Even If You Think Kim Dotcom Is Guilty As Sin, The US Government Stealing His Assets Should Concern You

from the it's-called-due-process dept

Earlier this year, we covered a very troubling situation involving Kim Dotcom and the US government. As you almost certainly already know, Dotcom is fighting extradition from New Zealand to the US to face a bunch of charges concerning criminal copyright infringement. We've written about those charges as well as the extradition fight many times. However, while all of this was going on, the Justice Department filed a separate lawsuit, not against Dotcom himself, but against all of his stuff. We've talked for years about the problems of the "asset forfeiture" program in the US, and Dotcom's case drives all of those points home. And, even if you think that Kim Dotcom is absolutely guilty, a horrible person, responsible for billions of dollars in losses to the film and music industries, you should still be concerned about the asset forfeiture aspects here.

Again, this lawsuit is technically entirely separate from the ongoing case against Dotcom himself. Instead, it's USA v. All Assets Listed In Attachment A, And All Interest, Benefits, And Assets Traceable Thereto -- which is a catchy name if you're trying to hide what you're really doing, which is stealing all the assets of someone in a foreign country. The Attachment A in the title of that lawsuit is basically a listing of all of Kim Dotcom's assets. In asset forfeiture cases, since the government is technically filing the lawsuit against the stuff, arguing that the stuff itself is guilty, it leaves only limited ability of the original owner of that stuff to try to block the government from taking it all. And, that was made much more difficult by Dotcom (who has never even been to the US) fighting extradition in the (entirely separate) lawsuit against him. The DOJ, somewhat perversely, used the extradition fight to argue that Dotcom is a "fugitive," to basically say that he can't try to block the forfeiture, and the judge agreed.

The end result? The court gave the DOJ a huge green light to legally steal millions of dollars worth of assets from Kim Dotcom despite the lack of any court ruling or admission of guilt. That seems like a rather big due process concern. While a New Zealand court has put a temporary stop to the US government taking the New Zealand portion of the assets, back in the US, there is an appeal going on over the initial ruling.

As part of that, three organizations that you wouldn't normally think of as associating themselves with the likes of Dotcom, have stepped up to argue that the whole civil asset forfeiture effort against Dotcom's stuff is a complete farce. The Cato Institute, the Institute for Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have filed an amicus brief in the appeal arguing forcefully about how ridiculous this whole case is (not the case against Dotcom, but the case against all his stuff). As the Cato Institute notes in its blog post about this:
The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause requires an opportunity to be heard and an opportunity to defend against government-initiated actions against your property. Unlike an escaped criminal appellant who is scorning the court’s jurisdiction, in civil forfeiture, it’s the government that has dragged Dotcom and the others into court. Moreover, given the amount of abuse in civil-asset forfeiture, the government shouldn’t be allowed both to profit from the forfeiture and suppress defenses by calling residents of other countries “fugitives.” Finally, the reasons for fugitive disentitlement in criminal appeals simply can’t be transferred to civil-asset forfeiture. When an individual is “on the run” from criminal prosecution, courts can’t enforce judgements against them, but a valid forfeiture order would be fully enforceable against Dotcom if the court has jurisdiction over the property. Fugitive disentitlement is also used to deter felons from escaping justice, but there’s no similar concern here, where the property can’t run away and the claimants are merely residing in their home countries. The Fourth Circuit should not only allow the Megaupload defendants to challenge the seizure, it should also consider striking down as unconstitutional all uses of fugitive disentitlement in civil-forfeiture cases.
Frankly, if Dotcom is eventually found guilty of that which he is charged with (which is a separate issue altogether), then it could be perfectly reasonable to argue for asset forfeiture of the proceeds from such illegal acts. But to argue for civil asset forfeiture entirely separately from that process and to abuse the process by arguing he's a "fugitive" in order to get those assets is particularly ridiculous:
Under civil forfeiture laws, the government can take property without an underlying criminal conviction based only on the allegation of a crime. Those whose property has been seized can get it back by proving that their property is “innocent.” The government, however, is preventing the defendants from even making that argument. Using the “fugitive disentitlement” doctrine, the government is blocking the defendants from challenging the forfeiture.

Fugitive disentitlement has historically been applied only to criminals who escaped custody while appealing a conviction, the idea being that a court could decide to dismiss the appeal because any judgment would be unenforceable against an absent defendant. Here, the government has decided that, because the Megaupload defendants aren’t coming to the United States to defend their property, they are “fugitives” who have lost the ability to defend against that seizure — and the district court agreed.
As the filing itself notes:
Stripping the claimants of their due process rights isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s dangerous. There’s a growing literature on the abuse of civil forfeiture—and those abuses are directly tied to the protections given to the claimants here, as well as the ability of government officials to directly benefit from forfeitures. This court should not ratify a doctrine that would make abuses even easier.

Moreover, the reasons for invoking the fugitive disentitlement doctrine in criminal appeals are inapplicable to civil forfeiture actions. First, unlike an order against an absent criminal defendant, a valid forfeiture order where the court has rightful jurisdiction will be fully enforceable. Second, the claimants here haven’t scorned the district court’s authority as a fleeing criminal defendant would. Third, by appearing before the court via counsel, the claimants haven’t disrupted the court’s processes or offended its dignity. Finally, unlike with criminal appellants—who may need to be deterred from flight by the threat of disentitlement—the claimants are merely continuing to lawfully reside in their home countries.
Once again, even if you think Dotcom is the root of all evil in the world, even then you should be concerned about this particular aspect of the case(s) against him. It seems telling to me that, in the comment sections on our previous posts, those who have argued that Dotcom is clearly guilty, seem to have no problem with the asset forfeiture. They don't see it as any sort of due process violation because they've already decided he's guilty in their minds, just as the US government has. But that's not how due process works. You're supposed to be found guilty first. If these people are so sure that Dotcom is guilty, why not wait until that's shown in a court of law, rather than having to go through this separate process to take all of his stuff?

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:40am

    The idea here is to destroy Dotcom, destroy his humanity, credibility, his life and ultimately make him an example of what happens if you defy the system. It is that simple. It doesn't matter if the Government wins, the damages are already broad and Dotcom is already deprived of freedom just upon accusations. The US Government has done that over and over and over again with whistleblowers or with those that go against big corporate interests. Pray you don't fall into the Government radars in a less than "good, abiding sheeple" or you will feel the full destructive wrath it has.

    I personally don't think Dotcom is a saint or even deserves any prising but he has to win. Or the tactic will prove to be effective. And anybody can be the next. Anybody.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      Even if you 100% hate the guy and thing he's 100% guilty, you still have to be worried about the kind of precedent this would set.

      What about the next guy that the US Government wants to take down that isn't so guilty and despicable? Are you okay with them stripping them of everything and railroading them in an unfair trial?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re:

        Here's the funny thing: I originally believed that DotCom was probably guilty as hell, but everything the US government has said and done about this case has changed my mind and convinced me that he's probably innocent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Funny" funny, or "funny" fishy (as they say)?

          I'd like to know what judge Kozinski thinks about the whole Dotcom affair, having now read most of his critique of the US justice system. I'm pretty sure a lot of the things he says about prosecutors are bang on here. He's got no problem with letting obviously guilty perps walk free when prosecutors lie and cheat just to get a conviction.

