March 18th, 2010
03:14 PM ET

Mumbai terror suspect pleads guilty

David Headley, 49, pleaded guilty Thursday.

A Chicago man charged in two international terror plots, including the 2008 Mumbai, India, attacks, pleaded guilty Thursday to a dozen counts against him, and now will not face a trial.

David Headley, 49, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Chicago to a dozen federal terrorism charges. Authorities said he scouted out targets for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 that killed more than 160 people, and planned an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Headley has agreed to cooperate with the government and testify before a grand jury.

He could have faced the death penalty if convicted, but in exchange for his guilty plea and cooperation, the government has taken execution off the table.

However, he will not be sentenced until after the conclusion of his cooperation, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said Headley attended training camps in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and received instructions in 2005 from three members of the group to travel to India to conduct surveillance. The Justice Department said he traveled to India five times leading up to the Mumbai attacks. Six Americans were killed in the attacks.

The United States considers Lashkar-e-Tayyiba a foreign terrorist organization.

Headley also admitted that in early November 2008, a Lashkar-e-Tayyiba member in Karachi, Pakistan, instructed him to scout the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices in Denmark of the Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten newspaper in preparation for an attack. The newspaper had published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

The alleged plan against the Danish newspaper was never carried out.

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Filed under: India • World
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. mazgaon

    Is this 4 line new the so called "Full Story"

    March 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sherri

    Just wondering, who filed the case against him? As in may he also have to face a trial in India or just here? Also, what exactly did he plead guilty to?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pinky

    OK.... so are they going to have strict procedures of immigration for AMERICANS too since they can also be terrorists and not just muslims?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Amit D

    What about USA's fight against terrorism? They are helping a terrorist to get lesser punishment so that he can come out after few years and carry out the similar attack like Mumbai...why they do not understand that releasing such terrorists could cause danger to their own people in future.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ogre12

    shanker – they are giving this evil monkey a break because he is talking (good bilateral politics with India, good intelligence for both India and US, etc, etc). The best I can hope for is that he gets shanked in prison.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mel

    Should definitely get the death penalty. He carried out a terror plot in Mumbai, killing innocent people. He has no choice but to cooperate and just for the cooperation, you can't disclude the death penalty on a person who initiates terror plots more than once.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred Riek

    I cannot imagine why this man participated in these crimes against innocent people. There is no justification for participation in the indescriminate killing of innocent people – children, women, the elderly and anyone peacefully living their lives. While I hope he gets what he deserves in the way of punishment, I also hope he realizes what he has done to not only his victims families, but also his own. Terrorists don't seem to understand that indiscriminate murder just makes more people turn agaist them and their causes even moreso.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    We also need to investigate or review what led this person to go out there and get involved – Personal situation? Religion? Anger on somebody? No better job to do?

    It is key because it is hard to understand how a person from an educated country can do this.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ravi

    He should be extradited to India to face charges there too. Anything less than a death penalty would be a disgrace to humanity

    March 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Prashant

    Set this guy free & send him to Mumbai. Those people will take care of him themselves. No more life in imprisonment for him

    March 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jo Jo

    Seams that here lately we are getting more terrorist threats from our own rather than foreign countries. First, Jihad Jane and now this guy. Just goes to show you, you can't judge a book by its cover.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cool Dude

    Uh! finally some justice will prevail. He did a smart thing in admitting. Death penalty you die immediately, life term you die slowly.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pinky

    Don't you know that USA is exempted from everything.. all rules and they can get away with anything... this is disappointing!!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mayank

    im my point of view he must be handed over to India and try him in Indian Court till he gets Death till than all Indian are allowd to visit him in Jail and torture him till he say Oh allah grant me death

    March 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Milind

    Isn't this guys supposed to go through a trial in India?? Isn't he supposed to be extradited?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
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