This June 28 artist's rendering shows United States Magistrate, Judge John Facciola, swearing in the defendant, Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, wearing a headphone, as his attorney Michelle Peterson watches during a hearing at the federal U.S. District Court in Washington. (Dana Verkouteren / AP)
WASHINGTON — The suspect in the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, appeared briefly in federal court Tuesday where a federal prosecutor said additional charges would be filed against him.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, delivered to the D.C. courthouse in a security-laden motorcade, said nothing during the hearing. Prosecutor Michael DiLorenzo told U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper that new charges were being prepared against the 43-year-old alleged commander in the Benghazi branch of the Ansar al-Sharia terror group.
It was the third court appearance for the bearded defendant following his dramatic June 15 capture just south of Benghazi. He earlier pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in the Benghazi attack, which resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans
Addressing the defendant, Cooper explained that the multiple court hearings before different judges were necessary, preliminary steps in the case.
“From here on out, you’re stuck with me,” Cooper told the defendant, who was dressed a green jail jumpsuit and wearing a headset that was transmitting an Arabic translation of the proceeding.
Abu Khattala is not due back in court until Sept. 9, when Cooper will review the status of the pre-trial proceedings, including how evidence is being shared with the defense.