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Massachusetts Man Wanted In Carlos Ghosn’s Escape Accuses U.S. Of ‘Betrayal’

A U.S. Army Special Forces veteran accused, along with his son, of smuggling former Nissan Motor Co. Chair Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a box is imploring U.S. officials to block their extradition.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, days after a judge cleared the way for the pair to be handed over to Japan, Michael Taylor said he fears they will be treated unfairly in the Japanese legal system. Taylor, a former Green Beret and private security specialist from Massachusetts, said he feels betrayed that the U.S. would try to turn him over to Japan after his service to the country.

“You dedicate your time in the military and you serve in combat and you do a whole bunch of other things,” Taylor said from the suburban Boston jail where he and his son, Peter Taylor, have been locked up since May. “And now they volunteer to extradite me and my son to Japan for something like this? Yeah, you feel a great sense of betrayal.”

The U.S. Department of State agreed in October to hand the pair over to Japan, but a court judge put the extradition on hold after their lawyers filed an emergency petition. The judge rejected the petition last week, clearing the way for the extradition, but the men’s lawyers are now appealing to the Boston-based federal appeals court.

Paul Kelly, one of their attorneys, said the U.S. has assured them it will not seek to surrender the Taylors to Japan before Feb. 12.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment about the case. The State Department referred questions to the Department of Justice. A DOJ spokesperson said anyone extradited to Japan to be tried for alleged crimes committed there “will be afforded all due process and other rights typically available to all defendants facing criminal charges in Japan.”

Lawyers for the Taylors have not denied the allegations but say the men cannot be extradited because “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan and, therefore, helping someone evade their bail conditions isn’t a crime either. They say the men will be subjected to “mental and physical torture” in Japan, describing its criminal justice system as “akin to that of an authoritarian regime.”

The Taylors’ defense team had been lobbying the Trump White House to step in. The father and son hired two high-powered attorneys with connections to former President Donald Trump — Abbe Lowell, who has represented Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Ty Cobb, a former Trump White House attorney — in the hopes the case would catch Trump’s attention before he left office.

Now, Taylor said he’s hopeful President Joe Biden’s administration will take a fresh look at the case.

“My father is in his mid-80s now. We’re going to get over there and we’re going to get tortured. I’m not going to be here for my father’s last days, which I’d like to be obviously. His grandson would like to be as well,” Taylor said. “Don’t you think we’ve been punished enough already?”

Taylor refused to discuss the details of the case because of the possibility he will be tried in Japan. But he insisted that his son “wasn’t involved” and was not in Japan when Ghosn left.

Prosecutors have described it as one of the most “brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history.” Authorities say the Taylors were paid at least $1.3 million for their help. Ghosn wired more than $860,000 to a company linked to Peter Taylor shortly before the escape and Ghosn’s son later made $500,000 in cryptocurrency payments, authorities said.

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