“#Ex-Green Beret says it wasn’t a crime to help Carlos Ghosn escape”
June 9, 2020 | 9:17am
Michael Taylor, left, in a security image from Dec. 30, 2019, and Carlos Ghosn (right).
In a lengthy federal court filing, lawyers for ex-Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter said the pair’s alleged role in the ex-Nissan CEO’s dramatic flight out of Japan doesn’t amount to an actual crime.
Federal prosecutors have accused the Taylors of helping Ghosn violate the terms of his bail by ferrying him to Lebanon in December while he awaited trial on Japanese financial-crime charges. But skipping bail isn’t a separate criminal offense under Japanese law — and neither is helping someone do so, the Taylors’ attorneys say.
“Indeed, it would be a non sequitur and violate US law and the treaty requirement of extradition reciprocity to make it a crime to help someone else to do something that is itself not criminal,” lawyers Paul Kelly and Abbe David Lowell argued in the Monday filing.
Additionally, the Japanese warrants for the Taylors’ arrests only accuse them of a misdemeanor immigration violation for which they cannot be extradited under the US’s treaty with Japan, the lawyers argued.
US authorities have said that the Taylors are charged with violating Article 103 of the Japanese Penal Code, which is not mentioned in the arrest warrants, according to court filings.
The law makes it a crime to harbor or enable the escape of someone who has committed a crime punishable by a fine or worse, court papers say.
The Taylors’ lawyers argue they didn’t break that law because they didn’t help Ghosn flee the scene of a crime or get out of “confinement.” But Japanese law professor Yasuzo Kitamura told The Wall Street Journal that the Taylors’ alleged conduct does amount to a crime.
Japan has 45 days from the Taylors’ May 20 arrest to formally request their extradition. The father-son duo is accused of helping execute an elaborate plot to ferry Ghosn from Tokyo to Beirut, with the former auto honcho allegedly making part of the trip stuffed inside a black audio equipment box.
Ghosn has been hiding out since late December in Lebanon — which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan — saying he fled “persecution.”
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