Court Battles

Saudi crown prince asks US court to dismiss former top spy’s case against him

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An attorney for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called on an American court to throw out a case from a former top Saudi intelligence official, Reuters reported.

In the filing, the crown prince’s lawyer wrote that the court has no jurisdiction over him.

The lawsuit alleges that Crown Prince Mohammed deployed a “hit squad” to Canada, where Saad al-Jabri lives in exile. Canadian authorities foiled the alleged attempt to kill al-Jabri in October 2018, the lawsuit states.

“Regardless of its merits as literature, the Complaint fails as a legal pleading,” lawyer Michael Kellogg wrote, according to Reuters. Al-Jabri “can say whatever he wants to the newspapers but this case does not belong in federal court.”

The crown prince “is entitled to status-based immunity from any suit in U.S. court. He is also entitled to conduct-based immunity because [al-Jabri’s] claims arise from the Crown Prince’s alleged official acts,” Kellogg wrote.

Al-Jabri was an aide and confidant to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a rival to the crown prince whom he ousted in 2017, making him the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Douglas London, a former senior CIA operations officer, told CNN in August that he found the idea of an assassination attempt plausible, but said it was also possible the men in question sought to place him under surveillance.

“I don’t rule out the possibility that MBS [the crown prince] wanted to kill [al-Jabri], but it’s just as likely, if not more so, that … MBS wanted to put [al-Jabri] under observation, information from which might provide insight on his contacts and activities,” he said.

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