Key witness testifies in Newark in trial of man accused of trying to sell missiles
A crucial witness took the stand in Newark Wednesday in the trial of a British man accused of trying to sell ?shoulder-fired? missiles to a terrorist group.
Prosecutors say 69-year-old Hemant Lakhani planned to smuggle missiles into the U.S. and advised a man he thought was involved in terror on how to shoot down commercial airliners. The government called Mohammed Habib Rehman, an FBI informant who operated under the name Haji, to the stand. Haji posed as an arms buyer for the government.
Haji testified that Lakhani reached out to him approximately one month after the 9/11 attacks. Haji says Lakhani told him he was in the arms business. Prosecutors say there are dozens of tapes with Haji and Lakhani talking about shoulder-fired missiles.
The defense claims this is a case of entrapment. Lakhani?s lawyers says he was induced into the scheme by the government.
Prosecutors are expected to keep Haji on the stand for another week. Then he will be cross-examined by the defense. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks. Lakhani faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of attempting to provide material support to terror and attempting to sell arms without a license.