A Benghazi Trial Starts Today in DC

Image Ahmed Abu Khatallah

But on Monday, when the alleged mastermind behind the attack appeared in federal court, none of those Benghazi-obsessed Republicans were present. Both he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions want to keep the facility open for business.

Ahmed Abu Khattalah is the only person charged with the any crime related to the Benghazi attack.

Khatallah, who faces charges including murder and providing material support to terrorists, sat at the table wearing a white shirt and headphones that allowed him to hear an Arabic translation of the proceedings.

Khattala, who has a long, grey beard, entered the federal courtroom in Washington, DC on Monday and shook hands with members of his legal team. "We're going to the bathroom.' Within 8 meters, they disappeared".

During his opening statement, according to various reports, Crabb said Khattala was convinced the US State Department building and the Central Intelligence Agency annex in Benghazi were participating in illegal US spy operations. The man, identified only as "Ali" in court, then lured Khattalah to a Libyan beach house, where the United States military apprehended him three years ago.

Around 9:45 p.m. on September 11, Wickland said he heard chanting down the street from the mission and then calls of "Allah Akbar". He told the jury to carefully scrutinize the government's witnesses. He said other witnesses received benefits for testifying, and were enemies of Khatallah.

His trial will act as a test case for foreign suspects captured by USA commandos in combat conditions and brought back to face civil courts in the United States.

He said Abu Khattala "hates America with a vengeance". Khattalah's role in the civil war left him with enemies who would be happy to see him take the blame for the attacks on the U.S. compound, Robinson said.

Twelve jurors and three alternates assembled for the opening day of one of the most significant terrorism prosecutions in recent years. When US special forces captured Khattalah, they beat him, put a mask over his head, and gagged him. "He did not participate in the attacks", Robinson said. After several days of questioning by intelligence officers, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took over and finally told Khattalah about his rights to a lawyer and to remain silent.


There was gunfire, explosions and "bloodcurdling screams" on the radio, according to Wickland, who told the jury, "I knew we were under attack". When Khatallah arrived, a building was already on fire, Robinson said.

On Sept. 11, 2012, Scott Wickland said he was sitting by a pool in the U.S. compound when he heard shouting and then gunfire.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper issued a lengthy ruling in August that found his statements could be admitted at trial.

Crabb said the prosecution would show the jury videos of the attack site and Abu Khattala's phone records, which he said showed a spike in activity during the attacks.

They also emphasized that he cooperated with interrogators without an attorney present.

That question is clearly something that the government is anxious about.

"You and only you are the ultimate deciders of fact in this case".

Robinson sought to portray his client as low-hanging fruit-a "soft target" whom the United States picked up out of desperation to charge someone with the attack.

Abu Khattala, sporting a long grayish-white beard, appeared in court wearing a white shirt and dark trousers. Before he was captured in 2014, he was interviewed by the New York Times and other outlets with some frequency, and he denied having a role in the assault.

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