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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Carlos Ghosn's lawyer Hironaka resigns

Attorney does not talk to reporters and skips pretrial conference procedure

Junichiro Hironaka, the lawyer leading the defense of Carlos Ghosn, said his client's escape while out on bail surprised him. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

TOKYO -- Junichiro Hironaka, the lawyer leading the defense of Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor's former chairman who at the end of last year jumped bail and fled Japan, on Thursday submitted a resignation notice to the Tokyo District Court.

"I submitted the resignation notice for all lawyers belonging to [Hironaka's law firm] to the Tokyo District Court for all cases regarding Carlos Ghosn," Hironaka said in a statement. He added that he will not hold a news conference regarding the matter.

Hironaka did not attend the pretrial conference procedure held on the same day.

Hiroshi Kawatsu, a lawyer who does not belong to Hironaka's firm, will continue defending Ghosn.

Ghosn is now living in Lebanon, where he spent his childhood.

When news broke that Ghosn had fled at the end of last year, Hironaka told reporters that the news came "out of the blue."

But Hironaka's legal team continued to try to protect the client. The team refused to let Japanese prosecutors take a personal computer used by Ghosn while on bail. The lawyers cited Japan's criminal code, which lets lawyers, doctors and certain other professionals refuse to hand over confidential information entrusted to them.

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