The Biden administration has determined that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has legal immunity from a lawsuit filed against him over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing on Thursday.
Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in an operation which U.S. intelligence believed was ordered by Prince Mohammed, who has been the kingdom’s de facto ruler for several years.
The prince has denied ordering Khashoggi’s killing but acknowledged later that it took place “under my watch.”
Biden, who fist-bumped the crown prince on a visit to Saudi Arabia in July to discuss energy and security issues, had told Prince Mohammed that he considered him responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.
Khashoggi had criticized the crown prince’s policies in Washington Post columns. He had traveled to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers he needed to marry Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish citizen.