Carlos Ghosn’s accused escape plotters ask U.S. Supreme Court to delay extradition to Japan

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Michael Taylor, who was implicated in enabling the dramatic escape of former Nissan Motor Co boss Carlos Ghosn, is seen in a booking photograph from October 24, 2012

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) – Lawyers for two men accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan while awaiting trial on financial charges have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and delay their extradition.

Lawyers for U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, asked the court on an emergency basis to put on hold a lower court order that cleared the way for them to be extradited.

The Taylor’s lawyers in a late Thursday filing reiterated arguments that their clients could not be prosecuted in Japan for helping someone “bail jump” and that, if extradited, they faced the prospect of relentless interrogations and torture.

A federal appeals court in Boston declined earlier Thursday to issue an order preventing the Taylors’ extradition while they appealed lower-court rulings. The U.S. State Department approved their extradition in October.

“The very least the U.S. courts owe the petitioners is a full chance to litigate these issues, including exercising their appellate rights, before they are consigned to the fate that awaits them at the hands of the Japanese government,” defense lawyers wrote.

The U.S. Justice Department had said the men could be turned over to Japan as early as Friday. But U.S. authorities now say the hand off will not happen while their request to the Supreme Court is pending, said defense lawyer Paul Kelly.

The Justice Department declined to comment beyond saying it was aware of the Supreme Court filing.

The Taylors were arrested in May at Japan’s request after being charged with helping Ghosn flee Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he had engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the elder Taylor, a 60-year-old private security specialist, and Peter Taylor, 27, received $1.3 million for their services.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Kirsten Donovan)

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