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More Mistakes In The Megaupload Prosecution: Videotape Of The Mansion Raid Has Gone Missing

from the destroying-evidence dept

It’s really rather astounding just how many things law enforcement has done wrong when it comes to the prosecution against Megaupload/Kim Dotcom. We’ve seen procedural errors, evidence presented totally out of context, and the desire to destroy relevant evidence. And, now, it turns out that some evidence has apparently been lost or destroyed already. Apparently the security cameras at the complex recorded the details of the raid. Furthermore, the cameras and their recordings were then seized (despite not being included in the warrant). There have been some questions about who was involved in the raid and if they used excessive force — and there’s been something of an outcry in New Zealand about how the raid went down.

So, how about releasing the footage. No can do. According to Ars Technica, that seems unlikely to happen:

Since January, the Dotcom legal team has asked for the footage, but police refused, until finally the agency agreed that an IT expert for DotCom could come and collect a copy of the footage. When the IT expert arrived at the police station, he found the server completely disassembled, and authorities said they could not reassemble it or give him any footage. Now, no one outside the police agency is sure the footage still exists.

The New Zealand police declined to give an interview to Campbell, but sent an e-mail stating, “Police would happily release the footage in question but currently have no authority to do so. The footage is contained on a hard drive lawfully seized on a warrant obtained by police at the direction of Crown Law following a properly formulated mutual legal assistance request from the United States.”

Even if the case against Megaupload is really solid, it’s amazing at how law enforcement involved so far appears to keep making pretty serious mistakes that make them look fairly clueless. It does not inspire confidence in the more important details of the case itself.

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Comments on “More Mistakes In The Megaupload Prosecution: Videotape Of The Mansion Raid Has Gone Missing”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Reminds me of the time when the IRS did a raid, destroyed security cameras, destroyed the footage tapes, but didn’t know to destroy the backup surveillance server. So the IRS denied all of its wrongdoings and then the surveillance footage made it all over the news and the Internet.


Also see


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Somehow I think having the footage of his raid go public will likely be worse for the U.S.’s case than destroying the footage and getting accused of destroying evidence. The U.S. government (and governments in general) get the high court treatment, especially when defending industry interests (at public expense) something outrageous would have had to happen for them to get even a tiny bit more punishment and hiding whatever happened is probably more beneficial than not doing so because then they can deny their wrongdoings, point fingers,deny blame, and dance around the issues or claim “while we didn’t do anything wrong, we accidentally destroyed the footage. So you can give us a small slap on the wrist for that, but don’t punish us for totaling everything since we didn’t do it”.

Ideally, they should get the low court treatment and be treated as if they did the most damage possible, like anyone else would, but that’s not likely to happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

and here is the point. Had the footage been released, the public outrage would likely have been so huge that it would have substantially hindered their case. So destroying the footage is more beneficial since that reduces public outrage and gives the courts a better opportunity to give them preferential treatment.

So what we really need to do is be more outraged that the footage is missing, assume the worst, and give enough backlash at this outrageous destruction of evidence to ensure that the courts will deliver better sanctions and will rule less favorably to them.

but, of course, a video of swat teams wrongfully destroying property is far more publicly influential than a news article of evidence being destroyed. That needs to change.

Anonymous Coward says:

the tape has disappeared so it cant be seen just how big a balls up law enforcement made of the raid and exactly how heavy-handed they were, when there was no need.i am surprised there are no surveillance tapes from the house security system though. or maybe there is and they will materialize at a more appropriate time.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

it’s not an institutionalized state of affairs so much as a ‘current government is made of Fail’ state of affairs.

…. unfortunately the current government Wants it to be like the USA, and keeps making changes to that effect. *le sigh*

and the last election was …. dubious. i mean, when you have That many contested electorates and an actual Tie (well, until the special votes came in from people who were out of the country at the time and such) in at least one, with 1/4th of eligible voters Not Voting… and media Constantly pushing that the party who (surprise surprise) won was going to get a majority all by itself through out the entire election campaign… then there’s how the electorate boundaries were redrawn…

it’s all a bit suspect, really. not in a ‘we’re doing illegal things’ sort of way so much as a ‘we’re gaming the system horribly’ sort of way… but still.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sad as it is, I’m going to have to agree with you.

At this point, if I had to guess their strategy, I’d say they plan to cause as much ‘accidental’ damage to everything they can, all the while dragging things out to increase the strain, and then do their best to get Kim to settle, applying pressure in any way they think they can get away with.

Do enough damage, and court case or no MU will be finished, and at that point the message will be loud and clear to anyone who provides competition to the people funding/running this farce: ‘We don’t need the courts to completely ruin you.’

