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Libyan Involved In Benghazi Attack Convicted Of Terrorism Charges



ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A Washington, D.C., jury delivered a outcome currently opposite a initial male to mount hearing in a lethal conflict on U.S. comforts in Benghazi, Libya. The sovereign jury convicted Ahmed Abu Khattala on terrorism charges. But it clear him of a many critical charges, including murder. Four Americans, including a U.S. envoy to Libya, died in that 2012 attack. And with us to speak about this box is NPR probity contributor Ryan Lucas. And first, Ryan, tell us some-more about this churned verdict.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Well, Abu Khattala is a Libyan national. And he faced 18 depends in all over his purported role. And a outcome handed down currently was – as we kind of mentioned, was a churned bag for prosecutors. He was found guilty of element support to terrorism, of destroying skill and of regulating a semiautomatic arms during a aroused crime. But as we remarkable – and this is poignant here – Abu Khattala was found not guilty on a many critical charges opposite him, including a murders of a U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and 3 other Americans who were killed during a conflict in Benghazi.

Now, still, on a depends he was convicted on, Abu Khattala faces poignant jail time. He’s not going to be roaming a streets or anything. Sentencing is still to be decided. That is going to come in a entrance months. But we’ll wait and hear what that’s going to be.

SIEGEL: What box did a supervision benefaction opposite Abu Khattala?

LUCAS: Well, supervision prosecutors portrayed him as a male with a blazing loathing for a U.S. They pronounced that he noticed it as a means of a world’s problems. And they pronounced that in Sep 2012, he took movement on that. They pronounced that he orchestrated a organisation of armed group to charge a U.S. tactful devalue in Benghazi. One Libyan declare in a hearing pronounced that Abu Khattala told him that he wanted to kill all Americans a night of a attack.

Now, in their shutting arguments, supervision attorneys called Abu Khattala a stone-cold terrorist. They pronounced he was committed to a immoderate agenda. But – and this is critical – they acknowledge that he hadn’t indispensably dismissed any shots. But they pronounced that he was still guilty. In a shutting arguments – and this is a quote – one of a prosecutors said, “you have not listened he illuminated a compare or dismissed a mortar.” It doesn’t matter. They pronounced he was guilty since he was a co-conspirator. He was an orchestrator of a violence.

Now, in their case, prosecutors used phone records, worker videos. Jurors also listened from State Department officials. There was relocating testimony from them. There were stream CIA officials who dressed in disguise. There were wigs and mustaches. They supposing testimony. And there was also testimony from 3 Libyans, including a male who went by a name of Ali who was paid $7 million for his role. He befriended Abu Khattala and helped to captivate him to a villa outward of Benghazi when he was prisoner by U.S. army there.

SIEGEL: This was a box opposite Abu Khattala. What about what a invulnerability pronounced to opposite a government’s case?

LUCAS: Well, they pronounced that a charge was perplexing to demonize him and make him guilty by association. They pronounced that they – that a charge wanted jurors to hatred him adequate that they would negligence a holes in a justification that was presented. They pronounced that a supervision didn’t have any plain justification restraining him to a attacks. And so they were kind of personification on a jurors’ emotions. They pronounced that there was no justification that he was a designer of anything, positively not adequate to put him there on a night of a attack. And they indicted a supervision of kind of creation unjust arguments – articulate about a ambassador, a men, a arrange of jingoism appeals to American patriotism. And afterwards many importantly, they pronounced that informants couldn’t be devoted since they were paid outrageous sums of income to contend what a Justice Department wanted them to.

SIEGEL: And only really quickly – some-more trials to come in a Benghazi case?

LUCAS: Yes. There’s a male by a name of Mustafa al-Imam who was picked adult by U.S. army in Libya in late-October. He is now in D.C. and is going to face hearing for a Benghazi conflict as a second individual.

SIEGEL: OK. NPR’s Ryan Lucas, thanks.

LUCAS: Thank you.

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