One Ninjavideo Defendant Pleads Guilty; Expect Him To Testify Against The Others
from the they're-going-to-lose dept
When the government indicted five people for being involved with Ninjavideo, we noted that the government’s case looked a hell of a lot stronger than many of its other efforts involving seizing websites, and we predicted that the people involved were likely to lose in court. So it came as little surprise that one, Matthew Smith, has already pled guilty. Of course, knowing a little about how these things work, it’s pretty clear that the feds did a plea bargain deal with this guy, and he’s now likely to testify against the others. That’s the basic deal: plead guilty to these lesser charges (two out of the six charges), provide evidence against everyone else, get a promise of less time in jail (which the judge can ignore).
This is why some other countries don’t allow plea bargains. It makes it way too easy for people to agree to say whatever the feds want in other cases, just to protect their own hide.
I still think that the feds have a much stronger case against Ninjavideo — though it still seems like this should be a civil suit, rather than a criminal suit. Separately, from other information I’ve seen, it appears that the feds do get some things in the indictment incorrect, including the claim that Ninjavideo hosted videos. That was part of the reason why I thought Ninjavideo was going to lose badly, but others have pointed out that while Ninjavideo tries very hard to make users think it hosts the videos, in actuality, it does not. Still, at this point, given the other activities of those involved in the site, I’m not sure that distinction matters. And now that Smith is likely to appear against the others, my original prediction stands: everyone else is going to lose badly, whether or not they get plea bargain deals as well.