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well I wasn’t thinking of that case at the time, but it is pretty similar yeah. Just keep litigating or otherwise killing off any chance for a company to stay afloat, and it doesn’t matter which way the court rules, the victim is still just as dead.

Huh… well I was going to bring up the fact that Kim does have enough money to resurrect MU or a similar service, but then it occurred to me… if they’re willing to destroy evidence to make sure he stays as an object lesson to what happens to competitors, I really don’t see them somehow permanently seizing all his monetary assets too as being that much of a stretch. Hell, all they’d have to do is pull a UMG and just keep suing to drain all of his money dry, they’ve certainly proved they’re willing to do that in the past.

Anonymous Coward says:

Man, this is gonna be a whole carton of eggs on their collective face

This really should have been a fairly simple case. There wasn’t much question that something wrong was done. But what has happened?

-Procedure was screwed up every step of the way
-Weird, impossible-to-prove charges were brought on
-Evidence was screwed up left and right, and now apparently, destroyed

They’re going to screw this case up badly enough that he’s going to get off with, at most, a slap on the wrist. And if they can’t even put a real case around this guy, there’s no way in hell they’re ever taking down anyone who’s actually big.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Man, this is gonna be a whole carton of eggs on their collective face

Good News then !!!
Once again the inept corrupt government we have has shown its true face.
The Face of not only Stupidity but pure Corruption as everyone here with a brain knows.
They should just release this man at this point as a Public Defender could get a man off.
What case can they have now that they have screwed so much stuff up is beyond me.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Man, this is gonna be a whole carton of eggs on their collective face

Really as much as they have screwed up already Kim should get off free. At this point the government has done so much wrong how in the world do they seriously plan on trying to go forward with this case?

Can you imagine if this was a big time murder case? “Oh it is ok to clean up those blood stains and rent out the apartment again.” “Opps, we seem to have lost that bit of evidence.”

WTF are these guys doing? You are going after a guy that it should not be all that hard to find criminal wrongdoing and yet every step of the way you have the authorities stumbling around like idiots and shooting their own foot.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Gee they streamed the raid to the FBI office, and no one kept a copy there?
Given the treatment of Dotcom during the raid is of importance, maybe a nice mutual request for the FBI copy of the raid would be in order.
I mean everyone wants to see a guy decked out in raid gear shoving a maid to the ground screaming at her to find out where the bombs are.

Anything contained in the recordings on the system pales in comparison to the completely inept attempt at a coverup of the details of the raid. I mean they spent so much time breaching the dumbwaiter they thought was his secret villain club house.

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:

Re: we saw a mouse run in there

Maybe they were yanking the HD? According to the ArsTechnica article (unavailable at the moment):

The New Zealand police…sent an e-mail stating, “Police would happily release the footage in question but currently have no authority to do so. The footage is contained on a hard drive lawfully seized on a warrant obtained by police at the direction of Crown Law following a properly formulated mutual legal assistance request from the United States.”

If the HD is in US hands, it will never see the light of day.

mariush (profile) says:

Apparently they issued a statement saying they actually have the tape, just don’t have the authority to release it to Megaupload lawyers:

Article : http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6720276/Dotcom-mansion-raid-footage-safe

However police on Tuesday rubbished the claims, saying the footage had not been destroyed or damaged and it will still be able to be viewed.

”Police would happily release the footage in question but currently has no authority to do so,” a spokesman said.

”The footage is contained on a hard drive lawfully seized on a warrant obtained by police at the direction of Crown Law following a properly formulated mutual legal assistance request from the United States.”

The spokesman said the equipment was part of the wider evidence gathered and police would hand it over once the court gave direction on how the exhibits, in their entirety or individually, were to be managed.

Dotcom’s lawyers were asking for full disclosure from the FBI. Documents are yet to be provided, and it is likely a court hearing will be held to argue what will be released.

A date for that hearing is yet to be set.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Officer 1 “Oops, we lost the evidence. We musta mistplaced it somewhere.”

Officer 2 “Did you check under the couch?”

Officer 1 “Yes, I checked under the couch”

Officer 2 “Did you check in the closet?”

Officer 1 “Yes, I checked in the closet”

1 hour later

Officer 1 “Well, I give up, I looked everywhere”

Officer 2 “Don’t worry, It’ll show up eventually”

3 days later, Officer 2 is looking behind the couch for his television remote control “Ahh, here is the evidence!!! Musta misplaced it while watching television”.

I don’t understand it, how can they lose the evidence and later find it.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Wow, even the named trolls aren’t touching this one… guess they do have some survival instincts.

Regarding the article in question: Seriously though, at this point can we not try and find a neutral third party to handle the evidence, or at least a copy of all evidence? By this point it’s abundantly clear that both the US and NZ people involved here aren’t qualified to be in charge of a lemonade stand, so they certainly aren’t qualified to handle evidence this important.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well lets look at what he represents to them.

