Major's statement to police allowed in trial
August 15, 2003
NAHA, Okinawa — An admittedly false statement made to police by a Marine charged with attempted rape was admitted as evidence Wednesday in Naha District Court.
The three-judge panel in the trial of Maj. Michael Brown made the ruling during a 15-minute hearing on evidence submitted by the prosecution.
They delayed a ruling on whether to admit statements Victoria Nakamine, the alleged victim, made prior to Brown’s indictment last December. At the time, she alleged Brown tried to rape her after she gave him a ride from Camp Courtney to his off-base home in Gushikawa on Nov. 2.
However, she testified in May that she was coerced by police and prosecutors into filing charges against Brown and did not understand what she was signing, since the statements were written in Japanese.
Nakamine, 40, is a native of the Philippines and does not read Japanese.
She testified that she had wanted the charges against Brown dropped. While she said it was true he fondled her in the car, she said Brown stopped his advances when she complained.
Defense attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu had argued that the statements she made to police and prosecutors should not be admitted as evidence since she claimed they were coerced. The judges are expected to rule on his motion at the next hearing, scheduled for Sept. 9, when two defense witnesses also are expected to testify.
Takaesu argued Wednesday that statements the 40-year-old Marine made to police during their investigation of Nakamine’s allegation should not be admitted because Brown felt pressured to make up a story that sounded better than what had really occurred when he accepted a ride from Nakamine, who was employed at the base officers’ club.
Brown, a 19-year veteran Marine, was assigned to the 3 Marine Expeditionary Force’s command element. He is married with two children. He was released on bail in May and is restricted to Camp Courtney.
In his opening remarks in May, Takaesu said Brown had lied to police in the first weeks of the investigation. The incident was actually a case in which Brown thought he had an understanding with Nakamine for consensual sex, but readily stopped fondling her when she complained, the attorney said.
Brown had told police she propositioned him in the car and he refused, which led to an argument. He said he threw her cell phone in a nearby stream out of frustration.
Brown has refused to make any statements or answer questions in court pertaining to what exactly happened when Nakamine pulled her car off a deserted road near Camp Courtney.
Takaesu said that will change when Brown takes the stand on Sept. 30.