• Kyodo

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The Naha District Court said Thursday it has postponed the first public trial hearing of a U.S. Marine Corps major charged with attempting to rape a Philippine woman.

The court said the decision to postpone the trial by one month from the initially set Feb. 13 was made after Maj. Michael Brown, stationed at Camp Courtney on Okinawa Island, changed lawyers.

Brown, 39, stands accused of attempting to rape the woman in his parked car in the city of Gushikawa on Nov. 2. He is also suspected of destroying her cellular phone. Brown has admitted being with the woman early on Nov. 2 when the incident allegedly took place but has denied the charges.

The U.S. government handed Brown over to Japanese authorities on Dec. 19 after he was indicted the same day.

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