Saudi Arabia asked a US judge on Tuesday to dismiss 25 lawsuits alleging that it helped plan the 11 September terror attacks.
Fifteen of the 19 Al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudi, but Riyadh denies any ties to the plotters who killed nearly 3,000 people.
Saudi Arabia is being sued for billions of dollars by families of the victims killed and injured in the attacks.
In a filing to the US District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said that the plaintiffs cannot show that the kingdom or any affiliated charities were behind the attacks, and said it deserved sovereign immunity.
“It is what we expected,” James Kreindler, a lawyer representing the wrongful death claimants, said referring to Tuesday’s filing.
“We have tons of allegations of what many Saudis and the country’s alter ego charities did. Saudi Arabia cannot hide from the facts,” he added, according to Reuters.
In 2015, a US judge dismissed claims by the victims’ families, but last September the US Congress voted to override a veto by President Barack Obama and adopted the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows the claims to proceed.
In opposing the law, Obama said it would harm US interests by opening up the United States to private lawsuits over its military missions abroad.
Saudi acknowledged in the court filing on Tuesday that JASTA eliminated some of its defenses, but maintained that the plaintiffs could still not prove that any Saudi official or agent planned or carried out the attacks.
“Neither proper allegations nor any evidence support plaintiffs’ conclusory assertions that Saudi Arabia caused the 9/11 attacks by knowingly or even recklessly aiding the terrorists who committed them,” the kingdom said.
Saudi Arabia also suggests that JASTA could violate the US Constitution if the US Congress passed it to dictate the result in this lawsuit, as it encroaches on the court’s power to decide cases.
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