U.S. News

U.S. suspect in Mumbai attacks to change plea

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The American charged with scouting targets for the 2008 assault on Mumbai that killed more than 160 people will plead guilty this week, court records showed on Thursday.

David Headley, 49, has been cooperating with U.S. investigators since his arrest in October and has been held without bond.

In a court filing, a change of plea hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Headley faces two sets of charges and the documents did not specify which were involved in his plea change. His attorney was not immediately available for comment.

He previously pleaded not guilty to charges of providing material support to terrorism and conspiracy to bomb public places in India. Headley, who has close ties to Pakistan, had also pleaded not guilty to charges he was plotting to attack a Danish newspaper for publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad, which offended many Muslims.

Prosecutors said Headley made several scouting trips to India and to Denmark, using an immigration business as cover for his travels.

He then passed on information to his contacts with the Muslim militant group Laskar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, according to court documents. Two Pakistanis have also been charged in the U.S. case, but are not in custody.

The owner of the immigration business, Pakistani-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, 49, has pleaded not guilty to similar charges and is being held.

India suspended a 4-year-old peace process with old rival Pakistan after the November 2008 attack on Mumbai by 10 Islamist militants that killed 166 people. India has demanded action against Pakistani-based militants, but has signaled it is ready for a new round of talks.

Headley’s case number is 09-CR-830.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Cynthia Osterman