          Civil asset forfeiture is a travesty of justice too. Calling him a fugitive when he's lawfully complying with a court in fighting extradition is just insane.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 10:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Really quick question. What is he guilty of? He is not a US citizen, does not reside in the United States, nor do I believe has ever lived in the United States. How then is the DOJ able to say that he broke the law and deserves to be punished when from the best of knowledge the laws of the United States are applicable to the citizens of the United States? And yes I know this is not the first time something similar has arisen, something about Noriega and Panama comes to my mind but didn't they have to bring him the United States prior to charging him with a crime? Lastly comes to mind the question that if the US is able to charge Dotcom with a crime while not being a citizen why is it unable to charge actual citizens with crimes they commit in the middle east, crimes which were committed on fellow US citizens (stories regarding sexual assault are the ones I am currently thinking of) were not able to be prosecuted because they occurred outside our national borders?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        then when it gets comfortable. Move to the next phase.
        Any arrest triggers the forfeiture of all you assets, until proven not guilty

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        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nah, forfeit all assest DESPITE being proven not guilty. After all, you probably got off on a technicality, you digusting criminal scum. Remember, GUILTY, PERIOD.
          /s

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      • identicon
        Don, 4 Apr 2016 @ 4:58pm

        Re: Re:

        Ummmm ... the US gov't has been railroading people in unfair trials on behalf of the RIAA and the MPAA, and other entities, private and governmental, for years now.

        The goal with the "show trials" is to utterly crush the victims in order to supposedly induce "shock and awe" fear in anyone who might dare circumvent the dictats of the US gov't. Think of Mitnick, Manning, Schwartz.

        You might find this article interesting

        https://www.rt.com/news/318000-assange-interview-snowden-dotcom/

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      If Kim Schmitz didn't like it, maybe he shouldn't have made a living dealing in stolen property. Hope he loses everything, honestly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:39am

        The MafiAA pipes up!

        ... maybe he shouldn't have made a living dealing in stolen property.

        Have you any proof of that assertion? No, since he's not been convicted. You disagree with the notion of "innocent until proven guilty?"

        Well, fuck you!

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:43am

          Re: The MafiAA pipes up!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Median Wilfred, 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:19pm

            Re: Re: The MafiAA pipes up!

            *He's* a douche?!?

            Who, here, is advocating a lawless property grab? You are.

            You, Sir, are the charlatan in this scenario!

            Also, you're a douchenozzle. And it's not just your haircut.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Automatic Grammatizator, 22 Jul 2015 @ 4:11pm

            What was the point of this "evidence"?

            Uh... that video is a tour of Kim's mansion. Watching it all the way through reveals no proof that he's dealt with stolen property, unless you're talking about what the US government stole from him.

            Did you randomly decide to just throw this link at the wall to see if it would stick or something?

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 4:32pm

              Re: What was the point of this "evidence"?

              But... he's rich! He has nice stuff! If that isn't proof of guilt*, I don't know what is!

              *Disclaimer: Standard of 'Nice stuff=Guilty' only applies to certain individuals, and does not apply to: CEO or other executives of major labels and movie studios, *AA members or officers, or any political or government figures(unless you don't like them).

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Dotty is a supreme ass, you are obviously a jack booted thug, neither has anything to do with the matter of law being abused here. Does due process mean nothing anymore?

        Didn't think so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re:

        you probably shouldn't have made a career in dealing child porn then. I'll be by later to collect your stuff, criminal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Which clearly makes the US Government paragons of virtue.

        Never mind the fact that the US Government have been caught lying in this case, both to New Zealand residents and the New Zealand courts.

        Never mind the fact that the US Government's actions have been comparably worse than Dotcom's, given the powers of abuse that have been used here.

        Never mind the fact that the FBI were actively on the ground, operating in New Zealand, counter to their Governmental mandate.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:21pm

          "FBI were on the ground"

          If you're talking about the Dotcom raid, it was ICE with MPAA advisors.

          There may have been FBI agents of which I'm unaware.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:04am

      They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

      These are not acts of due process but attacks by the Department of Justice against a man. And they're attacks by a man (or woman) who happens to be within the system in a position where he can call on the department's resources.

      By attacking him unjustly, they've turned Dotcom into an icon against such abuse of power. They've turned him into an icon against tyranny. Thus an icon of the people.

      What he did to supposedly draw such fire has become irrelevant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:24am

        Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

        True enough. What one thinks of him personally doesn't matter anymore. Even if he is a douche. He has to win.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:43am

        Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

        LOL? Attacking Kim Schmitz "unjustly"? God are you delusional. He is a coward thief who made his living of of theft of property and refuses to face the consequences.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          MadAsASnake (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

          What property, exactly, did he steal?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

            Well now you're either ignorant or just trolling if you honestly don't know what he is infamous for.......

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

              If that's your definition, you sir or madam are a troll of the first order, but I think not, you're just a petulant criminal justice whore, into perversion of the system. I can see your woody from here.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:01pm

          Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

          Yes, because when the US government accuses a citizen of foreign country of breaking a law in a country the foreign citizen has never been to, the only reasonable course of action is to be led like a lamb to the slaughter in a broken justice system.

          It's no longer about the crime he allegedly committed. It's about abuse of power, US imperialism, political corruption and crony capitalism, and a biased justice system.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Derek Kerton (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:25pm

          Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

          "refuses to face the consequences"

          How does legally mounting a defense against extradition amount to a refusal to face the consequences?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

            Because he has not travelled to the US and made a plea deal, he is refusing to acknowledge his guilt and therefore avoiding the punishment that they think he deserves.

            In a reasonable world the above would be sarcasm, but it is how the DOJ think justice should work.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:24pm

          "Coward thief"

          [Dotcom] is a coward thief who made his living of of theft of property and refuses to face the consequences.

          [citation needed]

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gothenem (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 4:55pm

          Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

          Um, until Kim Dotcom has been found guilty of these crimes, according to the US Justice system, he is INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY.

          Perhaps you should remember this. The DOJ is now trying to prevent Mr. Dotcom from successfully defending himself in court.

          If the DOJ was certain of his guilt, they would not be doing everything in their power to prevent him from defending himself. The reality is, in their desire to bring him to "justice", they have made alot of errors. Errors that they know will be used by Dotcom's defense to very possibly acquit him of the charges.

          So now they are trying to prevent Dotcom from successfully mounting that defense by pulling his legal representation out from under him, by preventing him from being able to pay them.

          Look, it doesn't matter if Dotcom is guilty or innocent of the "Criminal Copyright Infringement" charges leveled against him. That has not been determined by the courts yet. However, the DOJ is abusing the system, potentially BREAKING THE LAWS THEMSELVES. And in this case, unlike Dotcom's, the DOJ is actually stealing.

          Whatever you think Dotcom did, he is NOT being charged with theft. To accuse him of stealing is wrong. Even the DOJ isn't saying he stole something. He isn't being charged with theft. He is being charged with Copyright Infringement. Regardless of what the media industries tell you, Copyright Infringement IS NOT theft.

          No, it is not legal, but it is not theft either. Just like murder isn't theft, arson isn't fraud, or assault isn't human trafficking. Just because he may be doing something illegal, doesn't mean that that something is something else.

          Anyone who says Dotcom has been stealing is nothing more than a shill, who refuses to think for themselves. He is being charged with Criminal Copyright Infringement, and has NOT BEEN FOUND GUILTY YET!!!!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:39pm

          Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

          If that's true, then of course you can prove it, right?

          Then again, the full resources of the US government don't seem to be able to prove it, so you may want to consider the possibility that you are mistaken about his guilt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: They've MADE Dotcom a saint.

            Then again, the full resources of the US government don't seem to be able to prove it ...

            I've suspected this has been in the hands of the newest DoJ intern from day one. It's the only thing that makes any sense.

            "You've heard of this intartubes thingamahooey, right?"

            "Uh huuuuuuuh (?!?)"

            "Okay, you go get this guy."

            "What for?"

            "Why's that matter? Are you new at this?"

            "I'm an intern."

            "Ah, I forgot. Carry on."

            "Woohoo!"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    rw (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 7:06am

    "If these people are so sure that Dotcom is guilty, why not wait until that's shown in a court of law, rather than having to go through this separate process to take all of his stuff?"

