The Taylors conceded the facts of the escape outlined in court by the prosecutors — that they met Ghosn at the Tokyo Grand Hyatt hotel on Dec. 29, 2019, and escorted him on a cross-country bullet train dash to the city of Osaka.
There, they packed him into an oversized audio equipment trunk and smuggled him past lax security onto a chartered jet. They flew him out that evening, and Ghosn landed in Beirut — beyond the reach of extradition to Japan — on Dec. 30.
On Dec. 31, 2019, Ghosn stunned the world and embarrassed Japan by issuing a press release saying, "I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution."
The Taylors petitioned the court for leniency, citing extenuating circumstances. They argued that they were distantly related to Ghosn and that they had been misled into believing Ghosn was being tortured in Japan and that it was not a violation of Japanese law to help someone jump bail.
The judge didn't buy it, contending that they were mostly in it for the money. Of the $860,000 Ghosn paid them, they used only $400,000 to charter the getaway jet and put the bulk of the remainder into their own companies and coffers, the judge said.
"Their main motive in this case," Nirei said, "was the compensation."
In December, the online entertainment site Deadline reported that Oscar-winning actor Sam Rockwell would star as Michael Taylor in a feature-length film about the disappearing act developed along with a TV series by Vanity Fair Studios and MGM/UA TV.
Naoto Okamura contributed to this report.