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Former Nissan chairman Ghosn appears in Tokyo court
Court Watch | 2019/05/24 21:53
Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, appeared in a Japanese courtroom Thursday for a hearing ahead of his trial on accusations of financial misconduct.

It was the first of a series of hearings to iron out logistics for Ghosn’s actual trial. The trial date has not been set, and experts say it could be months away.

Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, was arrested in November and charged with underreporting his income and breach of trust. He was released on bail in March, rearrested in April on fresh accusations and then released again on bail on April 25.

Ghosn insists he is innocent and says he was targeted in a “conspiracy” by others at Nissan Motor Co.

Nissan, which is allied with Renault SA of France, has seen profits nose-dive amid the fallout from Ghosn’s arrest.

Ghosn has hired a strong legal team as he fights to clear his name. One of his top lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka, was seen walking into the courtroom Thursday with Ghosn.

One of the conditions of Ghosn’s release on bail is that he is forbidden to contact his wife. Prosecutors say that’s to prevent evidence tampering.

Ghosn’s lawyers challenged that restriction, saying it is a violation of human rights, but the Supreme Court rejected their appeal Tuesday.

The lawyers can appeal again to have the restriction removed.

In a briefing Thursday, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.

“For married people to be together is important, but I feel there was enough reason for the Supreme Court to support us in this restriction,” he said.

Kukimoto declined comment on the hearing, which was closed to reporters and the public.

Kukimoto also said the maximum penalty upon conviction of all 15 counts of the charges Ghosn is facing is 15 years in prison and a fine of 150 million yen ($1.4 million).


San Francisco police chief: Journalist ‘crossed the line’
Legal Interview | 2019/05/22 04:50
The San Francisco police chief said Tuesday that he respects the news media, but a freelance journalist whose home and office were raided by officers had “crossed the line” by joining a conspiracy to steal a confidential report.

Chief William Scott addressed reporters hours after police agreed in court to return property seized from Bryan Carmody in raids aimed at uncovering the source of a leaked police report into the unexpected death of the city’s former elected public defender, Jeff Adachi.

Tensions are high in the case, which has alarmed journalism advocates and put pressure on elected leaders in the politically liberal city to defend the press.

Authorities believe a police department employee was involved and had contact with Carmody.

“We believe that that contact and that interaction went across the line. It went past just doing your job as a journalist,” Scott said.

He added: “This is a big deal to us, as well it should be. It’s a big deal to the public. It’s a big deal to you all.”

Scott said the primary target of the ongoing investigation is the employee, whose identity investigators do not know. He said the secondary focus is on Carmody, who may have been motivated by profit or a desire to tarnish Adachi’s reputation, or both.


High court sides with Crow tribe member in hunting dispute
Law Firm News | 2019/05/20 04:48
The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a member of the Crow tribe who was fined for hunting elk in Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest, giving him a good chance to get a more than $8,000 fine against him overturned.

The case the justices decided 5-4 is a win for Clayvin Herrera and his tribe, which had argued they had hunting rights in the forest.

Herrera's case began in 2014 when he went hunting with family. The group began on the Crow tribe's reservation in southern Montana but crossed into the neighboring Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming, where they killed several elk.

Soon after, a game warden saw photos Herrera posted on a bragging website for hunters, including one of him crouched in the snow behind an elk he shot and another with its antlers balanced on his shoulders. The game warden ultimately identified the area where the photos were taken in the Bighorn National Forrest, and Herrera was cited for killing an elk there during the winter, when it is prohibited.

But Herrera, backed by the federal government, argued that when his tribe gave up land in present-day Montana and Wyoming under an 1868 treaty, the tribe retained the right to hunt on the land, including land that became Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest.

The state of Wyoming had argued that the Crow tribe's hunting rights ceased to exist after Wyoming became a state in 1890 or after Bighorn National Forest was established in 1897. But the Supreme Court disagreed, with Justice Neil Gorsuch joining his four liberal colleagues - justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan - in ruling for Herrera.

The court's four other justices said they would have ruled that a prior case settled that Crow tribe members like Herrera don't have an unrestricted right to hunt and fish in the Bighorn National Forest and are subject to the game laws of Wyoming.


Feds: US Supreme Court should turn down 'Bridgegate' appeal
Legal Network | 2019/05/16 16:00
The U.S. solicitor general's office has recommended that the U.S. Supreme Court not hear the appeal of two convicted defendants in the "Bridgegate" case, nudging the four-year legal saga of New Jersey's most famous traffic jam toward a conclusion.

"Further review is not warranted," the brief filed late Wednesday said. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear the case by the end of its term next month.

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni want the court to hear the appeal of their 2016 convictions for causing gridlock near the George Washington Bridge to punish a mayor for not endorsing their boss, former Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie wasn't charged, but the revelations from the scandal and conflicting accounts of when he knew about the plot combined to sabotage his 2016 presidential aspirations.

Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff at the time of the 2013 lane realignments in the town of Fort Lee, and Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had their sentences reduced this spring after a federal appeals court tossed some convictions last fall. Kelly petitioned the Supreme Court to consider the rest of the convictions, and Baroni joined in the appeal.

They argued that while their actions may have been ethically questionable, they weren't illegal because neither derived personal benefit, and the Port Authority, which operated the bridge, wasn't deprived of tangible benefits as a result of the scheme.


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