Chicago: Pakistani-Canadian terror suspect
Tahawwur Rana under investigation for his role in the 26/11
Mumbai attacks, has stuck to his `not guilty` plea to terror
charges and is headed for trial, will appear before a US court
here on May 11 for a status hearing in the case.
Patrick Blegen, lawyer for the 48 year-old city
businessman, told PTI that "during the status hearing, the
judge is going to rule on some pre-trial motions".
Blegen reiterated that there will not be any change
in Rana`s not guilty plea, which he had entered in the US
District court in January.
He however did not comment on when he expects the
trial in the case to start.
Rana`s May 11 status hearing is scheduled before US
Judge Harry Leinenweber.
Days after co-accused LeT operative David Coleman
Headley had pleaded guilty in March to plotting the Mumbai
terror attacks, Blegen had said his client would not be
changing his not guilty plea and go ahead for a trial, which
he hoped would start "sooner rather than later".
Blegen had said he feels he still has a "strong
Rana`s trial process is expected to start only after
September, till when federal prosecutors would work on what
evidence gathered against him can be used at trial.
Chicago`s top federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald,
who is personally handling the case, had told the court he
hopes to declassify evidence gathered in the terror
investigation in the next few months.
Blegen and prosecutors agreed on a six-month schedule
- April 5, June 1, July 1, August 2, September 13 - for
carrying out provisions of the Classified Information
Procedures Act (CIPA), which allows prosecutors to take
extraordinary measures to prevent classified information from
leaking to the public.
According to the calender in the case, the government
will provide classified discovery by June 1 and Leinenweber
has set a date of September 20 for a hearing to determine what
classified information can be admitted as evidence at trial.
Rana has filed several pre-trial motions asking the
government to provide him "specific" details of the kind of
"material support" he is charged with providing to terror acts
in Mumbai and Denmark, citing the need to be better prepared
Blegen said given the "complexity of the case", his
client should be entitled to know "with specificity what
material support he is alleged to have provided" to terrorism
since the "superseding indictment is not a clear apprisal of
the allegations" against Rana.
The lawyer said the indictment keeps the allegations
"vague" and prevents him from properly preparing a defense.
The government has objected to Rana`s demand for
"specific" details, saying the superseding indictment provides
more details than required and that the prosecution too
continues to provide extensive discovery.
Federal prosecutors added the government has already
provided "more than sufficient" information in the form of
over 20,000 documents for him to prepare his defense for his