Chicago, Sep 21 (IANS): Pakistan-born Canadian Tahawwur Rana, convicted of aiding Pakistan based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) held responsible for theNovember 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, is seeking a fresh trial.
Cleared of any involvement in the Mumbai attacks, but facing a stiff sentence for providing material support to LeT in a foiled plot to attack a Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, he has argued in new court filings that he should have been given separate trials for the two plots, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rana's eight-day trial in Chicago last June featured the testimony of his boyhood friend, admitted terror plotter David Coleman Headley, US-born son of a Pakistani father and an American mother who changed his given name of Daood Gilani in 2006 to scout targets for the Mumbai attacks without arousing suspicion.
Rana's lawyers argue in new federal court filings that Rana should be granted another trial because, if the Mumbai evidence were not put before jurors, the panel would not have convicted him on the other counts, the Sun-Times said.
Attorneys argue that prosecutors improperly sought to tie the two plots together, prejudicing jurors.
"Rana should not have been forced to defend the Mumbai and Denmark plots simultaneously," Rana's lawyers wrote.
"Charges of involvement in a single terrorist plot creates immense fear, prejudice, and the risk of emotion overwhelming a jury even in the best of circumstances. Forcing a defendant to defend two terrorist plots simultaneously is simply untenable."
They also argue that the convictions should be thrown out because the bulk of the government's evidence came from e-mails, recorded telephone calls and recorded conversations that they had access to under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Rana's lawyers say that the act is supposed to be used to collect intelligence, not for criminal prosecutions.
Prosecutors will respond in writing. Rana who has been in custody since his October 2009 arrest faces up to 30 years in prison