The verdict in the trial of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, co-accused in the Mumbai terror attacks with David Coleman Headley, is likely to come in earlier than expected as the Chicago businessman is unlikely to testify at his own trial.
Rana’s Attorney Patrick Blegen said Tahawwur Rana’s defence team was still making a final decision, but that it was unlikely Rana would take the stand.
The case proceeded quickly after Headley, a Pakistani-American, wrapped up his testimony after five days of questioning by Prosecution and Defence lawyers in the trial of his childhood friend and another 26/11 co-accused Rana in a Chicago court.
Prosecutors called seven witnesses today, including five FBI agents who verified email and phone communication between Rana, Headley, and “Major Iqbal,” believed to be an ISI officer.
Rana was communicating through emails with Major Iqbal of ISI (low level officer), it was noted in court.
An email sent from a Chaudhery Khan, another name for Major Iqbal from email@example.com in which he gave his mobile number for future contacts was shown in court today by prosecutor Sarah Streicker.
Another e-email was from firstname.lastname@example.org in which Rana booked Headley’s flight on December 8, 2008, from New York to Chicago with a stop at Atlanta.
U.S. District Court Judge Harry. D. Leinenweber said the case proceeded quickly partly because both the government and defence had no problems with the stipulation.
A stipulation is an agreement between opposing parties prior to a pending hearing or trial when both parties stipulate to certain facts and therefore do not argue those facts.
The judge adjourned the hearing till Monday.
“We’re fairly close to the end of the case,” Mr. Leinenweber said. “We’re going to suspend now until Monday, 09:30 am,” he added.
On Monday the last of the witnesses will be presented.
The trial will resume with testimonies from Rana’s witnesses among others.
Final arguments will be on Tuesday and deliberations are scheduled for on the same day.
The jury will deliberate after weighing in the pros and cons and given information and arguments to evaluate.
The jury could come up with a verdict whether Rana is guilty or not as early as Wednesday.
At the start of the trial, Mr. Leinenweber had stated that the trial would tentatively end by June 15.
Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts on February 15 last year for planning out the attacks, providing material support to LeT to carry out the bombings, and guiding Headley in scouting targets in Mumbai in the process.
Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian, on the other hand, said that he was duped by Headley, who has pleaded guilty to scouting sites in Mumbai.