In the latest sign that the US government will defer to the Saudis regarding the investigation into exactly who was responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the Treasury is preparing to announce that it will levy sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals for their involvement in Khashoggi's killing. That's roughly equivalent to the 18 men who were initially arrested by the kingdom in connection with the "botched interrogation".
Among those who are expected to be sanctioned are Saud Al-Qahtani, a former top aide to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and former Saudi consul in Istanbul Mohammed Al- Otaibi.
The report follows an announcement by the Saudi's public prosecutor that the kingdom would seek the death penalty against 5 Saudis who played a direct role in the killing. The Saudi prosecutor hinted earlier that a royal adviser had a coordinating role in the killing, and that he was now under investigation. Though he declined to release the name, suspicion immediately fell on Al-Qahtani.
The impending US sanctions also followed comments from NSA John Bolton, who said the US didn't find any evidence of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's involvement in the killing from the audio tape of Khashoggi's death shared by Turkey.