The 12-member jury of a federal court here on Wednesday held deliberations on Tahawwur Rana, charged with involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, planning a similar strike in Denmark and providing material support to Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
If convicted on the three counts, 50-year-old Rana, a Pakistani Canadian, faces a possible life sentence.
After two hours of intensive deliberations in a closed room in a federal court, the jury broke for lunch.
The jury will continue deliberations on Thursday. There was no official word as to when the jury would arrive at consensus on the charges against Rana.
It could even spill over to the next week or even further, court officials said adding that the verdict depended solely on the jury, which deliberated in a closed door room.
A large contingent of media, including a number of foreign journalists, waited outside the court room for the verdict, reflecting the huge interest the case has generated the world over.
Family members of Rana, including his wife Samraz, were also seen anxiously waiting outside the court room.
In an informal chat with journalists, she said her husband was innocent and had been wrongly implicated and dragged into by Rana’s childhood friend David Coleman Headley.
“I have full faith in the American judiciary system. I am confident that we will get justice,” she said.
Rana himself, his attorneys said, had resorted to praying and hoping for the best from the jury’s verdict.
Once the verdict is given, the judge would then set a sentencing date, which is expected to be a few months later.
Comprising representation from various sections of society in Chicago, the jury began its deliberations at 9.30 a.m. local time under closed door settings.
The jury was also provided with copies of the audio and video tapes along with transcripts, besides a set of all the exhibits, including the large number of email exchanges of Rana, Headley and many others related to the case, which were shown as evidences by the defence and federal attorneys during the trial that lasted more than two weeks.
During the closing arguments, the government attorney accused Rana of complicity with Headley.
Headley has pleaded guilty and has been spared the death penalty in exchange for his testimony against Rana.
The defence attorney, however, again attempted to paint Headley, the government’s star witness, as a duplicitous friend and serial liar. Hindu