• By The Financial District

TRUMP CONSIDERING IMMUNITY FOR SAUDI CROWN PRINCE

The Trump administration is considering granting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman legal immunity from a federal lawsuit alleging that he ordered an assassination squad to kill a former top Saudi intelligence official who shared information with the US, according to sources familiar with the situation, Kylie Atwood reported for CNN.

Saad Aljabri alleges in his lawsuit in DC District Court that the Saudi prince sent members of the same assassination squad that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Canada, where Aljabri now lives in exile, to target him as well.


The State Department sent a series of questions to Aljabri's legal team this month to "help high-level officials" there decide whether to advise the Department of Justice to grant the crown prince immunity, according to the questionnaire, which was provided to CNN for review from a source close to Aljabri.


It is common for the US to grant sovereign immunity for sitting heads of state and even foreign government officials, a step that is often justified as necessary under international law. Immunity is waived from time to time, however, particularly if US policy is to put pressure on a foreign government.


In 2003, the US had a lawsuit in US federal court dismissed against then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who was being taken to court over accusations of torture and genocide, on the grounds that a head of state is immune to prosecution.


It is also normal practice for the State Department to consult with key players and outside agencies before it provides the Department of Justice with a recommendation as to whether it should grant immunity, legal experts said.



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