US District Judge George Danials announced on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia had been dismissed as a defendant on claims brought by the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks because their lawyers could not offer enough evidence of the country having a role in the attacks.
That 15 of the 19 plane hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia wasn't evaluated as being sufficient evidence, the judge said, adding that he rejected evidence alleging that a Saudi prince supported Zacarias Moussaoui - known as the “20th hijacker” financially in 2001 while he was studying at flight school in Oklahoma, according to Associated Press.
Moussaoui was a former Al Qaeda operative and imprisoned for his role in the attacks.
Daniels said that even if he let the claims stand, this would be "futile, however, because the additional allegations do not strip defendants of sovereign immunity.”
He also remarked that "The allegations in the complaint alone do not provide this court with a basis to assert jurisdiction over defendants."
Sean Carter, one the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said they would appeal the decision and said he believed the ruling was the result of a decision by the US government to hold onto secret evidence.
"Obviously, we respectfully disagree with Judge Daniels' ruling," he added.
In 2013, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reactivated the case, considering a 2011 decision that allowed similar claims to be made against Afghanistan.