U.S. Supreme Court rejects bid by Ghosn's accused escape plotters to avoid extradition


FILE PHOTO: Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan and Renault chief executive, looks on during a news conference at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, in Jounieh, Lebanon September 29, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday cleared the way for the extradition to Japan of an American father and son accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn flee that country while awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.

In a brief order, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer denied an emergency request by lawyers for U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, to put on hold a lower court order that cleared the way for them to be extradited.

The Taylors' lawyers in a late Thursday filing reiterated arguments that their clients could not be prosecuted in Japan for helping someone "bail jump" and that, if extradited, they faced the prospect of relentless interrogations and torture.

Lawyers for the Taylors and the Justice Department did not immediately comment on Saturday. The Japanese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A federal appeals court in Boston had declined on Thursday to issue an order preventing the Taylors' extradition while they appealed lower-court rulings. The U.S. State Department approved their extradition in October.

"The very least the U.S. courts owe the petitioners is a full chance to litigate these issues, including exercising their appellate rights, before they are consigned to the fate that awaits them at the hands of the Japanese government," defense lawyers wrote.

The Taylors were arrested in May at Japan's request after being charged with helping Ghosn flee Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he had engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan's financial statements. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the elder Taylor, a 60-year-old private security specialist, and Peter Taylor, 27, received $1.3 million for their services.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung, Nate Raymond and David Shepardson; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jonathan Oatis)

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