- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Benghazi terrorist suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala will remain in federal custody after his defense conceded it was the current best course of action during a hearing Wednesday.

Defense attorney Michelle Peterson maintained Mr. Khattala’s innocence but said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in the District that her client is a foreign national with no community ties to the U.S. and it would be best for him to remain in federal custody for the time being instead of being released on his own.

Ms. Peterson did, however, say her legal team was reserving the right to protest the detention in the future.

She argued that the U.S. government had shown “an utter lack of evidence of Mr. Khattala’s involvement in the attack in Benghazi” and accused federal prosecutors of withholding evidence under the guise of national security.

“It’s incredibly difficult for us to defend Mr. Khattala against the charges against him when there has been no evidence presented,” she said.

Mr. Khattala, accused of participating in the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks that killed four U.S. embassy personnel, sat motionless for much of the hearing and did not speak.

Federal prosecutors have argued that Mr. Khattala was an active participant in the attacks and a member of an extremist organization.

So far, Mr. Khattala has only been charged with aiding terrorism. Despite legal speculation that more charges would be presented in court Wednesday, prosecutors did not unveil any additional offenses.

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