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Libyan gets 22 years for attacks on US consulate in Benghazi

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Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 11:38:17-04

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Libyan man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the deadly September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Federal Judge Christopher Cooper announced the sentence Wednesday in Washington. In November 2017, a jury convicted 47-year-old Ahmed Abu Khattala on multiple terrorism-related charges but found him not guilty of murder.

Prosecutors accused Abu Khattala of heading an extremist militia and directing the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and information officer Sean Smith. But prosecutors also acknowledged they lacked evidence of Abu Khattala firing any weapons. The government's case against him relied heavily on the testimony of informants.

Doherty, 42, lived in Encinitas, while the 41-year-old Woods was a resident of Imperial Beach. Both men were reportedly in Libya as security contractors.

Smith, 34, grew up in Clairemont and was a graduate of Mission Bay High School. He was in Libya as part of his role with the U.S. Foreign Service.

Smith’s mother, Pat, has been outspoken in her criticism of the federal government for their handling of the 2012 attack.

Pat Smith has blamed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her son’s death. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2016 against the former presidential candidate.

Defense attorneys argued that the evidence was inconclusive and that Abu Khattala was being singled out simply because of his ultra-conservative Muslim beliefs.