    When you know you can't win, cheat. If he has no assets, he can't defend himself.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:47am

    Our government is engaging in theft under color of authority. Shooting themselves in the foot PR-wise, because this is activity that few support and many shun. But more importantly, DOTCOM IS NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN; How can he or his assets be complicit under the law of a country he has never stepped foot inside?

    The fact that the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE is dealing with file-sharing cases, what should be a bastion of civil court, floors me. It's like seriously, don't you have better shit to deal with, the actual violent criminals that have a tangible effect on physical matter? People who murder or rape?

    It's beyond fucking sad when your tax dollars are spent on masturbatory fantasies. Get back to the tangible stuff, or, maybe we don't need this brand of justice at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 4:09pm

      Re:

      > > In asset forfeiture cases, since the government
      > > is technically filing the lawsuit against the stuff,
      > > arguing that the stuff itself is guilty,

      > How can he or his assets be complicit under the law of
      > a country he has never stepped foot inside?

      I've always thought it would be interesting to challenge this crap using the government's own legal fiction and bullshit games against it.

      If they're going to perversely argue that property-- inanimate objects, or even more bizarre, ones and zeroes in computer somewhere-- is somehow "guilty" of the crime charged, to the point of even listing the property as the actual defendant in the case, then make the government *prove* the property guilty of all the required elements of the crime, which in most cases involves an element of intent.

      In other words, make the government prove that house or that boat or that money *intended* to traffick in drugs or contraband.

      Without intent there's no guilt. Seizure denied.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 4:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Without intent there's no guilt. Seizure denied.

        Nice idea, but you forget, when you accuse property of being guilty, the prosecution doesn't have to prove guilt, the property has to prove it's innocence, precisely to sidestep the whole 'innocent until proven guilty' step and avoid the very thing you're talking about.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 7:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ... when you accuse property of being guilty, the prosecution doesn't have to prove guilt, the property has to prove it's innocence ...

          That's nonsensical. First, it turns "innocent until proven guilty" on its head (US has gone to Napoleonic law now?). Second, since when does the accuser decide between guilty or not guilty? That's for judges or juries to do. Has the US resurrected divine right of kings? Is next year a presidential election year, or will we see a coronation instead?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 2:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In other words, the US government is saying there are no property rights. Unless it is imaginary property.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re:

        Nor can property mount a defense.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd love to see that on Law & Order...

          Prosecutor to pile of cash on witness stand: If you're not guilty, just say so! (waits a moment) HAH! See, people of the jury? He can't deny the TRUTH... find him GUILTY!

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      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:47pm

        Re: Re:

        What I think would be fun, is to file an asset forfeiture case against a government agency, such as a police department.

        Anything you can win a 42 USC 1983 case on is also a criminal act under 18 USC 241 and/or 242. Therefore any department that has lost multiple rights violation cases has shown that they habitually use their property to violate the law. It would be much more difficult for a criminal organization to commit crimes without their building, cars, weapons, etc.

        Once the suit is filed, it would fall to the police department to prove in court that their cars, police stations and guns didn't aid them in breaking the law -- something they cannot do.

        Just imagine the LAPD or NYPD being bankrupt and evicted?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:52am

    It seems telling to me that, in the comment sections on our previous posts, those who have argued that Dotcom is clearly guilty, seem to have no problem with the asset forfeiture. They don't see it as any sort of due process violation because they've already decided he's guilty in their minds, just as the US government has. But that's not how due process works. You're supposed to be found guilty first.

    Um, if you want to talk about reality (and I doubt you do), the Supreme Court has held that civil forfeiture DOES NOT violate the Due Process Clause. This is so even if the defendant hasn't been found guilty. THAT'S how due process really works in the real world. Any reason why you don't admit this undeniable fact?

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      "Any reason why you don't admit this undeniable fact?"

      What undeniable fact?

      To my eyes, the undeniable fact is that this is nothing like "due process". Due process includes reasonableness and some sense of justice. This is neither.

      The supreme court's opinion on this doesn't enter into it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:25am

      Re:

      It may be undeniable that the SCOTUS as found this practice lawful, but what is in question is whether they got it right. How does taking ones stuff w/o due process not violate the Constitution?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:36am

      Re:

      Um, if you want to talk about reality (and I doubt you do), the Supreme Court has held that civil forfeiture DOES NOT violate the Due Process Clause. This is so even if the defendant hasn't been found guilty. THAT'S how due process really works in the real world. Any reason why you don't admit this undeniable fact?

      1. This particular case is more about the fugitive disentitlement question, which you ignore.

      2. Do you automatically think that everything the Supreme Court says is just and right?

      3. Do you think *this* situation was really "due process"?

      4. How about this situation: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150620/20213931403/nail-salon-owner-sues-return-life-savings-sei zed-dea-agents-airport.shtml

      5. Or this situation: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150515/10012531018/irs-drops-forfeiture-case-returns-107000-take n-bogus-structuring-prosecution.shtml

      6. Or this situation: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150511/09225630958/dea-takes-16000-train-passenger-because-it-ca n.shtml

      7. Or this situation: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150124/13012429805/irs-shuts-down-another-high-profile-asset-for feiture-case-gives-447000-back-to-its-rightful-owners.shtml

      8. Do you find yourself at all troubled by the idea that because the Supreme Court said civil asset forfeiture is not a due process violation, you're defending those practices in the links above?

      9. If your answer to #8 is no, how do you sleep at night or look at yourself in the mirror?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:14am

        Re: Re:

        1. This particular case is more about the fugitive disentitlement question, which you ignore.

        I didn't ignore it. You said: "But that's not how due process works. You're supposed to be found guilty first." That is descriptively false. That's what I'm pointing out. You are wrong as a matter of legal fact. Why do you ignore what the law ACTUALLY is? It's one thing to say that you disagree with the law. But it's dishonest to outright misrepresent what the law actually is.

        2. Do you automatically think that everything the Supreme Court says is just and right?

        Of course not. But what the Court says is in fact the law. The Court is the final arbiter of federal constitutional issues. I didn't say it was just and right. I said it's the law in the real world.

        3. Do you think *this* situation was really "due process"?

        I think Dotcom has extensive legal representation on multiple continents, and he's getting the type of defense that most criminals wish they could afford. As to fugitive disentitlement, I honestly haven't research it. I'm not familiar enough with the doctrine to express an opinion on it. My gut feeling is that fugitives who shirk their duties to the courts can rightly expect to have their protections in the courts lessened.

        8. Do you find yourself at all troubled by the idea that because the Supreme Court said civil asset forfeiture is not a due process violation, you're defending those practices in the links above?

        I think you're doing what you often do, which is conflate something being unconstitutional with something being a bad idea. I think you think it gives your rhetoric more force when you constitutionalize things. I think it makes you less credible. Civil forfeiture is certainly a bad idea in many instances, but I don't think it's descriptively a violation of due process. Due process means a hearing and a right to be heard, and in many instances, such opportunities are there.

        9. If your answer to #8 is no, how do you sleep at night or look at yourself in the mirror?

        I've wondered the same about you for years. I sleep well because I'm intellectually honest.

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        • identicon
          PRMan, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Seriously, can you read?

          "nor be deprived of ... property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation"

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          dood, you lost, accept it and everything will be better. Like that Jude song, cause you are obviously on something!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ottermaton (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Due process means a hearing and a right to be heard, and in many instances, such opportunities are there.

          And in *this* case there is NO such opportunity. The Constitution clearly states that everyone is always entitled to due process in every case. Your weasel words of "in many instances" betray the truth of the situation.

          That you refuse to acknowledge that these actions are clearly unconstitutional shows how intellectually dishonest you really are. You hide behind a court ruling and use its rhetoric to deny the reality that the DOJ is acting unconstitutionally.

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        • icon
          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "You are wrong as a matter of legal fact."

          Why should anyone give a fuck about legal fact when that legal fact is ethically corrupt and utterly immoral?

