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U.S. prosecutors seek up to 35 years in terror sentencing

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer


updated 9:34 PM EST, Tue January 22, 2013
In a courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley pleads guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2010.
In a courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley pleads guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Headley was convicted of charges related to the deadly 2008 Mumbai attack
  • Sentencing is scheduled for Thursday in Chicago
  • Prosecutors say Headley has cooperated with government efforts to combat terrorism

Washington (CNN) -- The Justice Department has urged a federal judge to sentence a U.S. man convicted of charges related to the deadly Mumbai terror attack to 30 to 35 years in prison when he appears in court on Thursday.

David Headley, 52, of Chicago, has pleaded guilty to counts related to the 2008 attack in India that killed 160 people, including six Americans. Headley admitted conducting advance surveillance for the India operation.

Prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for his plea.

He signed that agreement in 2010 and promised to cooperate with U.S. authorities.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder noted at the time that he had provided extensive "valuable intelligence about terrorist activities."

Headley testified against a Canadian man who was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison for aiding a plot to attack a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Gary Shapiro, the acting U.S. attorney in Chicago, issued a lengthy sentencing memo to the federal district court on Tuesday concluding that the 30- to 35-year sentence the government recommended for Headley was fair.

"While his criminal conduct was deplorable, the uniquely significant cooperation which he provided to the government's efforts to combat terrorism support the government's recommendations," Shapiro said.

Headley could receive up to life in prison.

The Indian government wants to conduct another trial for Headley, but the United States has said it would not send him to any other country.

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