Benghazi suspect arraigned; trial will be in DC

The suspected leader of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was arraigned on Saturday in a Washington, D.C., federal courtroom.

The suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala, pleaded not guilty, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. The indictment unsealed on Saturday accuses Khattala of providing material support to terrorists resulting in death; a press release announced the arraignment. Additional charges are expected, the stories say.

Killed in the attack were Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others.

Khattala was represented by a public defender at the arraignment. A law enforcement official told the Times that Khattala was given a Miranda warning before he left the Navy warship where he was held for two weeks after his capture near Benghazi. The official said Khattala cooperated during questioning amid the warship, but he may not be disclosing important information.

PBS Newshour spoke with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt about the decision to try Khattala in Washington, D.C.

Typically, terrorism trials here are held in New York City or Alexandria, Virginia, Schmidt told PBS. “There’s a real advantage to having them in New York,” Schmidt said, “because the jail is actually connected to the courthouse by a tunnel. So you don’t have to move the suspect every time in a car that he has to appear in court. We saw that yesterday when the hearing was over, a big motorcade came flying right out of the courthouse, the streets were shut down, sirens were blasting, there were men in bulletproof vests and machine guns on the street. So that is something we’ll probably see every day that that suspect has to be moved back and forth here.”

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Claimed leader in Benghazi slaying of US ambassador is captured, will be tried here”

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