UK’s Johnson says he and Biden ‘working together’ in Harry Dunn case

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and US President Joe Biden, wearing face coverings due to Covid-19, view documents relating to the Atlantic Charter prior to a bi-lateral meeting at Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 10, 2021, ahead of the three-day G7 summit being held from 11-13 June. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that he’s working with President Biden to help resolve a diplomatic dispute tied to the 2019 death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn.

In an interview with BBC News, Johnson said he and Biden are working together, though there are limits to “what the executive can do.”

“I think the difficulty is that there are limits to what the executive can do with the legal — with the judiciary and the legal system. But, both sides are working together,” Johnson said.

Dunn was killed in August 2019 after Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, fatally struck him while she was driving on the wrong side of the road. Dunn was riding his motorcycle at the time.

Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to the United States.

Several months after the crash, she was charged in the U.K. over Dunn’s death. The U.S. State Department decided not to grant the U.K. government’s request to extradite her.

In November 2020, the High Court of London ruled that Sacoolas had immunity at the time of the crash.

Johnson told the BBC that Biden is “actively engaged in the case,” adding that the president has his own reasons for feeling strongly about the incident.

Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and daughter Naomi died in a car cash in 1972.

“He was extremely sympathetic. But this is not something that either government can control very easily because there are legal processes that are still going on,” Johnson said. “But he did express a great deal of sympathy.”

Dunn’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Sacoolas in September 2020 in a Virginia federal court. A judge ruled in February that the case could move forward.

In a statement to The Hill on Friday, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said: “Since the tragic accident occurred, the United States has been closely engaged with the UK government, and we have been transparent about our positions on legal and diplomatic matters concerning this accident.”

“We do not have further comment on these judicial proceedings,” the spokesperson added.

Updated at 2:21 p.m.

Tags Anne Sacoolas Boris Johnson car crash diplomat diplomatic immunity Extradition Harry Dunn Joe Biden

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