The Justice Department has dropped charges against the arms dealer who allegedly sold weapons to Libyan rebels and threatened to expose Hillary Clinton’s alleged dealings. The trial was scheduled to begin on November 8th — Election Day.
Lawyers for the arms dealer, Marc Turi, claimed the weapons shipments were part of a U.S. government-sanctioned initiative to arm Libyan rebels fighting then-Libyan President Moammar Qadhafi.
No trial means Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, and President Barack Obama will not face additional scrutiny about any roles they may have played in the alleged efforts to arm rebels in Libya. Facing a new scandal — or even the appearance of a scandal — so close to the election would likely have been extremely challenging for Clinton.
One of Turi’s associates told Politico that the government’s decision to drop the case is all about protecting Clinton and Obama:
A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants.
“They don’t want this stuff to come out because it will look really bad for Obama and Clinton just before the election,” said the associate.
Turi did not allege that the weapons sold to Libyan rebels ended up in the hands of Ansar al-Sharia, the terrorist group responsible for the Benghazi attacks.
Prosecutors do admit “discovery rulings” made in the case influenced the decision to drop the charges against Turi. The motion to dismiss the case includes asks U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell to approve a confidential agreement to resolve the case.
Turi’s defense team was apparently requesting more documents concerning the alleged effort to arm Libyan rebels from officials at the State Department and the CIA before the case was dropped.
In a previous interview on Fox Business, Turi said when weapons were transported to Libya, “half went one way and the half went the other way.” One of those halves ended up in war-torn Syria, he claimed.
In 2013, Clinton testified before Congress that she was not aware of any plan to transfer weapons to Syria by transporting them through Libya and Turkey.
But during a 2015 hearing, one of Turi’s defense attorneys argued “the Secretary of State and her highest staff members were actively contemplating providing exactly the type of military assistance that Mr. Turi is here to answer for.”
Further, veteran CIA officer David Manners backed up the allegation in a sworn declaration to the District Court of Arizona:
“It was then, and remains now, my opinion that the United States did participate, directly or indirectly, in the supply of weapons to the Libyan Transitional National Council.”
Under the deal with the government, Turi admits no guilt and avoids a $200,000 civil penalty if he doesn’t violate the terms. However, he also agreed not to engage in U.S. arms dealing for four years.
One of Turi’s advisers, Robert Stryk told Politico that the years-long ordeal has turned the man’s life upside down. He also asserted there is an effort to shield Clinton.
“The U.S. government spent millions of dollars, went all over the world to bankrupt him, and destroyed his life — all to protect Hillary Clinton’s crimes,” Stryk said.