The US father-son duo accused of smuggling international fugitive, Carlos Ghosn out of Tokyo (in a musical instrument box with 70 holes cut in it) has been fighting to block court-ordered extradition since their arrests late last year.
However, this past Saturday, Justice Stephen Breyer of the US Supreme Court officially denied their request to suspend the order, which means they will stand trial in Japan.
The two, Michael Taylor, 60, who is a former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27, don’t believe that they’ll receive a fair trial under this condition.
“You dedicate your time in the military and you serve in combat and you do a whole bunch of other things,” Michael Taylor said of his circumstance. “And now they volunteer to extradite me and my son to Japan for something like this? Yeah, you feel a great sense of betrayal.”
Their legal team agrees. More directly arguing that the charges facing the Taylors (aiding a fugitive) are not actually crimes in Japan. Even if prosecutors found a way to make the charges stick, the Taylors’ defense lawyers fear that their clients will be subjected to hostage justice. This term refers to an extended period of time during which a defendant is held while denying an accusation. In the Japanese judiciary system, this time is much shorter for those who confess to the charges brought before them.
“My father is in his mid-80s now. We’re going to get over there and we’re going to get tortured,” Peter Taylor said. “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. Don’t you think we’ve been punished enough already?”
As an operative, the elder Taylor was responsible for recovering abducted children, executing sting operations for the FBI to bust illegal drug operations, in addition to working as a contractor for the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also helped recover a correspondent from the Taliban. These kinds of credentials likely influenced U.S. attorney’s decision to deny Taylor bail.
“Taylor presents an enormous risk of flight, ”a federal judge said of Michael. “His alleged involvement in the Ghosn plot demonstrates his aptitude for hatching escape plans on a grand scale and his blatant disrespect for bond conditions.”
Japanese authorities reportedly have extensive evidence against the Taylors, including but not limited to surveillance footage which allegedly show the two meeting up with Mr. Ghosn at a hotel room with a Turkish flight crew. All four men were spotted on video leaving together, just before Peter left the group onboard a flight to China.
Japanese prosecutors have alleged that the Taylors were paid at least $1.3 million for their roles in Ghosn’s escape. Then, the Nissan fugitive reportedly wired more than $860,000 to a company associated with Peter Taylor on top of $500,000 in cryptocurrency payments made to the Taylors by Ghosn’s son.
Peter Taylor allegedly flew to Japan on three separate occasions to meet with Ghosn beginning in July 2019. Meetings took place a total of seven times before an escape plan was officially devised. Michael Taylor and a Lebanese-born U.S. citizen named George Zayek waited for the two in Osaka by private jet from Dubai with large musical equipment boxes.