          It is NOT OKAY for the government to just declare someone guilty of a crime and then take their stuff before convicting them.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It is NOT OKAY for the government to just declare someone guilty of a crime and then take their stuff before convicting them.

            That's not what happens. Just like a suspect gets arrested before he's convicted of the crime, the property gets seized before the property is adjudged to be forfeitable. Both the arrest and the seizure are based on probable cause. The property is presumed to be not forfeitable, and the government has the burden of proving that it is before it is ultimately forfeited. This is the same as the suspect being presumed innocent, and the government having the burden to prove otherwise. You guys have some really strange (and wrong) notions about how this all works.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's not what happens. Just like a suspect gets arrested before he's convicted of the crime, the property gets seized before the property is adjudged to be forfeitable. Both the arrest and the seizure are based on probable cause. The property is presumed to be not forfeitable, and the government has the burden of proving that it is before it is ultimately forfeited. This is the same as the suspect being presumed innocent, and the government having the burden to prove otherwise. You guys have some really strange (and wrong) notions about how this all works.

              I love how you write this as if that makes it okay. This is my favorite of your bullshit sentences: "The property is presumed to be not forfeitable, and the government has the burden of proving that it is before it is ultimately forfeited."

              HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

              And the property gets to defend itself how? Especially when a court declares you a "fugitive"?

              Again, this is not due process by any stretch of the imagination, and throwing some legal language into it just makes you look an intellectually dishonest stooge. I'm sure if this were the 1850s you'd be out there defending slavery, since it's "just property." Right?

              The property was seized for one reason: because the DOJ doesn't want to allow a fair trial for Dotcom. If he's guilty, let's have a court declare that and then take his stuff. Why so scared?

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            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              " The property is presumed to be not forfeitable, and the government has the burden of proving that it is before it is ultimately forfeited."

              That's hilarious, considering that property is routinely forfeited in the absence of any wrongdoing in the US.

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            • icon
              ottermaton (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The property is presumed to be not forfeitable, and the government has the burden of proving that it is before it is ultimately forfeited.

              That is SO stupid it is almost funny. Haven't you been paying attention to the numerous cases where property has been seized with absolutely ZERO proof being given, much less an accusation of wrongdoing on the part of the owner of said property?

              Go ahead, ask me to cite cases of this happening. I dare you. I double dare you.

              You obviously have no clue what you're talking about. You think the legalese you throw around makes you look smart/well-informed, but your intellectual dishonesty stills shines through bright and clear.

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            • icon
              Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 7:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You guys have some really strange (and wrong) notions about how this all works."

              You have some legal theories of how it supposedly works.

              We have thousands of instances of it happening completely differently in actual practice.

              No matter what your legal theories say, they do not reflect reality.

              Santa Claus doesn't exist. Unicorns aren't real. Your legal theories are bunk.

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        • identicon
          RD, 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I've wondered the same about you for years. I sleep well because I'm intellectually honest."

          We'll see your true honesty when they come for you and take you and your stuff away. Your cries and protests of innocence and unfairness will be like mother's milk to all of us here, as you drown in a lake of hypocrisy and appeal-to-authority of your own making.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 3:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hello, troll. :)

          Question 8 seems to me to be a fairly specific question: are you troubled by your de facto defense of overt government misuses of civil forfeiture.

          Your response to question 8 consists exclusively of rhetoric aimed at Mike - that's an evasion, not an answer.

          You describe yourself as "intellectually honest", but there's nothing honest about avoiding uncomfortable questions.

          So tell me, lazy troll: why should anyone bother to listen to you, when you clearly cannot be bothered to be honest with everyone else?

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I sleep well because I'm intellectually honest.

          You've proven time and again that you're not intellectual at all. Care to try again?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      PRMan, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      The Supreme Court is wrong. The Constitution is clear on this matter. Hopefully in the future we'll get a fair Supreme Court that knows how to read plain English.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vel the Enigmatic, 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      Sadly Mike, he's right, the Supreme Court ruled such in 1996.

      However, just because the Supreme Court ruled such, that doesn't mean it was right or correct. The judges of the time were only human, and ruling such was a mistake.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      The counterpoint here should be fairly obvious if you read the article as a whole.

      This isn't a complaint about civil forfeiture violating due process. This is a very specific complaint about the use of fugitive disentitlement rules against non-fugitive citizens of foreign states to deny the right to civil forfeiture defenses.

      The article concludes with "the asset forfeiture", not asset forfeiture in general. The specific reasoning used to keep Kim Dotcom from mounting a legal defense of his assets is absurd, and hasn't even been upheld by the Supreme Court.

      All discussion of forfeiture abuses aside, the legal arguments in use here are substantially more subtle and unjustified.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:36pm

      Re:

      Citizens United showed that the Supreme Court does not always make decisions which are for the good of the people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 10:17am

        Re: Re:

        Yes they do, just depends on who is considered people, which is a fluid thing depending on the judges individual perspective during litigation.

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      > the Supreme Court has held that civil forfeiture DOES NOT violate the Due Process Clause.

      The Supreme Court is wrong.

      The Supreme Court once ruled that interning people in concentration camps and seizing everything they owned based on nothing more than their ethnicity didn't violate the Constitution.

      The Supreme Court once ruled that separate-but-equal was constitutionally a-okay.

      The Supreme Court was wrong in those cases and they're wrong here. There's simply no way to square the idea of the government taking people's property from them based on nothing but a mere accusation with the letter and spirit of the Constitution. The fact that the government has disingenuously twisted itself into logical pretzels and constructed bizarre legal fictions to justify its opporessive behavior does not cure what it is an obvious constitutional violation to anyone with even 3rd-grade level intelligence.

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    • identicon
      YankeeGOhome, 6 Sep 2016 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      USA is like Umbrella Corp with a Flag, worse than any banana republic. Charging inanimate objects for the "crime" of existing is beyond absurd. Why can the state take something from you if you have not been found guilty breaking any laws?! But the supreme court has done much worse than this. Corporations are people?!? WTF?!!#"¤""!!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:00am

    root of all evil...

    Are the ones going after Kim. Big Hollywood/Gov can eat shit and die. Clearly they serve no other purpose but their own self-interests.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:02am

    that's just legal... sorry

    asset forfeiture proceedings are legal

    kim dotcom can send his lawyers to fight in in court just like all the other people (drug dealers, terrorists, both international and domestic) who have to deal with it

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    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      What exactly has this to do with "assisting copyright infringement"? Which is civil, and not criminal law. And why would the DOJ be involved in the first place? It's clear somebody with an agenda is pulling the strings at the DOJ, and that agenda has nothing to do with law and justice.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:10am

      Re:

      Not all things that are legal are right.
      See Civil Rights movement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Carlie Coats, 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:38am

        Not all things that are "legal" are legal

        As a mathematician and logician, I find the claim that asset forfeiture is Constitutional to be an argument that not even a Jesuit or a Rabbinical student could make with a straight face. The SCOTUS is full of it!

        FWIW

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    • identicon
      kallethen, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      kim dotcom can send his lawyers to fight in in court just like all the other people (drug dealers, terrorists, both international and domestic) who have to deal with it

      There's a problem with your logic. The court basically said he CAN'T fight it because he's a "fugitive".

      And the ultimate goal is to make it so that he cannot pay for the lawyers to sent to fight in court.

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    • icon
      Chris Rhodes (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      asset forfeiture proceedings are legal

      kim dotcom can send his lawyers to fight in in court
      I know it's asking way too much of the mouthbreathing bootlickers who infest this comment section, but if you had exercised any reading comprehension whatsoever, you'd have processed that the government is trying to prevent him from even challenging the civil forfeiture in court.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ottermaton (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      that's just legal... sorry

      asset forfeiture proceedings are legal


      So was slavery. And prohibition.

