Terror label key in Chicago businessman's sentence

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm •  Published: January 16, 2013
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"The two continued their friendship throughout their lives," the defense filing says. "But while Headley lived a life of crime and excess, Rana lived a full and productive life ... starting several businesses, getting married and raising three children ... This continued friendship and loyalty to Headley ultimately led to Rana's downfall."

The defense filing described his crimes as an aberration.

"Rana is a kind, hardworking, dedicated, charitable, compassionate family man," it says. "He made the unfortunate mistake of becoming involved in the activities of his oldest — and most manipulative — friend."

It added, "Rana is quite simply not a terrorist."

Prosecutors blasted the notion Rana displayed any such naiveté, highlighting how in some of his communications he took pains to use coded language. Rana, the government filing said, had "engaged in extensive terrorist tradecraft."

Far from being hoodwinked by Headley, Rana "made his own decision to participate ... and, once he did, did so whole-heartedly."

Prosecutors also sought to discredit letters Rana's family, including his wife, sent recently to the judge describing Rana as a loving father and appealing for leniency.

Rana's wife, prosecutors argued, held a different opinion of her husband until right before his arrest. They cite a secretly recorded conversation in which she calls Headley "absolutely crazy" and quickly adds Rana is much like him.

"They talk nonsense all day, idiots. That's not how Islam spreads! . . . Such as, 'Kill him, he is not practicing like us — kill him, do that to him, do this to him, he is like this,'" she allegedly says. "Is this how Islam spreads? ... Hatred spreads like this, not Islam."

At Rana's trial, Headley spent five days detailing how he allegedly worked for both the Pakistani intelligence agency, known as the ISI, and Lashkar. Some observers had expected testimony could reveal details about alleged links between ISI and Lashkar, though much that came out in testimony had been heard before through indictments and a report released by India's government.

The Pakistani government has maintained it did not know about Osama bin Laden or help plan the Mumbai attacks.

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Follow Michael Tarm at www.twitter.com/mtarm