CHICAGO - A man with Philadelphia and Pakistani links charged with aiding the deadly November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, pleaded not guilty yesterday.
At a minutes-long arraignment, David Coleman Headley, 49, pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts against him, including charges he was helping Muslim extremists plan an attack on the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, whose 2005 cartoons claiming to depict the prophet Muhammad set off protests in the Muslim world.
The most serious charge carries the death penalty.
Headley told U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber he understood the charges and was waiving indictment. He was charged Monday in a legal document called a criminal information, which typically signals a plea deal.
Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani, is the son of Serrill Headley, a Philadelphia socialite and pub owner, and Syed Saleem Gilani, a Pakistani. Both are dead.
He is accused of making five trips to Mumbai and conducting surveillance on the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, a Jewish gathering place called Nariman House and a train station, all of which were struck by terrorists.
The attacks left 166 people dead, including Americans.
Prosecutors say he answered to the Pakistan-based militant Lashkar-e-Taiba, or Army of the Pure, a group mainly focused on removing India's control over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Authorities in Washington said Headley is cooperating with the government. His attorneys, John Theis and Robert Seeder, told reporters they would not comment on a possible defense strategy.
"We will not be adding anything to what the government has said," Theis said.
Seeder told reporters he was added to Headley's defense team because federal law calls for a second attorney in cases that could result in capital punishment.
Leinenweber gave prosecutors until Jan. 8 to turn over key evidence to the defense attorneys. He set a status hearing for Jan. 12.
Headley was arrested by FBI agents at O'Hare International Airport on Oct. 3 as he was about to board a plane for Philadelphia. The government said he was believed to be headed to Pakistan afterward to confer with collaborators.