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Carlos Ghosn Replaces Lawyers with ‘Hotshot’ Attorney as His Trial Approaches

There’s a new twist in the Carlos Ghosn saga: two of his defense lawyers, including lead lawyer Motonari Otsuru, suddenly quit Wednesday without saying why.

However, Ghosn told the Wall Street Journal that he had decided to reorganize his legal team in order to prepare for trial. To that end, he has taken on Junichiro Hironaka, a veteran defense attorney described by various outlets as a “hotshot” with a reputation for winning high-profile cases.

“I look forward to defending myself vigorously, and this represents the beginning of the process of not only establishing my innocence but also shedding light on the circumstances that led to my unjust detention,” Ghosn told the Journal.

Neither Otsuru nor Masato Oshikubo gave any reason for their resignation from the former Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault boss’s legal team. According to AFP, their law firm simply issued a statement saying that on Wednesday they “submitted letters of resignation to the court as the defense lawyers for the case of Mr. Ghosn.”

Ghosn is in a Tokyo jail, awaiting trial on three financial misconduct charges, which he denies. He claims to be the victim of “plot and treason” by Nissan executives who disagreed with his plans for the company. Prosecutors and former colleagues say he heavily underreported his compensation and shifted personal losses to Nissan’s books.

Otsuru conducted a press conference a month ago in which, AFP reports, he “pointedly declined” to play along with international concern over Ghosn’s conditions in jail. Ghosn’s family claims he has been subject to “draconian” treatment that has been affecting his health.