Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz is rightly outraged about the verdict regarding a Benghazi conspirator.
Ahmed Abbu Khatallah was charged on several counts including providing materials support to terrorists, conspiracy to do so, destroying property and placing lives in jeopardy at the mission, and carrying a semiautomatic firearm during a crime of violence. However he was acquitted of 14 other counts, including murder.
The 46-year-old faces life in prison.
“I think real justice in this would be a bullet in the back of the head, frankly,” Chaffetz said, “I think their country has let them down,” speaking of Libya.
He said he called Charles Woods, father of victim Tyrone Woods, and apologized on behalf of the United States.
Chaffetz said part of the reason for the trouble in convicting Khatallah of more serious charges was the fact the FBI wasn’t allowed into Benghazi for 18 days after Susan Rice claimed the attack was predicated on a controversial film.
Khattalla reportedly did not show emotion during his trial.
The defendant, Ahmed Abu Khattala, 46, was the first person charged and prosecuted in the attacks, which took on broader significance as Republicans and conservative news outlets sought to use them to damage the presidential ambitions of Hillary Clinton, who was then the secretary of state. Yet the seven-week trial in federal court in Washington received relatively little attention from such quarters.
The mixed verdict showed the difficulty of prosecuting terrorism cases when the evidence is not clear-cut. The outcome was reminiscent of the 2010 federal trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian man and former Guantánamo Bay detainee who was charged in federal court as a conspirator in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa that killed hundreds. Mr. Ghailani was acquitted of most of the charges, including each murder count for those who died, but he was still sentenced to life in prison for a conviction on one count of conspiracy.