– One of the largest cyberlockers, something their tracking tech and 6 strikes agreements can’t touch.

– They have gone above and beyond the legal requirements to try and appease the **AA’s, but like in all things it is never enough.

– He filed a lawsuit over the MegaSong and the bogus takedown/private agreement with YouTube that UMG claims it has. This would very seriously undermine their efforts to get more control.

– The new music platform the MegaSong was promoting would have crushed any offering by the RIAA membership, and taking only 10% would have put him at the top of the list for the place new artists get found.

– He has a checkered past, and isn’t contrite about it. He’s done his time, but they can count on people to assume that he HAD to be a criminal in this case.

– Despite the overuse of orange and his past he was running a hugely successful website, so successful their own people were trying to get more of their content onto it for exposure.

– The dual (triple/quad whatever) citizenship he holds, and Mega being based in Hong Kong just adds to mystique of him being some sort of Bond-esque villain out to destroy the world.

– He complied completely within the boundaries of the law, but refused to cave and go extra far to appease them.

He represents a business model that works in the internet age, and they are still stuck believing all money made on the internet is just stolen from them. They still think Youtube is a fad and will go away. Its cute watching their death-throws. All they had left is money, so they paid the right people the right “contributions” and they are sure this is going to go down with Dotcom losing… and that really should show everyone how delusional they truly are.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

This smells

This entire imbroglio smells just like a classic frame up. “Trust us, we’re the government.” – like I’ll do that! Doing this, they have abrogated any of our trust that they may have earned in the past. If the NZ government doesn’t through out all charges against Dotcom and return his assets to him, they are in turn guilty of high crimes and felonies, not to mention misdemeanors!

Anonymous Coward says:

You don’t get it… it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that they have no case.
It doesn’t matter that they destroyed/lost evidence.
It doesn’t matter that they (insert all other failures here)

They shut down the Mega Constipancy. They killed the company without a chance of coming back in a timely fashion. Now they can gloat to their friends about it, and tell the public how evil file sharing is and how successful their efforts were.

We all know mainstream media hates a followup on a story months/years later, especially when it involves how bad the government failed at its most basic duties: protecting the people.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, apparently this AC doesn’t have a decent survival instinct…

1. Can you point out where in the article it mentioned a video tape? It doesn’t, for the simple fact that it was recorded digitally.
2. Given (1), then of course it is on a hard drive.
3. And with regards to (3), you seem to have missed a rather important quote from the original article, lemme post it to save you the two seconds it would take to scroll back up:

until finally the agency agreed that an IT expert for DotCom could come and collect a copy of the footage.

Emphasis mine. In case you missed it, the IT guy from Kim wasn’t going over to take the HD the footage was stored on, he was going over to get a copy of the footage.

This was of course made just a tad difficult due to the police apparently having decided they wanted to disassemble the server the HD was stored in, refusing to reassemble the server so the IT guy could get the copy himself, and also refusing to get the footage themselves and give it to him.

bloodypeasant (profile) says:

They haven't screwed up

If you look at it from the standpoint of their trying to send the message that the american government is a for hire service that caters to the super rich then it’s win win no matter what they do.

If they lose the case then they win by still showing that the common man has no chance of defending himself and only the super rich are above the law.

If they win then they prove to the next group of super rich that they are capable of taking down any target, for any reason and regardless of ethical, moral or legal considerations.

Drew (profile) says:

First off such incompetence is completely unacceptable. There is no doubt whatsoever that any of them were qualified to do the job of disassembling it. Any average Joe can take apart almost anything they know absolutely nothing about. What’s the problem with that you might ask… Well there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to fuck something up in the process. Not to mention what would happen if they tried to do the reassembly.

They seriously need to fire the every single one of the retards that were involved. I know a good deal about computers but let’s just say Google hired me to setup a whole server database for them. It would be the equivalent to me knowing absolutely nothing and doing what the moronic police did.

I know my limitations and sure my man ego of pfft that looks easy kicks in time to time but I know better. If you don’t know what the hell you’re doing DON’T FUCKING DO IT!

Using their logic I guess it would be alright to send a preschooler to do brain surgery.

hmm (profile) says:

did you ever think?

That taking down mega upload originally had nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with the RIAA and MPAA stealing legal content which can then be “re-worked” into songs / movies etc to turn a tidy profit…..

They want the evidence destroyed so badly so that no-one can say “HEY!!! I created that video clip / song”….

Side effect BTW of “losing” the video evidence, is that Dotcom can now pretty much claim anything he wants happened during the raid…people getting beaten with rifle butts, sexual abuse of others in the property, hell he could even claim they shot his dog because it wouldn’t stop yapping.

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