Benghazi suspect returns to U.S. court under heavy security
Monday, July 07, 2014 - 00:51
The Libyan militant accused of involvement in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya arrives at a federal courthouse in Washington to face criminal charges. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
The Libyan militant accused of involvement in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya arrived under heavy security at a federal courthouse in Washington on Tuesday (July 8) to face additional criminal charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson had ordered the suspect, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, to remain in U.S. custody after his lawyers raised no objections to a request from federal prosecutors that Khatallah be held because he has no ties to the United States and posed a "serious danger" to others.
Khatallah was captured on June 15 by a U.S. military and FBI team and transported to the country via U.S. Navy ship. He faces criminal charges over his alleged participation in the attack on the compound in Benghazi that led to the death of four Americans.
He pleaded not guilty to a terrorism conspiracy charge on Saturday (July 5).
Last Wednesday (July 2), his attorney, public defender Michelle Peterson, said prosecutors had yet to provide any evidence of Khatallah's involvement in the attacks.
Peterson said the government has referred to "twenty armed individuals breaching" the compound in Benghazi but that there was "no suggestion" Khatallah was among them.
In a filing last week, the U.S. Attorney's office in the District of Columbia identified Khatallah as a senior leader of an extremist anti-Western militia, Ansar Al Sharia.
Khatallah entered the American compound after initial attackers broke through, and "supervised the exploitation of material from the scene," prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors also said in the filing that they had numerous witnesses and physical evidence to support their case, and that Khatallah gave "voluntary statements corroborating key facts," after his capture.
It was not immediately clear how soon he will face trial.
Reuters reported last week that Khatallah has been talking to U.S. interrogators both before and after he was advised of his right under U.S. law to remain silent, and is being held in Alexandria.
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