      That these laws are entirely unjust and immoral seems to be no problem for you. Here's an idea: let those of us with a working moral compass decide these issues.

      kim dotcom can send his lawyers to fight in in court

      No. He can't. Do you even bother to read?
      Using the “fugitive disentitlement” doctrine, the government is blocking the defendants from challenging the forfeiture.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 10:21am

        Re: Re:

        That these laws are entirely unjust and immoral seems to be no problem for you. Here's an idea: let those of us with a working moral compass decide these issues.

        That is the problem, those with a moral compass tend to not be involved with the government, or better put, able to make it to high enough of a level to do more than file some paperwork

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      drug dealers, terrorists, both international and domestic... people who go to airports, people who ride trains, people who drive on highways, people who deposit less than $10000...

      I can't even remember the last time asset forfeiture was used on terrorists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MadAsASnake (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      Civil Asset forfeiture is legalised theft. Nothing more.

      Kim Dotcom has actually, in this case, been denied the opportunity to even defend against it.

      There seem to be an awful lot of people having the property seized that are plainy none of the above? What is wrong with convicting these people first?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Re:

        He can send his lawyers to challenge it in court. Honestly, he can claim non fugitive status due to his compliance with the extradition hearing and probably be heard at a judicial trial/hearing.

        This is how we should be doing it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "This is how we should be doing it."

          If he's an idiot. His chances of getting anything remotely like a fair trial before a US court are effectively zero.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      No, they're not using it against criminals which is why so many class action lawsuits are poping up against this twisted version of legalized grand larceny.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      > that's just legal... sorry

      > asset forfeiture proceedings are legal

      So was slavery. So was Prohibition. So were the Alien & Sedition Acts.

      Lots of things were legal until we grew up and realized they were wrong and put a stop to them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 6:55pm

        Re: Re:

        seizing the assets of illegal businesses is not on par with those other things

        filesharing for education, or to spread wealth to the poor should be legal

        filesharing to make hundreds of millions off the backs of the poor and the artists is something that should be defunded

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 7:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I would say seizing assets without a conviction (and in some cases, without charges) is on par with those things.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 25 Jul 2015 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > seizing the assets of illegal businesses is not on par with
          > those other things

          What exactly was illegal about this man's business?

          http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/15/attorneys-feds-will-give-nc-man-his-seized-107gs -back/

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          • icon
            tqk (profile), 25 Jul 2015 @ 8:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Wilson said McLellan had other resources to keep his business, “L & M Convenience Mart,” open since last October. But he had to fork over $3,000 for his initial legal fees, and some $19,000 for an accountant to audit his business to prove to the government there wasn’t anything untoward going on. The government said it will not repay those costs or any interest on the seized money.

            He's out $22K, just the price of doing business. Note, this was after the DoJ decided they need to rein in this practice, but the IRS has other ideas. Armed robbery, ostensibly in the service of the War On Drugs. USA!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:08am

    Asset forfeiture is great!

    I love that "things" can be arrested, put on trial and then taken. One day, rather than arresting criminals for murder, they will just simply arrest the gun used in the murder while the guy who pulled the trigger walks. It is like putting your child's toy in timeout for something the child did.

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:15am

    Sure sign

    That it is even possible to file a court case against inanimate objects is a strong indication that the legal system is not just broken, but fundamentally corrupt and insane and is not worthy of any amount of respect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:22am

    Private Citizen v. Statue Of Liberty

    How many drug deals, how many crimes are committed on or near national monuments? Why aren't these crime attractors being seized?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Irving, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:32am

    I've always maintained...

    ...that governments are simply the most successful gangs in each area. They all have their hands in alcohol, drugs, numbers rackets, protection rackets - just like any other gangsters.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:36am

    LOL. Kim Schmitz made a living dealing in theft and copyright infringement and now we're supposed to break out the pity party for him? F*ck that thief.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:38am

      Re:

      LOL. Kim Schmitz made a living dealing in theft and copyright infringement and now we're supposed to break out the pity party for him? F*ck that thief.

      No pity party. As the article clearly notes (did you even bother to read it or were you too blinded by your dislike of the guy?), even if you believe he's guilty, and he may be guilty, shouldn't a trial happen first? Are you really against due process? If he's that guilty, what are you afraid of in letting due process take place?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:42am

        Re: Re:

        A trial already happened and a verdict was delivered.

        Honestly, it was more than he deserved. If you actually think Kim Schmitz is innocent, you're delusional.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Still missing the point, I see. Again, the problem being discussed has nothing to do with whether or not Dotcom is guilty.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A trial already happened and a verdict was delivered.


          Where? Point me to the verdict that found him guilty.

          Thanks.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A trial already happened and a verdict was delivered.

          Are you coming from the future, John Connor? Because it seems this hasn't happened up to now.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I suspect s/he is dredging up his penny stock fraud conviction, which he was already punished for. I don't agree he should have been punished for suckering in greedy suckers, but it's the law.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:43am

              If only we had better regulations on exploiting human nature.

              If click-wrap TOS agreements and EULAs were regulated with the same fervor that we regulate gambling, for instance...

              One can dream.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Ninja (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh that. This is getting old, even Dotcom acknowledged he was an idiotic teenager that did it wrong back them. But it is one of the cards these trolls play. Once guilty always guilty it seems.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            maybe he means a secret trial in a secret court with secret evidence because national security or just the plain fuck the citizens ruling

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A trial already happened and a verdict was delivered.

          It doesn't count if it takes place only within the confines of your pointy head.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Dan T., 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re:

        Sentence first, then verdict, then trial. Just like in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      I'll remember that when your assets are on trial.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:41am

    Sue every single person associated with the prosecution

    Since they are accusing him of made up laws of their whim including conspiracy to blah blah, sue them right back. Every one of them clearly has direct ties to an organization that is attempting to steal funds across internation borders, strip liberties of a foreigner who has never been subject to our laws and then when it became obvious they couldn't win outright, are colluding to remove personal assets in spite of no clear wrongdoing or conviction. If it is ok for them to do it, do it right back to them. Lets see how angry Warner brothers gets when all of their assets are in limbo and their products and businesses are tie up in legal purgatory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Whatever (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:41am

    Think of this as August.

    Sorry, can't stay out of this one, the bullshit is just too think.

    First off, forfeiture has been given a pass by POTUS already.

    Second, Kim Dotcom is a fugitive. Rather than hiding out and avoiding his day in court, he is using the New Zealand court system to accomplish the same goal by appealing every ruling, no matter how small, until it gets to the top of their court systems. He has done so for three and a half years, and looks like potentially he could drag the whole thing on for years to come, just based on more appeals and frivolous motions (most of which he keeps losing).

    Third, Kim has a past history of hiding out in foreign countries to avoid prosecution, even attempting to fake his own death while in Thailand avoiding the German authorities. His game back then was pretty much the same as it is today.

    Third, the concept of asset forfeiture isn't unique to this case. Kim got rich off of the crimes he is charged with. There is plenty of legal standing for making it hard (if not impossible) for a defendant to use his ill gotten gains to fuel his defense on the crimes which generated those funds to start with. Remember, this is a money laundering case, which is not a civil matter, and even the copyright infringement is both a civil and criminal act as well.

    Kim is getting the same treatment that drug dealers, crime lords, and other members of organized crime get. If found innocent, he will be able to reclaim all of it. However, that requires something that Kim is loath to do: turn up in a US court and face the charges.

    Much of what is going on now is related to Kim's attempts to block extradition and to avoid facing the US courts. I understand what he is trying to do. Trying to avoid the justice system at all costs is the name of the game here, he was hoping perhaps to drag it all out so long that the US would give up, or that New Zealand would allow him to thumb his nose from afar, protected by their courts.

    It's not working. Even if he succeeds in the courts, it's likely that the government of NZ will move to deport him (likely directly back to Germany), as his visa application (and it's process) seems to have been rather tainted and not in the interest of the NZ people.

