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CHICAGO (CBS) — Jurors on Thursday found a Chicago businessman guilty of supporting global terrorism, but acquitted him of a key charge that he had a hand in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India.
Jurors found Tahawwur Hussain Rana guilty of supporting a terror plot — never carried out — against a Denmark newspaper and of aiding the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. But jurors acquitted Rana of lending support to the Mumbai massacre that left more than 160 dead. The alleged Mumbai link was the centerpiece of the federal government’s case.
Rana, a 50-year-old native of Pakistan, glanced at his family before the verdicts were read, but showed no emotion as they were read in court. No sentencing date was set.
“The message should be clear to all those who help terrorists — we will bring to justice all those who seek to facilitate violence,” U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a written statement following the verdicts.
Federal prosecutors had said Rana provided cover for David Headley, who pleaded guilty to scouting sites for the Mumbai attack. Headley testified as the government’s star witness at Rana’s trial, saying he took orders from Pakistani intelligence and a Pakistani militant organization.
Headley also testified Rana helped him plot an attack on the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The admitted terrorist said he shot surveillance video in Denmark with Rana’s help.
Fitzgerald defended the federal government’s use of Headley, who was spared the death penalty. He said additional acts of terrorism may have been prevented.
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Rana’s defense attorneys were grim, even though they swayed the jury on one count.
“It’s hard for us to be excited about that when our client is potentially facing 30 years for basically buying an airline ticket,” Charles Swift said.
The trial drew international media attention.