updated 09:29 pm EDT, Wed August 22, 2012
US DOJ faulted for evidence collection, improper process serving
The New Zealand high court has ruled that the the United States must hand over all evidence in its case against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom before any extradition can take place. The decision shut down the US Department of Justice's appeal of a lower New Zealand's court decision earlier in the year blocking the extradition pending case information.
New Zealand Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled that without a review of the evidence against him, Dotcom would be "significantly constrained" defending himself, while giving the US Department of Justice a large advantage prosecuting him.
Megaupload's lawyer Ira Rothken told Wired that "our expectation is that that the United States through the Crown lawyers will appeal the judgment and further delay the extradition hearing." The hearing is currently scheduled for March 25, 2013.
Dotcom was arrested at his Auckland, New Zealand mansion after the US orchestrated a raid based on criminal copyright violations and racketeering of the file storage locker that allegedly netted Dotcom and his cohorts $175 million. The legality of the evidence seized was questioned in court, when a judge ruled that the warrants didn't describe the offenses alleged and were illegal.
The raid and evidence search that started the shutdown of Megaupload took place on January 19, effectively closing Megaupload permanently. Dotcom and company co-founders were arrested on January 20, after a raid at a Carpathia server farm in Dulles, VA.
Megaupload lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss all US government charges for violating due process rights in not properly serving the international company outside of US jurisdiction. The FBI and Department of Justice are seeking Dotcom's extradition to face criminal conspiracy and copyright violation charges in the United States, but the federal judge assigned to the case suspects that the trial in the US may not happen for a variety of procedural reasons.