    The US won't walk away from this one, Kim will at some point have to face the courts. The only question remaining seems to be if he will have spent most of the money before he gets there, or before they lock it up out of his reach.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:46am

      Re: Think of this as August.

      I'm sorry, how many times has the US government lost in this case? Yeah, lying by omission.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re: Think of this as August.

        Actually, the US has lost very few times in this case, almost all of the losses have been reversed by higher courts. Kim in the meantime has face repeated losses in front of the courts, and recently suffered the biggest one, which is that all of that data can now be legally exported to the US authorities without issue.

        Basically, any wins on Kim's side generally lead to more losses.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 5:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          You mean after they fucked up the warrants and procedures and begged, begged, begged the courts to turn a blind eye?

          That's like claiming you've scored a victory at bowling when the gutter barriers are raised. Or scoring a goal when the goalie's been poked in the eyes and tied to the ground.

          Seriously, if you're just going to troll over the same, tired points about how the law is the law is the law, you'd might as well actually wait until August before coming back to shit on everything.

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    • identicon
      Dr evil, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:01am

      Re: Think of this as August.

      Whatever, Whatever...
      You are incorrect on the last point.. Once seized, the gubmint can dispose of it, even if he is found innocent later.. Requiring an actual trial(!) isn't important, the stuff is still colored gone. You should be worried, cuz they might be coming for YOU next.... (sorry, meant your stuff). Hugs....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:06am

      Re: Think of this as August.

      If found innocent, he will be able to reclaim all of it.

      This sentence is false. First, one is found "not guilty" rather than "innocent." Second, no, he will not be able to reclaim it. Which kind of makes the rest of your post meaningless.

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    • identicon
      teka, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:08am

      Re: Think of this as August.

      Yum yum yum, you are just loving those boots.
      Don't worry, I'm sure the government appreciates the spit-shine and would never ever ever violate Your liberties. Just those of criminals and inconvenient people who they've not gotten around to putting on trial.

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    • identicon
      Dan T., 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:24am

      Re: Think of this as August.

      Just how is somebody a "fugitive" from the U.S. when they are not a U.S. citizen or resident, and are living openly and legally in another country, and pursuing legal action in that country's courts in accordance with due process?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:51am

      Re: Think of this as August.

      First off, forfeiture has been given a pass by POTUS already.

      And everything is alright, yes? The Nazi regime gave a pass to burn Jewish people so it was ok, right? The monarchy gave a pass for slavery so it's ok, right? You are disgusting.

      Second, Kim Dotcom is a fugitive.

      Who said that? You? Because last time I checked he was very available in New Zealand and he has been cooperating as far as he can. The US Government on the other hand has done everything to obfuscate, withhold evidence from scrutiny and avoid due process. All the appeals, all the things Dotcom is doing are within his rights. And he has scored plenty of victories where the US Govt appealed. Shall we consider him innocent and say the US Govt is the one abusing things just because they are appealing? No, because the USG has the right to appeal too.

      Kim is getting the same treatment that drug dealers

      Yes, the forfeiture system was created to deal with the fact that the Government couldn't get said drug lords with their pants down. It was apparently a good idea that was wide open to abuse and it is being widely abused by the Government today, including in Dotcom's case. It doesn't make this specific mechanism a good thing.

      If found innocent, he will be able to reclaim all of it. However, that requires something that Kim is loath to do: turn up in a US court and face the charges.

      Why should he face the US justice system if he is in New Zealand? Does that mean Iran can prosecute American citizens that were less than courteous to Mohammed in America? Can't you see the madness of that idea?

      Much of what is going on now is related to Kim's attempts to block extradition and to avoid facing the US courts.

      Which is his right given his business is based in goddamn NEW ZEALAND.

      Trying to avoid the justice system at all costs is the name of the game here

      No he is not. He hasn't attempted to flee NZ and has cooperated as possible. The US on the other hand...

      It's not working.

      Actually it is working. He scored quite a few important victories. Which displeased your overlords at the US.

      You are a rather despicable person.

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      • identicon
        That One Other Not So Random Guy, 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re: Think of this as August.

        Go Ninja!!!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Whatever (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:07pm

        Re: Re: Think of this as August.

        Oh Ninja, you are such a dork sometimes!

        POTUS is the end of the line for justice in the US. They don't MAKE the laws, the interpret them and assure that they are applied within the bounds of the constitution. If they are fine with law, then it's the law, unless it gets changed by the congress and of the people. The law as it stands meets all standards of the constitution, as far as they could see. I don't think that POTUS is a Nazi regime. If you do, perhaps you should visit a shrink.

        Dotcom is a fugative. Look at this from Wikipedia:

        "A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from jail, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals. A fugitive from justice, also known as a wanted person, can either be a person convicted or accused of a crime, who is hiding from law enforcement in the state or taking refuge in a different country in order to avoid arrest in another country."

        Read the last lines carefully. He is in another country, trying to avoid arrest. He's continued legal maneuvers to stop the NZ courts from answering the simple extradition warrant are signs of someone trying very hard to avoid arrest - the very definition of a fugitive.

        " the forfeiture system was created to deal with the fact that the Government couldn't get said drug lords with their pants down."

        Actually, the system was created so that the drug lords couldn't profit from their ill gotten games and use it to fuel legal challenges, bribes, and other roadblocks into their cases. In Dotcom's case, it's a clear one: He's only "rich" because of the activities the US government has charged him with. There is no reason he should be able to use that money to try to buy his freedom. We don't let bank robbers keep the money they stole to pay for a lawyer, why should Kim get any better?

        "Why should he face the US justice system if he is in New Zealand?"

        You just answered your own first question. If he wants to hide out in New Zealand, then he is a fugitive from US justice.

        " Does that mean Iran can prosecute American citizens that were less than courteous to Mohammed in America? Can't you see the madness of that idea?"

        I see no madness in Kim conducting business with American citizens and then being asked to face the legal consequences for doing so. Your logic would allow people to sell American citizens illegal weapons and drugs from outside the borders, and as long as they never actually personally enter the US, be totally free from legal obligations. Let's tell the car companies, Honda and such will start selling cars from just over the border so they don't have to be subject to recalls... after all, that's just US law, right?

        "Which is his right given his business is based in goddamn NEW ZEALAND."

        Actually, his businesses were based all over the place, including Hong Kong and other tax havens. The issue isn't the theoretical place of business, but that he offered services in the US to US citizens. He conducted business in each and every of the states, and accepted payment for services rendered to people in those states. Your argument would work only if people had to physically go to New Zealand to download files. That is not the case. He sold access to Americans directly, thus making him subject to US law.

        "He hasn't attempted to flee NZ and has cooperated as possible."

        He can't leave NZ, because they would revoke his visa in a second if they got the chance (you know, the visa obtained apparently with lies and potentially bribes).

        "Actually it is working. He scored quite a few important victories."

        Most of his victories are reversed later on. Data? That was a huge victory, for a short period of time. The courts ordered it released to the US... so much for that victory.

        "Which displeased your overlords at the US"

        See, this is where you need to get back to the shrink's office for medication. I have no overlords. I am not even a US citizen or resident. I don't answer to them or anyone for that matter. It's your way to try to put someone in a box so you feel better about slamming them.

        "You are a rather despicable person."

        Yeah, I am really horrible, hating that Kim got rich on the back of others, that he is on his third go around with breaking the law, and that he used all sorts of mechanisms to try to avoid legal liability including relocating to a country where he felt the US couldn't get at him for copyright violations. Yeah, it really sucks that I think a criminal should be treated as one. Sucks, doesn't it?

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          "A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from jail, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals. A fugitive from justice, also known as a wanted person, can either be a person convicted or accused of a crime, who is hiding from law enforcement in the state or taking refuge in a different country in order to avoid arrest in another country."

