A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is accusing former U.S. president Donald Trump of co-opting her extradition proceedings in an effort to use her as leverage in trade negotiations with China.
Richard Peck told the British Columbia Supreme Court that Trump's words to media after Meng's arrest amount to an abuse of process and a "stain" on proceedings in Canada.
Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of U.S. officials on charges of fraud that both she and Huawei deny.
The argument hinges on remarks by Trump 10 days after the arrest when he was asked if the United States would intervene in Meng's case to get a better deal with China.
Peck quotes Trump as saying he would "certainly intervene" if he thought it was necessary.
Lawyers for the attorney general of Canada, who are representing the United States in the case, have said in legal documents that they will say the argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office.
"With that utterance, Ms. Meng became a bargaining chip, a pawn in this economic contest between these two superpowers. Those words amount to the opening salvo in this trade war," Peck told the court.
Today marks the beginning of arguments by Meng's legal team that she was subjected to an abuse of process and that the proceedings against her should be stayed.