Lawyer: Portugal denies US appeal for fugitive

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Portugal's Supreme Court has refused a request from the U.S. to extradite American fugitive George Wright, his lawyer said Thursday.

Wright's lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira said the court rejected an appeal by the U.S. against a lower court's decision that denied extradition a month ago.

"The Supreme Court has denied the appeal," Ferreira told The Associated Press. "They notified me today."

The U.S. can now appeal to Portugal's Constitutional Court if it chooses to.

Ferreira said he did not have details of the ruling. In Portugal, extradition cases are conducted in secret. Ferreira said Wright intends to remain in Portugal.

A Lisbon judge decided against Wright's extradition in November, two months after he was captured in Portugal following four decades on the run.

The U.S. Justice Department filed an appeal less than two weeks later.

Supreme Court officials weren't available to comment after office hours Thursday, and the U.S. Justice Department did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

The lower court judge had ruled that Wright, 68, had become a Portuguese citizen and that the statute of limitations on his 15- to 30-year sentence for a robbery-murder in New Jersey had expired, according to Ferreira.

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