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Headley lied to law enforcement agencies: Rana's lawyers

June 01, 2011 10:29 IST
David Coleman Headley, co-accused in the Mumbai terror attacks, lied to the law enforcement agencies and implicated Tawahhur Hussain Rana in the plot in a bid to save his life, defence attorneys said on Wednesday.

Fifty-year-old Headley, a Pakistani-American, has been cross-examined by defence lawyers of Rana, a 26/11 co-accused and a Canadian of Pakistani-origin who is standing trial at a Chicago court after being slapped with a dozen charges in connection with the Mumbai attacks in which 166 persons were killed.

Headley, who pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and extradition, wrapped up testimony with prosecutors saying they expect to call up to eight more witnesses starting Wednesday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Rana's relatives will be the next witnesses in the trial. The defence lawyers said Headley lived multiple lives and used his friend over the years.

Rana and Headley, who are both 50, met as teenagers at a Pakistani military school. Headley conceded that he was secretly researching on Internet at Rana's house.

"As expected this guy has a very troubled history and past," Patrick Blegen, Rana's attorney told mediapersons in Chicago after the trial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

"It's my sense that Headley answered the questions affirmatively because we had a stack of papers to contradict him. He lied before in the past," Blegen said.

"Headley used Rana from an early age and he's a criminal. He had no friends. He had only himself," Charlie Swift, another lawyer of Rana, said. Swift said that Headley duped even his wives.

"Over the three days, he couldn't hide the truth. Headley is a spider, who spins the web so that everything works his way," he added. "The true image of Headley emerged over the last three days."

During his testimony, Headley expressed remorse at the killing of Indian people at the trial. "You are remorseful for what you have done," asked Patrick Blegen, Rana's attorney to Headley.

"Yes, I feel bad about my grievances and the way I went to address them," Headley said.

Earlier Headley had told the FBI that the attacks according to him were a "justifiable revenge". "You've been converted from your previous ways," Blegen asked.

"Yes," Headley replied.

"When did you have the conversion," Blegen asked.

"I don't have an exact date but I'm still in the process," Headley said.

But, Blegen said, "I don't think he had any remorse."

Swift said that Headley gave Rana money to keep Rana in his traps. "Headley has always manipulated people; always does. He did it for years before he made friends with Rana not for today but for years," he added.

Under US law, the defendant does not need to present his case and Rana can refuse to testify. "It's not a part of the plea deal that despite Headley's wife's knowing of the attacks, she has not to be charged but part of the deal is that he Headley has pled guilty and agreed to testify. This is under the pressure of death penalty. I can't imagine any more pressure than this," Blegen said.

Headley said that he had plans to write a book and make a movie on the events in his life. "If I write a book, I can make huge amounts of money," Headley said.

Headley said he looks forward to a lighter sentence. He said he and his wife Shazia, with whom he has four kids, would do religious work and teach the world about Islam after his release from prison.

He has asked his wife Shazia to read the Bible along with the Quran while he is in prison.

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