Benghazi suspect denounced US presence in Libya, prosecutors say

Federal prosecutors say the suspected ringleader in the 2012 Benghazi attacks voiced “concern and opposition to the presence of an American facility in Benghazi” days before the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.

The court papers, filed Tuesday night, do not elaborate on how Ahmed Abu Khattala communicated this concern or whether U.S. officials were aware of it at the time.

In arguing that Abu Khattala should remain in detention before his trial, prosecutors said that “after his capture, the defendant gave voluntary statements corroborating key facts.”

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The filing emphasizes Abu Khattala’s danger to the United States, saying he is “fully committed to causing death and destruction to American personnel and property.”

The document says Abu Khattala “has extensive contacts with senior-level members of extremist groups throughout Libya.” It does not mention connections to any groups outside Libya. The extent of the connections between the Benghazi attackers and international terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda has been a matter of debate.

While the U.S. says there were no shots fired in the commando raid that captured Abu Khattala last month, the document says that he had a “loaded firearm” at the time of his capture.

Abu Khattala is scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge Wednesday morning to decide whether he should remain in custody.

Abu Khattala made his first court appearance Saturday, when he pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy charge of providing material support to terrorists in the deadly attacks.

Peter Sullivan contributed to this report, which was originally published at 12:18 a.m. and last updated at 7:41 a.m.