A bodyguard has revealed the last words of former U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, before his death in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012.
Agent Scott Wickland testified this week that Stevens told him, “When I die, you need to pick up my gun and keep fighting, The Associated Press reported.
Wickland was the first government witness at the trial for Ahmed Abu Khattala, a Libyan who is suspected of plotting the attack that killed Stevens and three other Americans.
Wickland said that during the attack, the weapons’ fire and explosions produced thick smoke that blinded the three. They dropped to the floor and crawled, and he said that he was trying to lead them to a bathroom where he could close the door and open a window.
Jury trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspected mastermind of the 2012 Benghazi attack, has the potential to showcase the value of prosecuting terrorism cases in American courts rather than military tribunals. https://t.co/TV3oi3hxnc pic.twitter.com/kTyyNDDwHh
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 1, 2017
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) September 27, 2017
“I was breathing through the last centimeter of air on the ground,” Wickland said. “I’m yelling, ‘Come on. We can make it. We’re going to the bathroom.’ Within 8 meters, they disappeared.”
But, he said, they disappeared after that.
“To this day, I don’t even know where they went. I was right next to them, and then that’s it,” Wickland said. “I had my hand on Ambassador Stevens. I could hear Sean shuffling.”
Abu Khattala is being tried in a U.S. district court, a civilian court.
In a statement, defense attorney Jeffrey Robinson described Abu Khattala as a “Libyan patriot” who fought to topple the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
“He didn’t shoot anyone. He didn’t set any fires. He did not participate in the attacks,” Robinson said.
But prosecutor John Crabb said he is “just as guilty” for planning the attack, setting it in motion, and encouraging others to “do his dirty work,” CNN reported. Crabb said that the suspect “hates Americans with a vengeance.”
— ᗷᗩᔕEᗪ ᑭᖇIᔕ ? (@passionatechica) September 8, 2017
He faces 18 charges related to the violence that began Sept. 11, 2012, which includes murder of an internationally protected person, providing material support to terrorists, and destroying U.S. property.
“Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens choked to death by thick black smoke. Sean Smith choked to death by thick black smoke. Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were ‘blown apart by mortar fire,’ ” Crabb added.