JUST IN: Federal Judge Makes Landmark Benghazi Ruling

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: The late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens is remembered during the presentation ceremony of the Common Ground Awards at the Carnegie Institution for Science November 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Search for Common Ground held a ceremony to present the award in honor of the late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A federal judge ruled over the weekend that jurors cannot hear evidence which would suggest Libyan militia leader accused of planning the September 11 Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had plotted to kill one of his successors, according to POLITICO.

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper ruled the jury could not hear evidence that Ahmed Abu Khattala, scheduled to go on trial later this month in Washington, spoke with an associate about killing Stevens’ successor in response to U.S. 2012 seizure of a fellow militant.

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Cooper also barred prosecutors from presenting evidence that Khattala instructed confederates to kill an American teacher in Libya. The judge said such evidence could lead jurors to consider whether Khattala is the kind of person who would do something like spearhead the 2012 attack, rather than what proof links him to that assault, which also killed diplomat Sean Smith and CIA security contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

“Evidence that the defendant urged his men to kill all Americans in Benghazi or to kill the next American ambassador to Libya are of heightened prejudicial risk because their similarity to the charged crimes could lead the jury to engage in impermissible propensity reasoning,” Cooper wrote in an order dated Thursday. “Since these acts appear to have occurred well after the attack and after the charged conspiracy ended they do little to illuminate the formation and contours of the conspiracy.”

Khattala was captured during a raid in 2014 and faces four murder charges in Washington, in addition to other related charges.

The max sentencing possible for Khattala is life in prison.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch made the announcement last year that the DOJ would not seek the death penalty.

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