Opening statements begin Monday in a Chicago trial that will be watched around the world.
Businessman Tahawwur Rana is accused of helping plan deadly attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Prosecutors allege the 50-year-old Rana provided cover for David Coleman Headly, his former schoolmate and friend, to scout sites of the attacks that killed more than 160 people.
Rana has pleaded not guilty. The prosecution’s key witness is expected to be Headley, a Pakistani-American who pleaded guilty last year to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attack. He is cooperating with the government and may talk about allegations that the government of Pakistan knew, or possibly even helped plan, the attack.
Headley admitted that he made surveillance videos and conducted other intelligence-gathering for the Mumbai attack. He also confessed that he was in contact with another militant who was helping plot a bomb attack against a Danish newspaper whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad offended Muslims.
But attorneys for Rana, who's also accused of planning the Denmark attack that never happened, say their client was simply duped by his longtime friend and didn't know what was in store.
Headley, born Daood Gilani, reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the terrorism case in exchange for avoiding the death penalty and avoiding extradition.