CHICAGO – A Chicago man admitted Thursday that he scouted out the Indian city of Mumbai for a 2008 terrorist attack that left 166 people dead and plotted an attack on a Danish newspaper over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
David Coleman Headley, a 49-year-old American citizen, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to all 12 counts he faced. Under a deal with prosecutors, Headley will not face execution if he continues to cooperate with their terrorism investigation. He could face up to life in prison and a $3 million fine when he’s sentenced. A date has not been set.
In court Thursday, Headley wore a prison-issued orange jumpsuit as a dozen federal marshals stood watch. Spectators were walked through a metal detector and women’s purses sniffed by a police dog. Headley spoke softly in a British accent when asked by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber if he was pleading guilty of his own free will.
His attorney, Robert Seeder, said after the hearing that Headley’s decision to talk was “a manifestation and example of his regret and remorse,” and wasn’t based solely on the fact that he will avoid a possible death sentence.