The two American men accused of helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn escape prosecution in Tokyo won an eleventh-hour reprieve in their battle to avoid extradition to Japan.
Just minutes before defense lawyers feared Michael Taylor and his son Peter would be placed on a flight to Tokyo, a US judge on Thursday delayed the transfer to allow more time to consider their last-ditch petition to block the extradition.
In a court filing, the Taylors said they were notified after 5 pm Wednesday that the State Department had approved Japan’s request for extradition.
Their lawyers said they believed the two men were set to be transferred on a 1 pm flight Thursday from Logan International Airport, which wouldn’t allow enough “opportunity to receive and review the administrative record and to seek judicial review of the Secretary’s decision.”
In a paragraph-long order, US District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston said the US should “ensure that petitioners are not transported out of the district for the time being.”
Still, the delay may not last long. A different federal judge ruled in September that Japan’s extradition request was legitimate. And in their court filing, the Taylors’ lawyers included a letter from an official at the State Department saying that the deputy secretary of state had formally authorized the surrender of the two men to the Japanese authorities.
“I confirm that the decision to surrender the Taylors to Japan complies with applicable international obligations as well as domestic statutes and regulations,” the State Department official, Karen K. Johnson, said in the letter.