WASHINGTON – The Latest on the trial of the suspected mastermind of the 2012 Benghazi attacks (all times local):
A diplomatic security agent says that after militants stormed the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, he turned to ambassador Chris Stevens and said, "When I die, you need to pick up my gun and keep fighting."
The agent, Scott Wickland, lived to tell the harrowing tale of how he tried to save the ambassador who died along with three other Americans in the 2012 attack. He gave an impassioned account of crawling on his belly through choking black smoke, trying to get Stevens to safety.
Wickland was the government's first witness Monday in a trial for the suspected mastermind of the attacks.
During the testimony, the defendant, Ahmed Abu Khattala, listened through headphones to an Arabic translation and rubbed his long, white beard. Wickland has not testified about what role Abu Khattala might have played in the attack, but he is expected to be on the stand again Tuesday.
The trial for the suspected mastermind of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks has begun in a federal courtroom in Washington
The trial comes three years after Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured by U.S. special forces in Libya and brought to the U.S. on a 13-day trip aboard a Navy ship.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb says Abu Khattala "hates America with a vengeance." Crabb told the jury that the defendant's "hatred simmered until it boiled over" and he organized the attack on the American diplomatic outpost.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed along with Sean Patrick Smith, a State Department information management officer. Nearly eight hours later at a CIA complex nearby, two more Americans, contract security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in a mortar attack.
A trial of the suspected mastermind of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks is unfolding in a federal courtroom in Washington.
Opening statements will take place Monday, three years after Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured in Libya and brought to the U.S. on a 13-day trip aboard a Navy ship.
Four Americans were killed in the attacks, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Prosecutors say the attacks aimed at killing personnel and plundering maps, documents and other property from the post.
The attacks became a political flashpoint given its timing weeks before President Barack Obama's re-election.
The Abu Khattala trial is one of the most significant terrorism prosecutions in recent years in a civilian court. The Trump administration has said terror suspects are better sent to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.