HARVARD (CBS) – It’s an escape plot that reads like a Hollywood script. Michael Taylor and his son are behind bars at MCI Norfolk for helping a Nissan executive accused of embezzlement escape Japanese authorities. The pair now waits to see if a federal judge in Boston will stop their extradition back to Japan.
“Physically, I’m OK, but mentally, it’s a difficult task to wrestle with,” Taylor told WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill on the phone from prison.
It’s been a rough six months for Taylor, who is accused of masterminding an elaborate plot to help former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn jump bail. The former Green Beret from Harvard doesn’t deny what happened. “We were told that jumping bail is not a crime,” he said.
Taylor and his son Peter were hired to get Ghosn out of the country because Ghosn claimed he was being tortured. According to Taylor’s attorney, he executed the plan to conceal Ghosn in a large box used to store music equipment and fly him in a private jet from Japan to Istanbul and then on to Lebanon.
Taylor says he has helped people escape difficult situations all over the world and claims he’s been hired by the federal government to get children back into the country. Each case, he said, has its own difficulties.
Taylor and his attorney argue skipping bail is not technically a crime in Japan. But U.S. court documents obtained by WBZ show the Taylors are actually being charged with enabling the escape of a criminal, so the U.S. courts have backed Japan’s extradition request, saying it goes beyond skipping bail.
Taylor’s other son Oliver is worried about his father’s safety and the things he could be subject to in the Japanese justice system. “Solitary confinement with the lights on 24/7; you can only see counsel once a week; you are interrogated hours and hours without a lawyer present,” Oliver Taylor said.
Michael Taylor, who insists his son Peter was not involved in the plot, says going back to Japan would be a death sentence.
“Here we are, the alleged beacon of human rights, going to ship a disabled American veteran and his son overseas during a worldwide pandemic to a place that is known to torture people in their judicial system,” he told WBZ.
When asked if he would do it again. “We were led to believe that jumping bail is not a crime. It’s difficult to say. Do I want to be in jail? Do I want to be extradited? Of course not.”
This is now in the hands of a federal judge in Boston. If that judge upholds the State Department’s decision to send Taylor back, only the White House and President Trump could reverse the decision.