I-Team Report: Trail of Terror

June 8, 2011 8:42:32 PM PDT
As a federal jury deliberates the most important terrorism case in Chicago history, the path to prosecution is littered with lost lives and painful memories.

At the beginning and the end of the Chicago terror trail is David Coleman Headley, a man with eyes of two different colors and at least as many personalities.

Even though Headley pleaded guilty to plotting terrorist attacks in India and Denmark, the truthfulness of his testimony in Chicago is now being decided by a federal jury.

"Both sides want a quick verdict in this case. Nobody wants a mistrial," said Charles Swift, TRana's lawyer.

Tahawwur Rana has been on trial for the last three weeks. Rana is charged with helping to plot the deadly terror attack in Mumbai. It was November 2008. More than 160 people died including six Americans. Hundreds were wounded including Andreina Varagona, a meditation teacher from Nashville, Tennessee. She and some friends were at the posh Oberoi Hotel having dinner in the hotel restaurant.

"I said to everyone, we need to get under the table quickly, which we did. The six of us. And basically saying to everyone 'shhhh, we're going to be fine. Just be still and play dead. Don't move,'" said Varagona.

When it was over a friend and his daughter were among the dead.

Less than a year later in Chicago, the FBI arrested Daood Gilani, born in Washington to a Pakistani-diplomat father and an American mother. His family moved to Pakistan where he attended military school and where he befriended Tahawwur Rana.

Both men moved to North America, Rana to Canada, Gilani to the U.S. where he in changed his named to David Coleman Headley.

Since pleading guilty in the case, Headley has told authorities he changed his name to escape detection and to travel freely as an American in South Asia. His cover was enhanced by marrying a blonde American woman. All the while he was setting up terror attacks for Lakshar-e-taiba, Pakistan's deadliest terrorist organization.

"Mass murder? I can't see it," said Headley's uncle.

Even beloved Uncle William Headley couldn't believe it when Headley was arrested.

Until Headley wrote him a jailhouse letter proclaiming himself 100 percent Muslim and saying that he expected to be convicted.

that belief led to Headley turning on his boyhood friend and, say prosecutors, turning him into a co-terrorist, something Rana has vigorously fought.

"I think we have shown Mr. Headley to be the person that he was. I think that there is no question in the jurors' mind that Mr. Headley took advantage of Dr. Rana," said Swift.

During deliberations Wednesday the jury sent a note asking for details about two men charged as co-conspirators who are still foreign fugitives. Jurors wanted to know whether they were affiliated with the Pakistani terror organization Rana is accused of supporting. The judge declined to provide more information.

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