Marine's attempted-rape trial to resume on Okinawa
January 15, 2004
NAHA, Okinawa — Marine Maj. Michael Brown’s attempted-rape trial is set to resume in Naha District Court on Thursday afternoon after a nearly three-month hiatus.
The trial recessed in October after Brown, 40, a 19-year Marine veteran, requested members of the three-judge panel presiding over the case since March disqualify themselves from the case.
He claimed the panel accepted evidence that was prejudicial to his case.
The case stems from a ride Brown accepted from the woman, Victoria Nakamine, 40, from the Camp Courtney Officers Club in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, 2002.
On the way to Brown’s home in nearby Gushikawa, Nakamine, a Philippine citizen who worked as a barmaid, testified she parked the car on a dark road along the Tengan River to talk.
She told police the major tried to rape her and threw her cellular phone into a nearby river when she threatened to call police.
Brown was indicted Dec. 19, 2002, on charges of attempted rape and destroying private property. However, Nakamine recanted her story while testifying in May, claiming her initial statements to police and prosecutors were coerced and that she never wanted the case to go to trial or to punish Brown.
She said Brown started to fondle her; she complained and he stopped and left the car.
Brown, assigned to the command element of Camp Courtney’s 3rd Expeditionary Force, claimed the judges shouldn’t have accepted both the woman’s recanted statements and her court testimony as evidence.
The judges suspended proceedings while Brown’s request wound its way through the appeals process, eventually being dismissed by Japan’s Supreme Court in late November.
Brown is not expected to testify Thursday, according to his chief attorney, Toshimitsu Takaesu.
“On Thursday we will concentrate on presenting evidence to refute the prosecution’s case,” Takaesu said Tuesday. “We also have a hearing set for Friday morning in which Brown is expected to testify. However we are going to do everything we can to avoid that.”