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Jury deadlocked over murder charges for Benghazi terrorist over 2012 attack that killed 4 Americans

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)
June 13, 2019

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

A second militant was convicted Thursday after the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador. But the jury remains deadlocked over several of the charges, including murder and attempted murder.

Mustafa al-Imam, 47, was found guilty of two of 17 counts, which were “conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and maliciously destroying government property,” the Washington Post first broke.

However, the jury delivered a partial verdict and was deadlocked on the 15 other counts, which include murder and attempted murder, the Post reported.

The 2012 attacks killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith; and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both former Navy SEALs.

The jurors must continue deliberating, district judge Christopher “Casey” Cooper told them, the Post noted.

No further updates on the other charges were yet available.

One year ago, in June 2018, a Libyan militant leader who had been convicted for his role in the deadly attacks was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Wednesday.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, 47, was convicted on charges that included conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists. However, he was not convicted of murder charges; a jury acquitted him and found him not guilty of murder and attempted murder charges back in November 2017.

The defense had asked for 15 years while prosecutors wanted a life sentence.

Cooper had considered Khattala’s role as ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks when handing down his sentence.

The jury acquitted Khattala of 14 of the 18 charges he faced after the jury deliberated for five days following a seven-week trial. The federal trial for Khattala had started in October 2017.

On Sept. 11, 2012, at around 9:40 p.m. local time, a large number of armed men attacked the government compound in Benghazi. Stevens and Smith died from smoke inhalation, while Woods and Doherty were killed by two separate mortar rounds that hit their position at the CIA annex.

The Benghazi attack was initially thought to be a response from an angry mob in retaliation of a recently released anti-Muslim video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” However, it was later deemed to be a terrorist attack.

A report released last year revealed that the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to protect the American diplomats.

The 800-page report revealed that in the months leading up to the attack, there was worsening security in Libya, poor bureaucratic leadership and inadequate resources. The report showed Clinton and the State Department’s inadequacy to protect the Libyan diplomatic outpost. The report also revealed that the CIA missed the threat and wrote faulty intelligence after the attack.

Clinton told a U.S. House committee that she was aware of the dangers in Libya but “there was no actionable intelligence” indicating a planned terrorist attack. The report showed that intelligence was available, but Clinton and her top aide, Patrick Kennedy, failed to realize the risk of a potential attack.

The 800 page report took more than 2 years to investigate and complete.