In a federal courtroom Thursday, prosecutors asked jurors to convict the “stone-cold terrorist” who hated Americans enough to orchestrate a deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
The case against the Libyan militia leader accused of being the mastermind behind the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi came to a close Thursday after an eight-week trial.
And it seems Ahmed Abu Khattala was not triggered by a video, as the Obama administration had maintained, but by a hatred of Americans and their presence in his country.
“The defendant is guilty as sin. He is a stone-cold terrorist,” federal prosecutor, Julieanne Himelstein, said according to the Los Angeles Times.
Khatallah, who was captured in 2014, faced a trial on 18 counts, including murder and providing aid to terrorists in the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. State Department information management officer Sean Smith was killed, along with Stevens, when the diplomatic compound was set on fire. Security officers and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died in another attack on a nearby CIA-run compound.
The Obama administration, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made a calculated attempt to play down terrorism as the reason for the attack, instead claiming an anti-Muslim video posted on You Tube was the cause.
But federal prosecutors in closing arguments of the trial Thursday painted a clearly different picture, one that Army Ranger Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto and other survivors of the attack have maintained from the start.
Khatallah directed his “hit squad” to storm the US compound out of a rage against Americans.
He “wanted the U.S. out” and saw Americans as “the cause of all the world’s problems,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. DiLorenzo said during closing arguments, according to The Washington Times.
Himelstein called the victims “American sons” who were the target of the Islamic extremists.
“How dare you?” she said to Khatallah, whose goal was to wipe out U.S. bases he believed were being operated as spy facilities.
“That’s what he wanted, and he succeeded,” she said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Defense attorneys for Khatallah claimed he wasn’t at the compound when it was attacked and didn’t arrive there until much later, depicting him as more of a bystander in the event rather than the one orchestrating the details.
The jury is set to begin deliberations on Monday.
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