New Zealand's High Court Steps Into Extradition Fight Over Kim Dotcom

from the not-so-simple dept

As the Justice Department continues to pretend there's nothing strange at all about its highly questionable tactics in shutting down Megaupload and having its executives arrested, the courts are still struggling with the details. A few weeks back, we noted that a judge in New Zealand rejected the US's demand that New Zealand merely rubberstamp an extradition order to the US, despite there being numerous questions over the case itself and whether or not extradition is appropriate. As part of that, the judge also ordered the US Attorneys to hand over the evidence they're using to make the case against Dotcom and his colleagues, such that they can properly respond to the evidence. The US, as you might expect has gone absolutely ballistic about this, insisting that such an effort is impossible -- and that "it would take at least two months" to get the evidence together.

Of course, to some of us, that suggests that the DOJ hasn't yet looked at the evidence -- and thus it shut down the company and arrested its staff first, without even knowing if a crime had been committed.

Either way, that months-long delay presented a problem, since New Zealand had scheduled the extradition hearing for August 6th, and the Megaupload legal team deserved some time with the evidence to formulate its defense. The latest, however, is that New Zealand's High Court has agreed to an "urgent review" of the original ruling. The court also told the US to start the process of putting together the evidence to hand over to Dotcom's lawyers, but that it can wait until the High Court has reviewed the case before actually handing them over.

No matter what, this is once again showing the US's hubris in this case -- assuming it could waltz into New Zealand, with highly questionable evidence, shut down a company, and extradite the executives to the US without anyone asking questions. With each move in this case, more questions are raised about the competence of the DOJ staff who worked on this case, led by Neil MacBride -- a former "anti-piracy VP" for the copyright industries, who may have let his biases and previous (and future?) employers' interests get the best of him.

Filed Under: copyright, doj, evidence, extradition, high court, kim dotcom, neil macbride, new zealand, us
Companies: megaupload

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  1. identicon
    PapaFox, 16 Jun 2012 @ 1:46am

    Understand exactly what the DOJ is appealing

    There are two piles of evidence in this case. The first was gathered by the DOJ over a number of years and most notoriously includes many petabytes of Megauploads customers' data located in Virginia (hence the involvement of Neil MacBride, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia).

    The second pile of evidence is that siezed by the NZ Police, acting of a request from the US DOJ. This includes 150TB of disks containing Megaupload corporate data and emails. It is this second pile of evidence which Judge Harvey ordered the NZ Crown Prosecutor to copy and make available to Kim Dotcom and his defence team. While there is an assumption that the NZ prosecutors are acting as sock puppets for the US DOJ, the court orders do not name or apply to any US entity.

    So, it is pretty rich for the US DOJ to claim that a defendant before a NZ court should not have access to evidence seized and located in NZ until the defendants surrender to the jurisdiction of a US court.

    Now I guessing, but I am assuming that the DOJ did not have access to most (if any) of that data before it filed the case against Megaupload. The DOJ has said that the among the 150TB of seized data is "10 million emails and a large amount of financial data". So clearly, it would like enough time to enhance (or perhaps prepare?) its' case using those emails and financial data while at the same time stopping Megaupload from preparing its defence.

    The role of judges is to pick winners and losers, and help winners win while making losers lose. However, most judges have a strong commitment to fairness and due process. They also have have open minds. So even for a certain winner (the vast, vast majority of extradition cases are approved), if they are caught placing a fat greasy thumb on the scales of justice, the Judge may decide to make them a loser.

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