The US State Department has approved turning over to Japan two Massachusetts men to face charges that they helped smuggle former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn out of the country.
Lawyers for US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, disclosed the department's decision in a court filing in federal court in Boston as they sought to delay the transfer, which could happen later on Thursday.
The State Department's decision came after a federal magistrate judge in September rejected the two men's challenge to their potential extradition following their arrests in May at the request of Japanese authorities.
Prosecutors say the Taylors facilitated a "brazen" escape in which Ghosn fled Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching Lebanon, his childhood home, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan's financial statements. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.
The State Department notified the Taylors' lawyers of its decision on Wednesday. The attorneys in a last-minute motion on Thursday urged a federal judge to halt them from being transported to Japan on a flight from Boston to Narita, Japan.
They said they learned of those "outrageous" flight plans from Japanese media.