A federal judge has refused to grant a retrial to a Chicago businessman convicted of offering support to a terrorist group that claimed responsibility for a 2008 siege in India that left more than 160 people dead, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Jurors cleared Tahawwur Rana last year of involvement in the three-day attack in Mumbai, India's largest city. However, in a split verdict, they convicted him of providing material support for the group that carried out the attacks and plotting a never-carried-out attack against a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
Among the arguments Rana's attorneys made in asking for a new trial was that they shouldn't have been forced to defend charges related to the Mumbai and Denmark plots simultaneously.
Judge Harry Leinenweber rejected that argument in a 17-page ruling, suggesting Rana may have wanted separate trials because his defense in one plot may have contradicted his defense in the other.
The U.S. district judge in Chicago cited other courts as rebuffing ``claims that a defendant has a right to hide from the jury his inconsistent defenses to related charges.''
Leinenweber also set a Dec. 4 sentencing date for Rana, a Pakistani-born Canadian who faces up to 30 years in prison on the two charges for which he was convicted.
The split verdicts suggested jurors were reticent to believe a main government witness and admitted terrorist, David Coleman Headley. The American Pakistani, who pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork in the attacks on Mumbai and conducting surveillance in Copenhagen, agreed to testify against his school friend Rana, as the prosecutor's star witness, to avoid the death penalty and extradition.