Key Benghazi Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

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Ahmed Abu Khattala has reportedly entered a plea of not guilty for his suspect role in the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. In case you forgot, Bloomberg reminded us of this detail:

The proceeding, occurring a few blocks away from the U.S. Capitol, lasted 15 minutes.

Legal experts have already expressed their concerns that Khattala's case is one of the most complicated terror trials in recent history. 

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According to officials, Ahmed Abu Khattala, the captured Libyan militia commander who is believed to have played a key role in the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, landed in Washington, D.C. earlier this morning.

After being captured two weeks ago by U.S. special forces in Libya, Khattala spent several days on a Navy ship crossing the Atlantic, during which he was interrogated about his role in the attack that killed four Americans. During that time, the ship (the USS New York) reportedly "went dark" to guard the ship's location.

Khattala will be tried in a federal court on criminal charges that were filed last year.

The prospects of Khattala being tried in Washington, D.C. has raised some eyebrows. Earlier this week, the Times broke down why the federal court in D.C. is a curious venue.

Nearly all the high-profile terrorists tried in federal court since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have been tried in New York or Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington. The New York courthouse is connected directly to jails where the defendants are typically held, making it far easier to transport them for court appearances.

The Washington courthouse is not connected to a jail, so every time Mr. Abu Khattala has to appear in court the government will have to move him with armed guards in armored vehicles."

More than these logistical concerns is the worry that the attorney's office in Washington, D.C. doesn't have the same experience in prosecuting complicated terrorism cases than their peers in Alexandria and New York. According to one official, the Justice Department will be "closely scrutinizing” the Justice Department movements as the prosecution moves forward.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.