How the legal process may unfold in Benghazi case

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How the legal process may unfold in Benghazi case
FILE - This undated file image obtained from Facebook shows Ahmed Abu Khattala, an alleged leader of the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, who was captured by U.S. special forces on Sunday, June 15, 2014, on the outskirts of Benghazi. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said Saturday, June 28, 2014 that Khattala is in federal law enforcement custody. There is heightened security at Washington’s federal courthouse. (AP Photo, File)
RETRANSMISSION FOR ALTERNATE CROP: This artist's rendering shows United States Magistrate, Judge John Facciola, swearing in the defendant, Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, wearing a headphone, as his attorney Michelle Peterson looks on during a hearing at the federal U.S. District Court in Washington, Saturday, June 28, 2014. The hearing of the Libyan accused of masterminding deadly Benghazi attacks, lasted ten minutes; he pled not guilty to conspiracy Saturday at his first appearance in U.S. court. (AP Photo/Dana Verkouteren)
U.S. Marshalls move outside the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after security was heightened in anticipation of a possible court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala later in the day. Khatallah is one of the men accused in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy in Libya. He faces criminal charges in the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiLorenzo, center, lead prosecutor in the federal case against Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, accused of masterminding the deadly Benghazi attacks, enters the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, with his team. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
U.S. Marshalls guard the area outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after security was heightened in anticipation of a possible court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala later in the day. Khatallah is one of the men accused in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy in Libya. He faces criminal charges in the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
U.S. Marshalls move outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after security at the court was heightened in anticipation of a possible court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala later in the day. Khatallah is one of the men accused in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy in Libya. He faces criminal charges in the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The motorcade transporting the Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, charged in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy in Lybia, leaves the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after Khattala pleaded not guilty to conspiracy at his first appearance in court in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The motorcade transporting the Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, accused of masterminding the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy, leaves the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after Khattala pleaded not guilty to conspiracy at his first court appearance in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A U.S. Marshall stands guard outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after security outside the court was heightened in anticipation of a possible court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala later in the day. Khatallah is one of the men accused in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy in Libya. He faces criminal charges in the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The motorcade transporting the Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, charged in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy, leaves the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after Khattala pleaded not guilty to conspiracy at his first appearance in federal court in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The motorcade transporting the Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, charged in the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy, leaves the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after Khattala pleaded not guilty to conspiracy at his first appearance in court in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 02: U.S. Marshals patrol the outside of the Prettyman Federal Court Court where Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the suspected ringleaders of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, is being held before his pretrial detention hearing July 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. Abu Khattala was seized June 15 in Libya by U.S. Special Operations forces, 21 months after U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed during an attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 02: U.S. Marshals patrol the outside of the Prettyman Federal Court Building where Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the suspected ringleaders of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, is being held before his pretrial detention hearing July 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. Abu Khattala was seized June 15 in Libya by U.S. Special Operations forces, 21 months after U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed during an attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) talks to reporters after the Senate Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol June 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Reid congratulated the members of the U.S. military who captured Ahmed Abu Khattala who was wanted for involvement in the 2011 attack that killed Ambasador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) talks to reporters after the Senate Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol June 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Reid congratulated the members of the U.S. military who captured Ahmed Abu Khattala who was wanted for involvement in the 2011 attack that killed Ambasador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiLorenzo, right, lead prosecutor in the federal case against Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, who stands accused of masterminding the deadly Benghazi attacks, enters the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
US Marshals patrol the area outside federal court in Washington, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, where Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, charged in the deadly attack at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, is being held for a detention hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiLorenzo, left, lead prosecutor in the federal case against Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, accused of masterminding the deadly Benghazi attacks, leaves the federal court in Washington, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Khattala faced a court appearance where federal prosecutors will argue why he should remain in detention. The hearing for Ahmed Abu Khattala is before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The motorcade transporting the Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala, accused of masterminding the deadly Benghazi attack at the U.S. embassy, leaves the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, after pleading not guilty to conspiracy at his first appearance in court in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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A look at how the legal process may play out in the case against Ahmed Abu Khattala. The Libyan militant faces criminal charges connected to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans from the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. An initial court appearance at the federal courthouse in the nation's capital took place Saturday:

Q: What happened at that court hearing?

A: Abu Khattala pleaded not guilty during a 10-minute appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola. Wearing a two-piece black track suit and keeping his hands behind his back, the defendant wore headphones to listen to a translation of the proceedings. Abu Khattala spoke just two words during the hearing, both in Arabic. He replied "yes" when asked to swear to tell the truth and "no" when asked if he was having trouble understanding the proceeding. Facciola ordered the defendant's continued detention.

Q: Who is representing Abu Khattala?

A: A lawyer from the federal public defender's office appeared alongside Abu Khattala.

Q: What is the next step in the legal process?

A: Minutes after Abu Khattala entered his plea, the Justice Department unsealed a two-page grand jury indictment charging him with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death. Attorney General Eric Holder has said Abu Khattala could face additional charges and that federal authorities are working to identify, locate and prosecute additional co-conspirators. The case is in the hands of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington and the Justice Department's National Security Division.

Q: What has been the reaction to the criminal proceedings?

A: The Obama administration supports prosecuting Abu Khattala and other suspected terrorists in American courts, a judicial system that government officials believe is fairer and more efficient than the military tribunal process at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But some Republican critics are already raising concerns about the prosecution. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., issued a statement saying "critical intelligence" could be lost in the process of turning Abu Khattala over to the American justice system.

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