Khashoggi body double

TRT via AP

Leaked Video Shows Khashoggi 'Body Double' After Killing

October 22, 2018 - 6:43 pm
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ISTANBUL (WCBS 880/AP) -- Just hours after writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a man strolled out of the diplomatic post apparently wearing the columnist's clothes as part of a macabre deception to sow confusion over his fate, according to surveillance video leaked Monday.

The new video broadcast by CNN, as well as a pro-government Turkish newspaper's report that a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage made four calls to the royal's office from the consulate around the same time, put ever-increasing pressure on the kingdom. Meanwhile, Turkish crime-scene investigators swarmed a garage Monday night in Istanbul where a Saudi consular vehicle had been parked.

All this came on the eve of Prince Mohammed's high-profile investment summit in Riyadh, which has seen a raft of the world's top business leaders decline to attend over the slaying of the writer for The Washington Post. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said he would not attend the conference but would discuss counter-terrorism efforts with Saudi officials, met with the crown prince on Monday night.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also has promised that details of Khashoggi's killing "will be revealed in all its nakedness" in an address he'll make before parliament around the same time Tuesday.

"We are faced with a situation in which it was a brutally planned (killing) and efforts were made to cover it up," said Omer Celik, a spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party. "God willing, the results will be brought into the open, those responsible will be punished and no one will dare think of carrying out such a thing again."

The kingdom's announcement Saturday that Khashoggi died in a "fistfight" was met with international skepticism and allegations of a cover-up to absolve the 33-year-old crown prince of direct responsibility.

U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday that he was "not satisfied with what I've heard," regarding Khashoggi's death. He added: "We will know very soon."

Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Epstein told WCBS 880 that it's unclear if Trump is giving into pressure or if there's a real dissatisfaction in the White House with the storyline that's been coming from the Saudis and the fact it has changed so much.

"You went from the Saudis saying Khashoggi left the consulate in Istanbul very soon after arriving, to eventually conceding he was killed in what they called a fistfight, to now this footage of somebody walking out in Khashoggi's clothes afterwards," Epstein said. "It's all very strange, and I think that the administration doesn't seem to be satisfied at all." 

Epstein said the White House is grappling with the possibility that Prince Mohammed, somebody she said has "cozied up very much to the Trump administration, to Wall Street, to Hollywood," could be behind the killing of Khashoggi. She said the Trump administration sees the Saudis as a key ally in fighting Iran and a huge market for arms. 

"So this is a situation where the president's 'America First' philosophy of foreign policy is kind of coming into collision course with another set of 'America First' values, which is human rights," Epstein said. 

Turkish media reports and officials maintain that a 15-member Saudi team flew to Istanbul on Oct. 2, knowing Khashoggi would enter the consulate to get a document he needed to get married. Once he was inside, the Saudis accosted Khashoggi, cut off his fingers, killed and dismembered the 59-year-old writer, according to Turkish media reports.

Surveillance video on CNN showed the man in Khashoggi's dress shirt, suit jacket and pants, although he wore a different pair of shoes. It cited a Turkish official as describing the man as a "body double" and a member of the Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target the writer. The man walks out of the consulate via its back exit with an accomplice, then takes a taxi to Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque, where he goes to a public bathroom, changes back out of the clothes and leaves. He later eats dinner with his accomplice and goes back to a hotel, where footage shows him smiling and laughing.

The state-run broadcaster TRT later also reported that a man who entered the consulate was seen leaving the building in Khashoggi's clothes.

In the days after Khashoggi vanished, Saudi officials initially said he had left the consulate by its back door. Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman, a brother of the crown prince, wrote Oct. 8 that Khashoggi had left, and that claims the kingdom "have detained him or killed him are absolutely false, and baseless."

The fact that the Saudi team would allegedly have a man walking around in Khashoggi's clothes would suggest a premeditated plot to kill the writer.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)