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Why Chicago Terror Trial Is So Important–But Few Here Are Paying Attention

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Smoke and flames billow out from The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos have killed the last Islamic militants holed up inside Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel. (Credit: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)

Smoke and flames billow out from The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos have killed the last Islamic militants holed up inside Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel. (Credit: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – It has been called the biggest terror trial ever in Chicago.

A Devon Avenue businessman, Tahawuur Rana, is charged with helping Pakistani militants plan its deadly attacks in Mumbai, India in 2008.

Federal court officials received more than 80 requests from foreign journalists seeking press credentials to cover the trial.

Their readers are playing close attention, even if many in Chicago aren’t, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

The overwhelming U.S. media focus at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse for the past few weeks as been on the political corruption re-trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich himself has been on the stand for several days, testifying in his defense.

Still, the world’s attention has been on Rana’s trial and his once-best friend who testified against him, David Headley.

Journalist Mayank Chayya says Headley’s testimony provided the first public details regarding the planning behind the Mumbai attacks.

“He went to remarkable lengths to talk about what he did.” said Chayya.

Headley told how he scouted Mumbai targets for Pakistani terrorists to attack–a three-day siege that left 164 dead. He detailed how Pakistani intelligence officers knew all about it.

“People were interested in the extent of the Pakistani intelligence’s involvement in this, although India has been saying for a long time they were involved in some way,” said Chayya.

In a separate plot, Headley testified that he took videos of possible terror targets in Copenhagen, Denmark. Terrorists were planning retaliation against a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Danish reporter Claus Blok Thomsen said, “Terrorists wanted to kill employees at the newspaper. They wanted to chop off their heads and throw their heads out the window. It’s a very shocking thing to a lot of Danish people.”

Blok Thomsen works in the same building that houses the paper that printed the cartoons.

He believes the threat is still real.

“The Danish intelligence service is saying the terrorists will continue to focus on Denmark,” he said.

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