Saudi's MBS granted legal immunity in murder lawsuit

STORY: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived at a summit of world leaders in Thailand on Friday.

His first-class welcome underscoring his comfort among his peers despite his alleged involvement in the brutal killing of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist.

Any lingering worry he might have felt likely lifted after the White House said the prince, known as MBS, had immunity in a civil lawsuit filed by the former fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

The decision by the Biden administration granting MBS immunity drew immediate condemnation from Kashoggi's former fiancé Hatice Cengiz, who tweeted, "We thought maybe there would be a light to justice from #USA But again, money came first."

The Washington Post journalist had criticized the crown prince's policies. He was killed by Saudi government agents, an operation U.S. intelligence believed was ordered by MBS, the de facto ruler of the kingdom.

Riyadh said the operation was conducted by “rogue” elements, and that MBS was not involved.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said in a written statement the immunity decision was a -quote "legal determination made by the State Department under longstanding and well-established principles of customary international law."

Justice Department lawyers said the executive branch of U.S. government, referring to the Biden Administration, had determined that as a head of state of a foreign government, bin Salman has immunity from U.S. courts.

The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.