Trump administration considering legal immunity for Saudi crown prince

The Trump administration is considering granting legal immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) from a federal lawsuit in an alleged assassination plot. The lawsuit was registered against MBS by Saad Aljabri for allegedly sending a team of agents to kill him.  

Aljabri was a former top aide in the Saudi Interior Ministry and is now residing in Canada. He was fired from his position in 2015 shortly before the then crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef was ousted from his rank by MBS to become the second in line to the throne. He had fled the country in 2017. 

Aljabri in August publicly accused the crown prince of sending a team of agents to Canada to kill him. In his lawsuit to the DC district court, he said that the same team of assassins that had murdered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was sent to kill him as well.  

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Granting legal immunity to MBS has dire consequences to other cases that are pending against him as well. Most notably the Khashoggi murder, a Saudi dissident who was working as a columnist for the Washington Post.  

The CIA had already concluded in 2018 that MBS was involved in Khashoggi’s murder. The journalist had been very critical of the crown prince’s policies in the kingdom. 

Granting immunity would mean that the crown prince would now have a legal basis to dismiss these cases against him. 

The administration had sent questionnaires to Aljabri’s legal team to help high level officials there decide whether it should recommend immunity for the MBS to the Department of Justice. The questions ask for details about his allegations of the crown prince’s alleged plot to murder him. 

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Aljabri’s legal team had already been sent questionnaires this month by the administration. The questionnaire of which a copy was given to CNN from a source close to Aljabri says it was to “help high-level officials” there decide whether to advise the Department of Justice in granting immunity to MBS. 

It is uncertain if the administration would reach a decision before the end of Trump’s term, who has been publicly supportive of the crown prince, in January or even if it would grant immunity to MBS. 

President-elect Joe Biden had been very critical of Saudi Arabia, and he had vowed to end support for Saudi’s war on Yemen. 

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