The Moscow City Court has opened preliminary hearings on the 2004 killing of American journalist Paul Klebnikov.

Court officials say Tuesday's proceedings are closed to the public and focus on whether the case will be considered by a jury or a judge.

Russian authorities say Mr. Klebnikov, who was editor of the Russian edition of the U.S. financial magazine Forbes, was killed by ethnic Chechens. They say the men killed him on orders from another ethnic Chechen.

Russian investigators believe the shooting may be connected to Mr. Klebnikov's writings.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Monday the United States expects all those implicated in the killing to be tried and punished appropriately. He says Russia's handling of the case will send a message that those who threaten journalists will be held accountable.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.