US media outlets seek access to Headley`s tapes

Last Updated: Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 13:48

Chicago: Key US media organisations have filed a motion in a court here demanding access to behind-the-scene video tapes of FBI interrogation of Mumbai attacks plotter David Headley, including one showing him "palpably nervous" as he groped for a plea bargain deal.

The motion was filed late on Thursday after federal
prosecutors here refused to turn over to various media outlets
the video tapes, which were played during the trial of LeT
operative Headley`s childhood friend Tahawwur Hussain Rana in
June. Headley was the star witness in the trial.

Rana`s lawyer had played parts of the tapes in court,
suggesting that Headley was trying to dupe their client and
save himself.

But the lawyer neglected to enter the video into
evidence, a technicality now claimed by prosecutors as the
reason they do not have to make it public, according to ABC
News channel.

As a motion has been filed requesting that the US
attorney be directed to turn over the tapes to the media,
prosecutors will now have to explain why they are refusing to
do so.

In the video, Headley is shown confessing that he took
training in LeT camps and under ISI and Pakistani militants
linked to al Qaeda and accepted his role in scouting targets
and conducting a recce of Mumbai before the 2008 attacks that
killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The motion -- filed by ProPublica, a public interest
reporting organisation, and the PBS show Frontline -- is
demanding the tapes, citing a Seventh Circuit ruling that
"what transpires in the courtroom is public property."

In Rana`s case, the court had already overruled the
prosecution`s objections and allowed the tapes shown.
Jurors and the courtroom public saw "scenes of a palpably
nervous Headley groping for one last deal," a plea bargain for
himself to avoid the death penalty.

The motion noted that Headley had in the past successfully
manipulated and evaded federal authorities, who even failed to
investigate warnings from his relatives that he was plotting
terror attacks.

Those relatives included Headley`s third wife, Faiza

"I went to them and I then started saying stuff, I said
he`s going to bomb everything, he`s a criminal. They didn`t
bother," Outalha was quoted as saying.

PBS channel needs the tapes quickly for its hour-long
documentary on terrorism `Frontline` to be aired next month.
A hearing for turning over the tapes is set for next


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First Published: Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 13:42

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