Kim Dotcom suffers legal setback – may be extradited to the U.S.
Kim Dotcom's legal worries have just intensified with a recent legal setback for him. On Friday the New Zealand high court overturned a prior court’s opinion that U.S. officials must reveal all evidence they had against Dotcom for extradition.
A higher court in New Zealand on Friday has overturned Kim Dotcom’s previous court order that stated the U.S. Justice Department had to reveal all of the evidence they had against him for extradition. Dotcom could be extradited to the U.S. on charges that he allowed users to pirate copyrighted songs and movies through the popular P2P site, Megaupload.com
In 2012 Dotcom’s defense team said they had the right to see the evidence the Justice department in the U.S. had against their client on the grounds that they could not fight the extradition without it. Attorneys in the U.S. fought it out in New Zealand’s Court of Appeals by saying the evidence involves "literally billions of e-mails and would delay the hearing indefinitely".
The three-person panel in the Court of Appeals agreed with Dotcom’s legal team and ruled the Justice Department needed to give a summary of the evidence they had against Dotcom.
On Friday, March 1st, the court said the extradition hearings were not full fledged trials and that any protections afforded to a person in criminal trials are not given, or rather, do not apply to extradition hearings.
Kim Dotcom’s legal problems began in January of 2012 when his mansion was raided in a fashion likened to a Hollywood action movie. It involved numerous New Zealand SWAT style police, helicopters and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to U.S. authorities Dotcom was in violation of supporting copyrighted piracy through the now defunct Megaupload.com. They also told New Zealand police that Dotcom possessed a ‘doomsday device’ that could essentially shut down the entire Internet. While Dotcom was the founder and operator of Megaupload.com, the doomsday device as described by the FBI was totally fictitious and by all intents and purposes, a total fabrication by the FBI.
During the mansion raid the police took possession of numerous computers, personal belongings and other items as the FBI followed along dictating all they wanted removed. The U.S. also demanded that he be extradited to the U.S. for his supposed crimes.
This latest reversal from the courts in Dotcom’s case is the first real setback for him after he went through a string of wins, one of which included a ruling that the search warrants on his the police used on his home were illegal. To date all of Dotcom’s millions of dollars in assets are still frozen, and he is forced to petition the courts for any release of those assets.
In regards to this recent setback, Dotcom wrote on his Twitter account, "The fight goes on. Next is the Supreme Court of New Zealand”.
At one time Megaupload received as many as 50 million visitors per day, which some estimate was 4% of all Internet traffic at that time. The U.S. says Dotcom owes more than $500 million dollars to copyright owners of the media that was shared on his former site. The FBI also says he will be facing charges of racketeering fraud, money laundering and copyright theft. He could also face up to 25 years in a U.S. federal prison if convicted.
Recently Dotcom started up a new website called Mega.com and supports what he claims to be ‘military grade encryption’ on all data. The new website, which was launched in January of this year, is supposedly within New Zealand and international copyright laws. Dotcom publicly stated that any attempts at shutting down the new Mega.com would be insensible. "This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood," Dotcom said."…This site is just as legitimate as Dropbox, Box.net and other competitors."
If you were a previous user of Megaupload.com and you’re hoping on getting your lost files back, you might as well count them lost forever. His attorneys said they tried to obtain the court’s permission to get the data transferred back to the users, but the U.S. authorities repeatedly fought any kind of transfer. A visit to the now defunct Megaupload.com reveals a notice showing it indefinitely seized by the U.S. Department of Justice.