Supreme Court paves way for ex-Green Beret extradition to Japan in smuggling case

BOSTON – The United States Supreme Court cleared the way on Saturday for the extradition of an American father and son wanted by Japan in the leak of former Nissan Motor Co. boss Carlos Ghosn.

Judge Stephen Breyer refused an offer to withhold extradition to give Michael and Peter Taylor time to appeal in their case challenging the US officials plan to hand them over in Japan.

Michael Taylor, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, and his son are accused of helping Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, flee the country last year with Ghosn hiding in a box in a private jet. The flight first went to Turkey and then to Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship but does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

Lawyers for the Taylors say the men cannot be legally extradited and will be treated unfairly in Japan. Their lawyers told the Supreme Court in a brief filed Friday that the men would face harsh treatment in the Japanese criminal justice system.

“The issues raised by the petitioners deserve careful and careful consideration, and the stakes are high for them. The least that the US courts owe petitioners is a full chance to plead these issues, including the exercise of their rights of appeal, before they are handed over to the fate that awaits them at the hands of the Japanese government, ”said writes their lawyers.

U.S. authorities had said they would not return the men to Japan while their stay application was pending before Breyer, a lawyer for the Taylors said.

In this January 10, 2020 photo, former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks to Japanese media during an interview in Beirut, Lebanon.  (Meika Fujio / Kyodo News via AP)

Michael Taylor said in an interview with The Associated Press that he feels betrayed that the US would try to deliver him to Japan after his service in the country. Taylor declined to discuss the details of the case due to the possibility that he could stand trial in Japan, but insisted his son was not involved.

The 1st American Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on Thursday refused to suspend the extradition, saying the Taylors would probably not succeed on the merits of their case. The Taylors have been locked in a suburban Boston jail since their arrest last May.

Ghosn was on bail at the time of his escape and awaiting trial over allegations that he under-reported his earnings and breached trust by embezzling Nissan money for his personal gain. Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions of detention and was not allowed to meet with his woman on bail. Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing.

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