

Earlier Monday, federal prosecutors played Roughly ten minutes of Rana's six-hour videotaped interrogation after his arrest Oct 18, 2009.

Rana, whose gray hair appears to be dyed in the video, said Headley told him that he trained with Lashkar" and that he was "affiliated" with the group and Pakistani spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). But Rana also is heard saying that Headley often engaged in "loose talk."

Rana can also be heard acknowledging key members of the plot, including Headley's alleged ISI handler "Major Iqbal," who the key Mumbai plotter said has direct links to the ISI.

Testifying for the defence Monday, immigration lawyer David Morris said he conducted informational seminars in several Indian cities for Rana's company in 1997.

The seminars were "moderately successful," Morris said, though he added that it didn't make sense to expand in India at the time but that Rana spoke about that possibility for the future.

Computer forensics expert Yaniv Moshe Schiff also testified for the defence, telling jurors that none of the 19 computers in Rana's home or office were used to access any video files of the Mumbai attacks.

There was one computer, though, that indicted someone did research on the Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of prophet Muhammad in 2005, Schiff said.


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