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Defense: Accused associate of Mumbai planner unlikely to take stand

By Katherine Wojtecki, CNN Senior Producer
  • Tahawwur Rana is accused of using his business asa cover for David Headley
  • Headley, a drug informant, was instrumental in planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks
  • He pleaded guilty in March 2010 to 12 counts in connection with the attacks
  • Witnesses testify about communications between Rana, Headley

Chicago (CNN) -- Attorneys for Tahawwur Rana say it is unlikely he will take the stand in his own defense on federal charges that he used his immigration business as cover for a friend involved in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India.

The government called into the courtroom seven witnesses Wednesday including five FBI agents who verified e-mail and phone communications between Rana and David Headley, an American who played a key role in the November 2008 attacks in India's financial capital that left 164 people dead.

The other FBI witness was a linguist who talked about how she translated the phone conversations from Rana but did not give details into those conversations. Another witness was a student who worked for Rana for about a month in his grocery store and accompanied him to the Pakistani consulate on one occasion.

Headley, a small-time drug dealer, was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He pleaded guilty in March 2010 to 12 charges in connection with the four-day siege on India's financial capital, as well as a planned attack in Denmark.

By the end of the day Thursday, government attorneys said that they had one remaining witness, who would testify on Monday. Defense attorneys said their potential witnesses could include an immigration lawyer from Canada and a computer expert.

Jurors weren't expected back in court until Monday because, according to U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, proceedings were moving faster than he had anticipated and attorneys said they had trouble rescheduling the remaining witnesses.

Judge Leinenweber said he would perform jury instructions in his chamber Friday, with Rana waiving his right to be present.

Closing arguments would be tentatively scheduled for sometime next week.