Canadian lawyer for Huawei executive cites Trump comments
Vancouver, British Columbia – The lawyer for a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei arrested in Canada on a U.S. extradition warrant said Wednesday he’ll try to prevent the case from going ahead by arguing comments by President Donald Trump suggest the case against her is politically motivated.
Attorney Scott Fenton referred to Trump during a court appearance by Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Canada arrested Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, on Dec. 1. She is wanted in the U.S. on fraud charges.
The U.S. and China have tried to keep Meng’s case separate from their trade dispute, although Trump has said he would consider intervening in the case if it would help forge a trade deal with Beijing.
Fenton called Trump’s comments “intimidating and corrosive of the rule of law.”
Meng’s lawyers will also look for a stay in the proceedings by saying she was searched and interrogated before being told she was under arrest. She is free on bail in Vancouver and also asked the court of she could live in her larger multimillion-dollar home that underwent a recent renovation in the city.
The prosecution and defense argued on when the extradition proceedings will start with the prosecution wanting hearings in August and the defense saying the fall.
Meng’s lawyers previously said Trump “has repeatedly stated that he would interfere in Ms. Meng’s case if he thought it would assist the U.S negotiations with China over a trade deal.”
Her arrest at the Vancouver airport set off a diplomatic furor that has severely strained Canadian relations with China.
China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng. Kovrig and Spavor haven’t had access to a lawyer since being arrested.
A Chinese court also sentenced a Canadian to death in a sudden retrial on allegations of drug trafficking, overturning a 15-year prison term handed down earlier. China is also blocking imports of the agricultural product canola from Canada.
Huawei is a focus of U.S. security concerns. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.
Outside the court, protesters called for the release of the two detained Canadians and protested China’s internment of an estimated 1 million Uighurs (WEE-gurs).
Gillies contributed from Toronto.