Opening arguments to begin in Chicago terror trial

May 23, 2011

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(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Tahawwur Rana's attorneys, Patrick Blegen (left) and Charles Swift address reporters.

Attorneys are scheduled to make their opening statements Monday in the trial of a Chicago man accused of helping plan terrorist attacks.

Defense attorney Charles Swift says his client, Tahawwur Rana, is guilty of one thing: "to be friends with David Headley," Swift said to reporters last week, giving a preview of his opening statements.

Both David Headley and Rana lived in Chicago and both were charged with helping plan the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India that killed at least 164 people. They were also charged for plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammad.

Headley has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Rana.

"Mr. Rana didn't do anything to actively support the Mumbai conspiracy or the Denmark conspiracy; that he had the unfortunate part of being friends with a terrorist," Swift said.

The case has generated a lot of interest among international reporters because it could shed light on Pakistani intelligence. The trial is expected to last a month.