M A I N   N E W S

Headley set to plead guilty 

Chicago, March 17
Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, a LeT operative charged with conspiring in the Mumbai terror strike, will plead guilty before a US court tomorrow, five months after he was arrested by the FBI.

A court notice said a change of plea hearing has been set tomorrow scheduling David Coleman Headley before US District Judge Harry Leinenweber. A routine status hearing was scheduled for Headley on March 23. “Yes, Headley will plead guilty,” John Thesis, Headley's lawyer, said when asked if his client is changing his not-guilty plea. “I expect that is what is going to happen on March 18,” Theis said.

He, however, declined to comment on whether Headley would be pleading guilty to all or some of the charges in the 12-count superseding indictment filed against him on January 14.

Headley, 49, is charged with conspiring in the Mumbai terror strike and planning attack on a Danish newspaper which published a cartoon on Prophet Mohammad. The son of a Pakistani diplomat and a Philadelphia socialite, Headley had so far pleaded not guilty to the charges and has remained in federal custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre here since he was arrested in October 2009.

If convicted, Headley faces maximum penalty of life imprisonment or death. Theis said: “We have had discussions with the government regarding the plea bargain. We are working on it and we expect there will be a plea agreement.” However, Headley's cooperation in the investigation is seen as a way to escape death penalty.

In the 12 count indictment, Headley, faces six counts of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons in India and Denmark, providing material support to foreign terrorist plots, providing material support to Lashkar and six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India.

The FBI had also charged Headley's friend from a Pakistani military school, city-businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana with providing material support to the Mumbai attacks as well as to the LeT. Pakistani-Canadian Rana has pleaded not guilty to the charges and said he was duped by Headley. Rana has been denied bail by the court and is held at the Correctional centre since his October arrest. A hearing for his case has been set for March 29. — PTI 



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