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Benghazi suspect pleads not guilty

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Armed US marshals man the streets outside the federal courthouse in Washington where Ahmed Abu Khattala appeared in court (AP)

Armed US marshals man the streets outside the federal courthouse in Washington where Ahmed Abu Khattala appeared in court (AP)

Armed US marshals man the streets outside the federal courthouse in Washington where Ahmed Abu Khattala appeared in court (AP)

A Libyan militant has pleaded not guilty to charges arising from the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including US ambassador Chris Stevens.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, 43, entered the plea through his lawyer in a 15-minute court proceeding before a federal judge.

An 18-count grand jury indictment handed up last week makes Abu Khattala eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Abu Khattala's lawyer, federal public defender Michelle Peterson, said she is waiting for the justice department to turn over additional material - much of it classified - on the charges her client faces. The next court date in the case was set for December 9.

Abu Khattala's lawyer has said previously that the government has failed to show he was connected to the attacks.

The charges against him include murder of an internationally protected person, murder of an officer and employee of the United States and killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility.

Abu Khattala is the first militant to be prosecuted for the Benghazi attacks.

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The September 11 2012 attack by militants killed Mr Stevens and communications specialist Sean Smith and set the mission ablaze.

Nearly eight hours later at a CIA complex nearby, two more Americans, contract security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in a mortar attack that showed clear military training, retired general Carter Ham told Congress in closed-door evidence earlier this year.

The administration apprehended Abu Khattala in June and brought him to the United States to stand trial on terrorism charges.


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