Rana Not to Reverse his ‘Not Guilty’ Plea: Defence Counsel

Pakistani-born Canadian national Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who has been charged with 26/11 attacks, is not going to reverse his ‘not guilty’ plea to steer clear of a trial in court, reported PTI citing his counsel.

Rana, 49, presented himself before Judge Harry Leinenweber in the US District court in Chicago on Monday for a pre-trial conference where prosecutors moved to declassify some information related to his case, report said.

Also present during the hearing, attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said that he hoped to declassify a substantial amount of material gathered in the probe against Rana, said report.

He argued that by doing so, the government could rely as little as possible on extraordinary secrecy procedures, which would be preferable, report said.

The next hearing will be held on May 11 for scheduling the handling of the classified information in the case, said report.

A ruling on the move to declassify documents is not expected until September, with the trial beginning some time after that.

Patrik Blegen, Rana’s counsel, later told media persons that his client would not reverse his ‘not guility’ plea and they would move ahead with the trial, report said.

Also, he said that he was not surprised with Headley pleading guilty, and that he believed Rana still had a ‘strong case’, said report.

Rana has claimed that he was duped by Headley, though Headley has confessed he shared with Rana details of his trips to Pakistan and his association with LeT. In turn, Rana extensively helped him carry out the attacks in Mumbai.

It was Rana’s first appearance in the court since his alleged co-conspirator, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley, pleaded guilty on March 18 for his role in plotting the Mumbai attacks.

Rana faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

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