          Read the last lines carefully. He is in another country, trying to avoid arrest. He's continued legal maneuvers to stop the NZ courts from answering the simple extradition warrant are signs of someone trying very hard to avoid arrest - the very definition of a fugitive.


          How about you read the first line carefully. To be a fugitive, he would have had to have been in US custody, and fled from that, which, as far as I am aware, never happened.

          You're trying to use the second half, while ignoring the first half, as though your own quote doesn't shoot your argument in the foot.

          Then there's this bit...

          'He's continued legal maneuvers to stop the NZ courts from answering the simple extradition warrant'

          Two problem wrong with this. First, is that even you admit that his actions in fighting extradition are legal, yet you seem to see no problem with him being punished for exercising a legal right.

          If exercising a legal right is able to be used against someone, then the 'right' doesn't exist at all. "Sure you can fight the speeding ticket... but your doing so will lead your car to be seized as a result, since only guilty people refuse to be properly compliant."

          Second, the ones who screwed up the extradition request was the DoJ, not Dotcom. If they had sufficient evidence to show that he would be convicted, and were able to show that he would get a fair trial if extradited to the US, Dotcom would have been shipped over years ago. The fact that he's still in NZ suggest pretty strongly that their case is crap, they know it, and don't actually want to try him or even demonstrate sufficient evidence that they could.

          Why would they after all, for all intents and purposes he's already been found guilty and punished accordingly, with his business destroyed, and the USG stealing everything they can get their hands on from him via asset forfeiture.

          In attacking someone you accuse of breaking laws and 'stealing' millions, you're defending the actions of people who have, and continue to do, both. Might want to get those standards checked.

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            "How about you read the first line carefully. To be a fugitive, he would have had to have been in US custody, and fled from that, which, as far as I am aware, never happened."

            Read it again. Two separate sentences. He didn't have to be in the US to flee US arrest.

            "Two problem wrong with this. First, is that even you admit that his actions in fighting extradition are legal, yet you seem to see no problem with him being punished for exercising a legal right. "

            Kim has far exceeded his legal rights, making motions in NZ to change the very nature of the extradition hearing, trying to turn it into a full blown court case to judge his innocence or guilt. He ran that one all the way to the NZ supreme court and got decimated. Every action he and his legal team have made have been to avoid the extradition hearing actually concluding with a ruling. AFter 3 plus years, this is no longer a "legal right" thing, it's about trying to exhaust the legal system and put unreasonable delays into the process. It is the same hand he played out in Thailand a number of years ago, just done on a larger scale.

            There is a point where his continued efforts to tie the NZ legal system in knots becomes an attempt to remain at large, a fugitive of the American justice system. The case has been there for 3 years waiting for him. How many more years should they wait before considering he might not be showing up?

            "Second, the ones who screwed up the extradition request was the DoJ, not Dotcom. If they had sufficient evidence to show that he would be convicted, and were able to show that he would get a fair trial if extradited to the US, Dotcom would have been shipped over years ago. "

            Incorrect. That is Kim's argument, which has been shot down in the NZ supreme court. Kim wanted all of the evidence to be brought to NZ and to essentially have a full trial before extradition. That isn't how extradition works. He wants to put the US justice system on trial. That falls flat because the US justice system is generally one of the better ones out there (like it or not). The NZ courts have heard the arguments and dismissed them, they will not try the case in NZ.

            "In attacking someone you accuse of breaking laws and 'stealing' millions, you're defending the actions of people who have, and continue to do, both. Might want to get those standards checked."

            The US government is working within the laws of the US, ones which have passed constitutional muster. They aren't stealing anything, they are seizing it so that the ill gotten gains cannot benefit the accused. The only person prolonging this issue is Kim himself, hiding out as a fugitive in another jurisdiction trying to use that legal system to block the US, which was his intention all along in setting up shop there.

            I have no problems with my standards, I am not defending a twice convicted felon and past fugitive from justice.

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            • icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              "The US government is working within the laws of the US."

              "The only person prolonging this issue is Kim himself... trying to use that legal system to block the US."

              One person using the legal system to prosecute is fine with you, but another person using the legal system to defend themselves is reprehensible.

              Yeah, I have problems with your standards.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          You're mixing up POTUS and SCOTUS. The current POTUS often *acts* like he's the one who gets to interpret the law, but that's neither here nor there.

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        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 4:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          Keep proving me right, despicable piece of tyrant.

          Twist all you want but you only avoid prison if you have already been sentenced. Dotcom hasn't. He's exercising his right to defend himself and prove the accusations are false. Which makes your 'fugitive' ramblings simply hilarious. I'm astonished you are so blinded by your hatred for the guy that you are willing to throw everything else under the bus. It's because we have a whole loot of people like you that a balanced justice system is imperative. You are lynching the criminal before even knowing if he really committed the crimes he was accused of. But in any moment here I've seen you talking about the continued abuse of due process by the US. The NZ courts even considered the raid against Dotcom's home abusive. So tonne down and stop being a little asshole that believes everything revolves around your bellybutton.

          Actually, his businesses were based all over the place, including Hong Kong and other tax havens.

          He offered services globally, based in NZ. Isn't that funny in this connected, globalized world? I've bought services from American, Turkish and other companies and yet if they are prosecuted here the best that can be done is to block access to those company. It has happened here to Facebook before they had a business here and, guess what, Zuckeberg wasn't extradited and tried here. Sovereignty. Go read about it, moron.

          He can't leave NZ, because they would revoke his visa in a second if they got the chance (you know, the visa obtained apparently with lies and potentially bribes).

          He can leave. And actually become a fugitive. But he believes the accusations are false so he is fighting them through perfectly legal means. As for the rest of your accusations (the visa being issued by bribery and so), did you take them out of your ass or do you have evidence and a judicial decision saying he actually did it? I won't hold my breath.

          Most of his victories are reversed later on.

          A few of his victories you mean. The US suffered reversals too. So your point?

          See, this is where you need to get back to the shrink's office for medication. I have no overlords.

          So you are delusional like that without money involved. Wow.

          Yeah, it really sucks that I think a criminal should be treated as one.

          Where are the convictions? Where is the irrefutable evidence? Unless you have all of those he is not guilty and you are acting as a little totalitarian piece of shit. Sucks indeed that there are people like you in this world. And you make use of the same rights you want to deny others because.. reasons. In a second thought you may even be a pleasant person to be with, I've known people like that. Doesn't make them less despicable.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 5:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            Don't forget that Dotcom surrendered his passport as part of bail conditions so he can't even flee NZ and escape justice.

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 12:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            " He's exercising his right to defend himself and prove the accusations are false. "

            Actually, what he has been trying to do is get the entirety of the case heard in NZ as the basis of extradition, and that has entirely been shut down by the NZ justice system.

            " You are lynching the criminal before even knowing if he really committed the crimes he was accused of. "

            Not at all. He can come to the US and have his day in court. In fact, if he had done so 3 years ago and was in fact innocent, his problems would already be over. The amount of effort he is putting into remaining out of the US is enough to make one think perhaps he knows that if he actually has to go to court on the underlying charged, he will lose big time. I don't know his thought process, except to say that he is working extremely hard to avoid having to face justice.

            Remember, extradition has nothing to do with guilty or innocence. The NZ courts are in no position to rule on that. They can only decide that the US has presented them with a valid extradition warrant, that the charges are covered by treaty, and that they have some semblance of a case.

            " But he believes the accusations are false so he is fighting them through perfectly legal means. "

            I think he knows he is guilty as sin, and is fighting extradition because once he loses this (and he most likely will) it will be all downhill from here.

            "So you are delusional like that without money involved. Wow."

            Likewise.

