CHICAGO - A federal jury convicted a Chicago businessman yesterday of helping plot an attack against a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, but cleared him of the most serious charge accusing him of cooperating in the deadly 2008 rampage in Mumbai.
The jury reached its split verdict after two days of deliberations, finding Tahawwur Rana guilty of providing material support to terrorism in Denmark and to the Pakistani militant group that had claimed responsibility for the three-day siege in India's largest city that left more than 160 people dead, including six Americans.
The jurors declined to talk with reporters to explain their decision, which defense attorneys described as conflicting. Rana, a Canadian national who has lived in Chicago for years, faces up to 30 years in prison on the two charges.
"We're extremely disappointed," defense attorney Patrick Blegen told reporters. "We think they got it wrong."
At the center of the trial was testimony by the government's star witness, David Coleman Headley, Rana's longtime friend - whose mother once owned the Khyber Pass restaurant in Philadelphia. Headley previously pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks and to planning to attack the Danish paper in retaliation for its printing the cartoons that had angered many Muslims. That plot was never carried out.
Headley's testimony was closely watched worldwide because it provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which took credit for the Mumbai attacks, and the alleged cooperation of Pakistan's top intelligence agency known as the ISI. The trial started just weeks after Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding outside Islamabad, raising concerns that Pakistan may have been protecting the world's most-wanted terrorist.
Pakistani officials have denied the allegations and maintained that it had not known about bin Laden or helped plan the Mumbai attacks.