Ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn's chief defence lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, has resigned, his law office said Wednesday, a stunning twist to the nearly three-month case over alleged financial misconduct by the one-time saviour of Nissan.
Japan's Sankei newspaper said Ghosn had hired hotshot lawyer Junichiro Hironaka as Otsuru's replacement.
No reason was given for the resignation in a statement distributed by Otsuru's law firm.
Staff at his office confirmed his resignation but would not give a reason.
A second member of Ghosn's defence team, Masato Oshikubo, from Otsuru's law office, also quit, the statement said.
Staff at the office of Go Kondo, Ghosn's third defence lawyer, were unavailable for comment.
Hironaka was not immediately available for comment.
Ghosn has been held in detention since his November 19 arrest and indicted on three charges for under-reporting his salary and breach of trust.
Ghosn denies the charges and told the Nikkei newspaper that Nissan executives opposed to his plans for closer ties with automaking partner Renault plotted to remove him.