Brown's lawyer again asks that accuser's statements be ignored by court
NAHA, Okinawa — Defense attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu made another plea Thursday for judges to ignore statements made to police by a woman who later recanted her accusations against a Marine officer charged with attempted rape.
“Her statements to police and the prosecution should not be admissible as evidence,” Takaesu argued during a half-hour hearing in the case of Maj. Michael Brown in Naha District Court.
Chief Judge Nobuyuki Yokota said he and his two fellow judges will rule on the admissibility of Nakamine’s statements on Aug. 13.
Brown is charged with attempting to rape Victoria Nakamine on Nov. 2 after she agreed to give him a lift to his home in Gushikawa, near Camp Courtney. He’s also accused of destroying her cellular phone. Brown has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
At earlier hearings, Takaesu said Brown thought he had made an arrangement to have sex with the woman, then stopped pushing the issue when she complained.
Takaesu said Nakamine, a 40-year-old Filipina who worked at the Camp Courtney Officers Club, comprehended 60 percent of what police and prosecutors told her in Japanese when she was questioned following the incident.
And she understood nary a word of written Japanese, even though she signed statements they showed her, Takaesu said.
In any case, Nakamine was coerced to make false accusations against Brown, he added.
“[She] was swelled by anger and made a false report of an attempted rape,” Takeasu said. “The police repeatedly urged her to file a complaint. However, the victim … did not agree to file the complaint.”
He said Nakamine was later urged by her employer, Plenty Staff, an Okinawa company that provides temporary help to Marine bases, to file a complaint. Prosecutors then forced her to press for an indictment, Takaesu said.
“I highly suspect that this case was a result of the police coercing the victim,” he said.
In May, testifying via closed-circuit television, Nakamine said she did not want to punish Brown and there was no sexual attack. She was upset that he destroyed her phone during an argument in her car and the case spiraled out of control once Okinawa police became involved, she added.
On several occasions, Takaesu said, prosecutors refused to consider Nakamine’s request to drop the charges.
After the hearing, Takaesu told reporters there was no connection between Brown and a $13,500 deposit made to Nakamine’s bank account the day before she recanted her story.
But the money’s source remains a mystery.
“The money had nothing to do with the case,” Takesu said. “So I would not dig into any further because it was aside from my case.”
Prosecutors, who disclosed the bank deposit at a July 1 hearing, would not comment on the source of the money.
At a Sept. 9 hearing, Takaesu plans to produce a forensic expert who will testify that police botched DNA tests made from samples of Brown’s blood and saliva. He also claims that police knew that tests were not valid and later destroyed the evidence.