Prosecutors close to resting their case against alleged Chicago terrorist

June 2, 2011

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Federal prosecutors are close to wrapping up their case against a Chicago man accused of helping plan two terrorist attacks. Prosecutors say Chicagoan Tahawwur Rana used his Devon Avenue immigration company as a cover to help plan attacks in Mumbai, India and Copenhagan, Denmark.

On Wednesday, prosecutors flew through a series of FBI agents on the witness stand; from a translator who listened to Rana do business in secretly recorded conversations to an agent who read emails that were also monitored.

They even called a 24-year-old Harold Washington College student who worked in Rana's grocery store and ran an errand for Rana to the Pakistani consulate in downtown Chicago.

Jurors also heard the transcript of a secretly recorded phone conversation between Rana and the consul genneral of Pakistan in Chicago, so that Rana could get a visa for his friend, David Headley. Headley is an admitted terrorist who spent five days testifying against Rana. The consul general was reluctant to grant Rana's request, because Rana wanted him to give Headley a five-year visa. The consul general said those kinds of visas were rare and he wouldn't grant a five-year visa because it would raise red flags and he wanted to be an ambassador some day. The consul general granted Headley a three-year visa instead.

Prosecutors say they expect to rest their case Monday.

Defense attorneys say they plan to call a terrorism expert, a computer expert and a Canadian immigration lawyer who knows Rana. They say they don't expect to call Rana to the stand, but they're leaving that option open.