Ghosn's attorneys take direct aim at prosecutors in a point-by-point attack on the validity of the investigation that resulted in Ghosn's stunning Nov. 19 arrest last year. They then check off counterarguments to the four main accusations leveled against the fallen automotive titan.
Central to the defense is the argument that prosecutors illegally conspired with certain Nissan executives and government officials to frame Ghosn in a coup aimed at removing him from power and preventing further integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault.
Ghosn's attorneys say Nissan unlawfully dispatched employees to invade Ghosn's residences and illegally seize personal property and attorney-client privileged files, while prosecutors did the same with attorney-client privileged notes and legal documents from Ghosn's wife, Carole Ghosn.
Ghosn’s defense team is also struggling to gain access to evidence, said Junichi Hironaka, one of Ghosn’s lead lawyers in Japan. Speaking after the Thursday hearing, Hironaka said Nissan has requested that prosecutors not share some 6,000 pieces email and other digital evidence.
“That remaining evidence is what prosecutors don’t want us to see. So, we can assume that the evidence should be of benefit to us once,” Hironaka said. “They are withholding evidences, so there is no telling what has been deleted.”
Hironaka said the defense has filed an appeal with the country’s Supreme Court to compel prosecutors to share the evidence. For evidence that prosecutors deemed OK to share, Hironaka said his team is also hobbled by restrictions against the photocopying documents.
“This is quite unrealistic, making it very difficult for us to do our defense activities,” he said.