WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal court said on Tuesday it was dismissing a lawsuit against the crown prince of Saudi Arabia over the murder of a Saudi columnist who lived in Virginia after the State Department determined that the prince has immunity as a head of state or government.
The suit filed by Hatice Cengiz, the fiancé of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, named Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanPrince Mohammed bin Salman as the most prominent defendant. Mr. Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents while visiting Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul in 2018 to get documents for his upcoming wedding.
Prince Mohammed's father, King Salman, made him the prime minister of Saudi Arabia in September. The king's role as ruler was formalized, though the king remains the head of state.
The king appeared to make the decision to make sure that the prince had immunity in the case, according to some U.S. officials and analysts. King Salman made an announcement six days before the October deadline for the U.S. government to make a decision on whether Prince Mohammed had immunity. Soon after receiving his new title, the prince told the court he had immunity based on legal precedent.