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Supreme Court will allow fmr. Green Beret’s extradition to Japan in smuggling case

The Supreme Court. (Joe Sohm/Dreamstime/TNS)
February 18, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court paved the way last week for former U.S. Army Green Beret Michael Taylor, and his son Peter Taylor, to be extradited to Japan for prosecution on charges they helped former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn escape trial.

On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer denied a petition filed by the Taylors’ lawyer that challenged a lower court order allowing their extradition to Japan. With Breyer’s move, the Supreme Court will not take up the Taylors’ case and thus won’t overturn a lower court’s decision to allow the extradition per a U.S. State Department agreement with Japan.

Michael Taylor, 60, a Green Beret turned private security contractor, is accused with his son, of helping Ghosn escape bail and sneak out of Japan in a large equipment box typically used to transport music equipment. Ghosn faced trial in Japan on charges of misusing Nissan company funds, underreporting $84 million in company earnings, and breach of trust. Ghosn has claimed innocence and has said Japan was torturing him.

In their petition, lawyers for the Taylors argued their clients committed no crime as Japan has no statutes criminalizing bail jumping.

Michael Taylor has said, “I did some research and checked with legal counsel, found out that jump on bail’s not a crime. It was decided upon that [Ghosn] is being tortured, so let’s stop the torture.”

Michael Taylor has also denied his son had any involvement in Ghosn’s escape.

Lawyers for the Taylors also argued that their clients could face torture, and thus allowing their extradition would violate a U.S. law, known as the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The CAT states the U.S. may not extradite ‘any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture.'”

“The issues raised by petitioners merit full and careful consideration, and the stakes are enormous for them,” the Taylors lawyers argued. “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.”

Breyer denied their petition without comment.

Both Taylors have been held in a suburban Boston jail since May 2020 while awaiting their extradition. The two were arrested by U.S. Marshals last year after Japan issued warrants for their arrest.

Michael Taylor said he has felt betrayed by the U.S. for the extradition decision.

He previously called public attention to his extradition case when he spoke with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo in November. In the interview, he raised concerns about Japan’s torture practices and said he couldn’t believe then-President Donald Trump knew about his case and would allow his extradition to proceed.

In recent weeks, the former Green Beret said he hoped to gain the attention of President Joe Biden’s new administration.

Michael Taylor has previously served jail time in connection with his private security business. In 2012 he was brought up on allegations he won a U.S. military contract to train Afghan soldiers with secretive contract information passed along by a U.S. officer. After learning his contract was being investigated, he was then accused of calling on a friend in the FBI to intervene in his case. In 2015 he was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for his role in the bid-rigging scheme.