Washington – The father and son accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn escape house arrest in Tokyo were denied bail for a third time as they battle an extradition request from Japan.
A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled on Friday that the ex-Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter must remain in custody outside Boston while another judge weighs whether they are eligible for extradition under the U.S. treaty with Japan.
The ruling comes despite the Taylors’ aggressive campaign for bail, with an argument that they have a strong chance of winning their extradition case and that they won’t flee the U.S. But the decision by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani marked the third time those claims have been rejected since the Taylors’ arrest in May — once by a magistrate and now twice by Talwani.
“While the Taylors may well seek to remain in the United States to fight extradition,” Talwani wrote, they “have not established sufficiently that if they find their extradition fight difficult, they will not flaunt the rules of release on bail and flee the country.”
An extradition hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28. On Friday, federal prosecutors submitted a detailed brief outlining the now-familiar story of the escape: A clock-and-dagger mission in which the Taylors allegedly smuggled Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon inside a large black box while he was out on bail facing trial on charges of financial misconduct.
Lawyers for the Taylors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Taylors have never denied helping Ghosn escape. But they have argued in court that “bail jumping” does not constitute a crime under Japan’s penal code, citing testimony by an expert on Japanese law.
Now, however, the same two judges have cast doubt on that claim. U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell said last month that the offense appeared to “fall squarely within the heartland” of the relevant statute of the Japanese penal code. And on Friday, Talwani said the Japanese Supreme Court has offered a broad interpretation of Article 103 that appears to encompass what the Taylors are accused of doing.
Ultimately, Cabell will decide whether the Taylors are eligible for extradition under the U.S.-Japan treaty. The final decision to extradite rests with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The Taylors have hired a team of lawyers and lobbyists to press their case in Washington. Since the spring, Michael Taylor has paid the Washington law firm K&L Gates at least $130,000 to lobby officials in the House, Senate, State Department and White House on “issues related to U.S. government discussions with Japan,” according to lobbying disclosure forms, most recently from July 18.