Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Virginia several months ago holding that Kim Dotcom cannot defend against the forfeiture of his assets because of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine, a New Zealand Court this week has granted DotCom's request for an Order prohibiting the Crown in New Zealand from proceeding to register the subsequent U.S. default forfeiture judgments against the assets in NZ. The opinion is here.
It's all pretty complicated, but in a nutshell: [More...]
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It's been a while since I checked on Kim Dotcom. There is some big news. At the request of the U.S., New Zealand prosecutors tried to revoke his bond. A three day hearing was held. Yesterday, the New Zealand court ruled he did not violate his bail conditions. A New Zealand Herald report is here.
Kim Dotcom's legal bills are in excess of $10 million. That situation has recently become very complicated and his New Zealand lawyers withdrew from his case. His U.S. lawyers have set up a website seeking additional lawyers.
We are looking for lawyers in New Zealand and the United States who are interested in joining the Megaupload and Kim Dotcom legal defense and who have a passion for internet public interest law.
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The Department of Justice, at the direction of the Judge presiding over the MegaUpload/Kim Dotcom criminal case in Virginia, has published a 191 page report outlining the evidence it claims supports the charges. The DOJ webpage with documents is here.
Kim Dotcom's reaction:
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Here is Kim Dotcom's lawyers' new White paper on why the charges against him are untenable:
The U.S. government’s case against Megaupload is grounded in a theory of criminal secondary copyright infringement. In other words, the prosecution seeks to hold Megaupload and its executives criminally responsible for alleged infringement by the company’s third-party cloud storage users.
The problem with the theory, however, is that secondary copyright infringement is not – nor has it ever been – a crime in the United States. The federal courts lack any power to criminalize secondary copyright infringement; the U.S. Congress alone has such authority, and it has not done so.
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The New Zealand prosecutor's office has spent almost 10,000 hours battling Kim Dotcom in New Zealand, either on behalf of the U.S. or defending against NZ's actions in providing assistance to the FBI.
The latest figures show 9688 hours worked on the case since July 15, 2011 - the date the Crown Law Office opened its file on the American request. The estimate of $2 million is based on rates usually paid for counsel hired to work for the Crown. In this case, additional legal work for the Crown had been done by Christine Gordon QC, Kirsty McDonald QC and Mike Ruffin, adding about 200 hours.
...Some of that work is on behalf of the United States but most has been damage control around the mess which came with helping the FBI shut down Mr Dotcom's Megaupload.
It's not just a drain of money. It's also a drain on prosecutorial and court resources that could be better spent on other matters, such as crime in New Zealand.
As to why you should care, it's because the same waste of money and resources is occurring with DOJ's prosecution of Kim Dotcom and Megaupload in Virginia.[More....]
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Here is the Government's latest salvo in the federal criminal case in Virginia against Kim Dotcom and his partners. Here is Dotcom's Rebuttal. Torrent Freak has a good explanation without the legalese as to what it's about.
More interesting to non-lawyers is #kimdotcom's announcement today that Megaabox is ready for launch. [More...]
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Kim Dotcom suffered a setback in his extradition case yesterday when an appeals court in New Zealand reversed a High Court ruling that the FBI had to turn over more discovery in order to allow him to prepare for his extradition hearing. (A discussion of the High Court's ruling is here and the text of the ruling is here.) The Appeals Court says the disclosure is not required.
While the ruling is in the context of what information the U.S. must disclose to Kim Dotcom to enable him to defend against the extradition request, it also serves as a primer on NZ extradition law. The full opinion is here. The Court has also issued this press release explaining the decision. [More...]
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Megaupload and Dotcom are also seeking to have the search warrant from June 24, 2010 against Carpathia Hosting company unsealed. (It was provided to Carpathia and Megaupload when issued by the Court, but has never been officially unsealed for the public.) It notes that Wired, in this article, has already published the search warrant. The warrant was sought in an investigation of Ninjavideo (government press release on sentencing in Ninjavideo here.)
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Kim Dotcom is still on track to having a Merry Christmas. New Zealand High Court Judge J Winkelmann today ruled Kim Dotcom can add the Attorney General, in his capacity as representative of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau, to his claim for monetary damages resulting from the the illegal search of his mansion and over-the-top commando style raid to effectuate his arrest. She also ruled in his favor on several discovery requests pertaining to the FBI's involvement in the case and NZ's illegal interception of his communications. You can access the opinion here.
To put it in context, the Judge writes: [More..]
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Good news for 23 year old Richard O'Dwyer, who is charged with copyright infringement in the U.S. and had been ordered extradited from the UK to face charges. D.O.J. has offered him a "deferred prosecution" agreement, under which he agrees to come to the U.S. voluntarily to enter the agreement and pay a fine, and promises not to violate U.S. copyright laws in the future. He will then return home to the U.K. When the UK court receives the agreement, it will dismiss the extradition proceedings. Assuming he complies, eventually, the charges will be dropped with no plea of guilty required.
Is this how Kim Dotcom's case will end?
A source close to Dotcom said his legal team was studying it closely as it showed US authorities could be softening their previously hard-line approach. [More...]
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Last week, the Prime Minister of New Zealand apologized to Megaupload co-founder Kim Dotcom for the illegal interceptions of Dotcom's communications before the raid on his mansion and arrest, conducted at the behest of the U.S. which was seeking his extradition to face criminal charges.
Today the Prime Minister released the results of the review of the GCSB's illegal interceptions.
The Prime Minister's press release is here. It doesn't say much, other than to give the PM a clean bill of health for not having been briefed on Dotcom prior to the raid. He acknowledges there may have been a quick reference to Dotcom at a meeting after the arrests in February, 2012, but insists nothing was said about his residency.
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In a media conference after the release of the report into unlawful monitoring of Mr Dotcom and an acquaintance, Mr Key said he was "appalled" at the agency, saying it had "failed at the most basic of hurdles." "Of course I apologise to Mr Dotcom, and I apologise to New Zealanders."
He said New Zealanders were entitled to be protected by the law "and we failed to provide that protection to them."
The report referred to is that of Paul Neazor, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security for New Zealand, responding to the Prime Minister's request for an explanation of the illegal interception of Kim Dotcom's communications. The report is here. [More...]
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New Zealand's national security agency illegally intercepted communications of Kim Dotcom when providing assistance to the U.S. with its request for his arrest and extradition to the U.S. A formal inquiry was announced today. Via Press Release From the Prime Minister of New Zealand:
Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau.
Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority.
The Security Bureau informed the Prime Minister of the illegal interceptions on Sept. 17. The Prime Minister wouldn't say what effect it will have on the extradition request, but it sounds like he expects the High Court to consider it:[More...]
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Kim Dotcom scores again in the New Zealand High Court. The Court has agreed to allow him to pay his lawyers $5 million using a bond that was seized during the illegal raid of his Mansion. He also got money for living expenses:
The money comes from a $10m government bond which was seized by the government on behalf of the United States as part of its internet piracy case against Dotcom and those involved in his Megaupload filesharing company. The United States position is that all the money and assets of Dotcom were gained through criminal copyright violation by internet piracy.
The ruling from Justice Judith Potter has also allowed Dotcom to sell some of the cars which were seized during the January raid.
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New Zealand High Court Judge Winkelmann delivered a solid win to Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload codefendants late yesterday. Judge Winkelmann upheld District Court Judge David Harvey's order directing the U.S. to disclose evidence to the defense for use at the extradition hearing.
Kim Dotcom's extradition has become less certain after a judgment which will see the FBI having to prove it has the evidence to back up its charges - and a finding the legal document asking he be sent for trial in the United States did not comply with the law.
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