Courts & Crime

Judge slows trial clock in complex trial of Benghazi suspect

On the eve of a scheduled Sept. 9 court hearing, federal prosecutors succeeded in getting a judge to slow the trial clock ticking for the man charged with participating in the lethal attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Citing the “complexity of this matter and the voluminous nature of the ongoing discovery process,” prosecutors going after Ahmed Abu Khatalla effectively said in a Sept. 5 filing that they needed more time before the Speedy Trial Act requirements kick in.

“Much of the evidence and witnesses relevant to the investigation are located overseas,” prosecutors noted in the Sept. 5 filing, adding that “the government has been actively reviewing the voluminous investigative and intelligence files of multiple government agencies for discovery purposes, and those files contain thousands of pages of material.”

On Sept. 8, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper agreed to put off the next hearing, and to keep the trial clocked stopped, until Oct. 20. The judge also canceled the Sept. 9 hearing.

So far, prosecutors revealed, “the government has provided the defense more than 2,500 pages of unclassified discovery, consisting of reports, documents and photographs, and nine videos. The government has also provided the defense with more than 400 pages of classified discovery and eleven videos. The videos consist of more than 45 hours of footage.”