New Seizures and Charges in MegaUpload Case
What do prosecutors do when they realize they've charged a crime they can't prove? Come up with a new charge.
Wayne Tempero, Chief Security Officer for Kim DotCom, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm after the raid on Kim DotCom's compound. The prosecutors said the gun was unlicensed. Tempero has insisted he had a license for the shotgun, as well as for another firearm found on the premises.
Tempero appeared in court today on the unlawful possession of firearms charge and prosecutors dismissed it. But they proceeded to file two new charges, each charging possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes.
When they want you, if they can't get you one way, they just try another. [More...]
Also yesterday, Kim Dotcom's lawyers appeared in court to argue against the restraining order on his assets. It doesn't seem like they made much headway because today, New Zealand's Official Assignee, who is in charge of seized assets, confirmed his staff went out this morning to seize more property: the house adjacent to the mansion, which Kim DotCom bought in December, just weeks before his arrest, another car and jewelery.
Mrs. DotCom, who is 7 months pregnant with twins, and the couple's other three children, have been living in the adjacent house since the raid. At least the Official Assignee says they won't be evicted and can remain pending the outcome of the seizure proceedings.
New Zealand is not charging Kim DotCom with any crimes. This is all being done at the behest of the FBI and the U.S. extradition request. New Zealand is just helping out pursuant to a mutual assistance request.
One inconsistency: Wayne Tempero says no one has spoken to Kim DotCom since his arrest. But in this interview released yesterday by TV3 News in New Zealand, Printzboard, the musical director for the Black Eyed Peas who directed the now-famous MegaUpload promotional video, says he has visited with Kim DotCom regularly since his arrest and that Kim has said he's looking forward to coming to the U.S. and fighting the charges.
Printzboard says Kim told him he's going to go to the U.S. and fight the charges and clear his name.
He's like, "I didn't do nothing wrong. This is my company. This is the future. This is technology moving forward."
"He doesn't even need to be extradited. He's cool. He's like "Lets go, let's get this thing started. Like, why wait?"
Printzboard, like Tempero, says Kin DotCom's wife has no money and is relying on donations from friends.
"I know this guy, I looked in his eyes and he told me, "Prince, I need help, I have nothing, Mona has nothing."
Printzboard not only defends Kim DotCom and Megaupload, he says MegaUpload was good for artists. Kim DotCom was developing a platform that gives more control to artists than any other digital format out there, including iTunes.
"He's for the artists and creative forces of the world."
..."He provides a platform and it's up to you how you use it. Why sue this guy because he's had a vision of the future?"
I doubt Printzboard gave this in-depth interview without running it by Kim DotCom -- or his public relations team. It was very well-staged, taking place in Printzboard's studio with his staff. They even play the recording from the album they were working on for Kim DotCom's children the night before the arrest.
I also wonder whether Printzboard or Kim DotCom consulted DotCom's lawyers on the interview, given that they have publicly stated they are committed to fighting extradition. It seems more like a client-driven rather than lawyer-driven move.
It will be interesting to see whether Kim DotCom changes legal strategies, and instead of fighting extradition, agrees to it, telling the world he believes he's innocent and is looking forward to facing a U.S. jury.
Update: New video tonight on the latest seizures and New Zealand's Government as the puppets of the FBI. This news report was made with the cooperation of Kim DotCom's legal team. It points out no evidence has been released to support the FBI's charges that Kim DotCom made $175 million or that Megaupload ripped copyright holders off for $500 million, and that NZ officials refused to answer questions about it. The anchor asks a question New Zealanders should want an answer to: What was the evidence and did NZ officials vet it, or "just swallow it whole?"
It also points out that the Judge, in denying bail to Kim DotCom, said he had no way to assess the strength of the case against him. (From Paragraph 77 of Bail Decision.)
One last item: The car they drove off from the adjacent house was the sole remaining car. Kim DotCom's wife and children are now stranded without transportation. It's pretty appalling they would leave a woman who is 7 months pregnant with 3 other kids on a remote property without transportation.
The rent on the mansion falls due Monday, and Kim DotCom's lease is expected to be terminated at that time. Today, they hauled off artwork, television sets, jewelry and everything that remained with value.
Straight out of Alice and Wonderland, courtesy of the FBI and U.S. forfeiture laws: First the punishment, then the verdict.
'No, no!' said the Queen. `Sentence first --verdict afterwards.'
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