            "Where are the convictions? Where is the irrefutable evidence? "

            Kim has been convicted twice already in his life. He spent a significant amount of time in Thailand AS A FUGITIVE from German justice before finally being expelled from the country - he is banned for life. He is without a doubt a very smart person in some ways, he is also a twice convicted felon. I have an opinion as to whether he is innocent or guilty, and I also can look at his past acts and see them repeating in this case. I might have a somewhat different opinion if he was not a previous convicted felon with a history of trying to hide out behind other country's legal systems to avoid prosecution.

            The forfeiture, well it's not uncommon in criminal cases with large amounts of "ill gotten gains". The US authorities are pretty much spot on when they say it's likely that Kim would make most of it disappear if he had half a chance.

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            • icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 12:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              I'm sorry, but using the law to defend yourself is not an admission of guilt. Your respect for the law depends entirely on who is weilding it. Everything Kim does legally is wrong, yet everything the good old U.S. Government does legal is right.

              Nevermind that Techdirt's coverage of this case has NEVER been about whether or not he's guilty of anything, and always about the U.S. goverment's questionable actions in trying to prosecute him, and as in the case of this article, the questionable laws used to do it. Yet you and others always have to chime in that it's all fine because he's such an obviously dangerous and wanton criminal.

              Is your hypocrisy sinking in yet?

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              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 6:50pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                "I'm sorry, but using the law to defend yourself is not an admission of guilt. Your respect for the law depends entirely on who is weilding it. Everything Kim does legally is wrong, yet everything the good old U.S. Government does legal is right. "

                I'm sorry you get that impression. I am only saying that, like Tenenbaum and a few others, Kim seems to be playing his cards in the manner of someone who smugly thinks he can avoid prosecution through various legal arguments that don't appear to be very sound.

                I don't say that "using the law" is an admission of guilt. However, for someone who has "used the law" in the past to try to avoid prosecution in his home country, it seems there is a pattern to Kim's actions. He has tried everything possible under the sun inside the NZ courts to try to stop the extradition or to relocate the case in some manner to NZ. He has so far failed across the board. There is a point (undefined by clearly evident when it happens) that the "using the law" becomes more of an attempt to use the system to be a fugitive from justice. Kim passed that point IMHO a long time ago.

                The US has a lot at stake here, as do many other countries. The question is one of sovereignty, and the rule of law over it's own citizens. Kim tried to both do business in the US with US customers, and act at the same time as above the US law because of his physical location. This is more than a question of prosecuting a money launderer, it's about the bigger question if a country has legal stake in the purchases made online by their citizens.

                I don't personally find the US government's actions questionable, I find them inevitable. There is a point where the question of where a countries laws start and stop in regards to internet commerce must be answered. It had to happen. Kim is playing out his hand possible to the best of his abilities, knowing that with the data in their hands, the US DoJ is very likely to win any case if he makes it in front of a judge. He is trying like hell to try not to have to face that judge in a US court. He has put up an incredible battle, but he is running out of options and legal arguments that are not frivolous.

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                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 7:58pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                  Kim is playing out his hand possible to the best of his abilities, knowing that with the data in their hands, the US DoJ is very likely to win any case if he makes it in front of a judge.

                  I take it you missed those early attempts by the DoJ to have that data deleted? KDC wanted to preserve it to prove his innocence. I believe the judge agreed with KDC that destruction of evidence is uncool.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2015 @ 5:38am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                    Don't forget that Dotcom wanted to purchase the servers owned by Carpathia where the data was stored on after the servers were took offline and seized. The DOJ has rigorously rejected every attempt by Dotcom to purchase those servers so Dotcom could preserve the evidence and to use for his defence. The DOJ has demanded quite a few times that ALL the data on those servers be deleted and all without Dotcom gaining access to that data.

                    It appears that the DOJ only want Dotcom to see and use the evidence that has been cherry picked by the DOJ but not to allow Dotcom access to any data and evidence that could be used for his defence. Anyone would think that the DOJ wants to destroy evidence that could be used for Dotcoms defence or doesn't want to give Dotcom a fair trial. /sarcasm.

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                    • icon
                      tqk (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 7:23am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                      That's what I was saying (the sarcasm tag is extraneous). This's exactly the sort of omnipotent prosecutorial overreach that Kozinski's complaining about, and the same vicious bullying the prosecutors showed Aaron Swartz. They couldn't care less about justice. They want his suffering and pain to chill any idea of others to attempt to thwart the MafiAA's world view.

                      The best gov't money can buy. They don't even think this's wrong. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

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                • icon
                  jupiterkansas (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                  Sorry, but using the law to avoid prosecution is the opposite of being a fugitive. Being a fugitive means running from the law to avoid prosecution.

                  You continue to insist that somehow using the law to defend himself makes him a reprehensible character. I agree that he's a reprehensible character, but not because of that. Anyone accused of a crime by a foreign government would fight extradition, and fight to have the trial in their own country. This isn't Kim being subversive.

                  If you insist that Kim is being subversive by using the law, then you'd also have to agree that the U.S. goverement is being subversive in the way it's been using the law. The difference is that Kim is supposed to be a criminal, while the U.S. Government is supposed to be virtuous upholders of the law.

                  You can't in all honesty argue against Kim's actions while at the same time giving the DOJ a clean pass, and that's the wholoe point of Techdirt's coverage of this case. If Kim's a criminal, who cares what he does to defend himself? It's the actions of a criminal. But the U.S. goverment is not a criminal, so we care very much what they do to prosecute, and it seems their actions are bordering on criminal as well.

                  If you have to behave like a criminal to catch a criminal, then there's no honesty or justice left. That's why everyone's upset about this - not because they lost a way to get free music and movies, and not because Kim is their hero.

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            • icon
              JMT (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 7:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              "He can come to the US and have his day in court. In fact, if he had done so 3 years ago and was in fact innocent, his problems would already be over."

              And in the meantime he would have most a few years and millions of dollars more than he already has, forced to like in a country he has no interest in, unable to work or run a business and probably held without bail (OMG, flight risk!). You can't see why someone who believes they're innocent would fight as hard as they can against that? I'm pretty sure you would.

              "The amount of effort he is putting into remaining out of the US is enough to make one think perhaps he knows that if he actually has to go to court on the underlying charged, he will lose big time."

              Again, you seem to think simply going to court in the US would be no big deal, a minor inconvenience, a mere trifling. I'm not sure if you're being willfully untruthful or if you really are completely ignorant about what that experience would be like.

              "I don't know his thought process, except to say that he is working extremely hard to avoid having to face justice."

              He could also be working extremely hard to avoid having to face injustice. You might think the US legal system is a paragon of justice, but many people who've experienced it think its rotten to the core.

              "Remember, extradition has nothing to do with guilty or innocence. The NZ courts are in no position to rule on that. They can only decide that the US has presented them with a valid extradition warrant, that the charges are covered by treaty, and that they have some semblance of a case."

              And so far they've failed pretty badly at all of those things. You might think this has been dragged out by Dotcom's legal trickery, but if the US had a genuinely solid case this would've been over a long time ago. The case is weak, and lot's of legal minds smarter than you and I have said so.

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            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              "He can come to the US and have his day in court."

              He can, yes. And he'll face a kangaroo court where there is nearly no chance of getting a fair trial or anything like justice.

              I totally understand why he wouldn't want to do that.

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            • icon
              Wyrm (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              "Actually, what he has been trying to do is get the entirety of the case heard in NZ as the basis of extradition, and that has entirely been shut down by the NZ justice system."
              I agree on that one. Extradition trial is not about guilt or innocence and Kim already lost that recourse (trying to "prove" himself innocent to the NZ court).
              However, his overall challenge of the extradition is not wrong in itself.

              "In fact, if he had done so 3 years ago and was in fact innocent, his problems would already be over."
              That is so very unlikely.

              First of all, some of the requests he made was about the data that was seized. The point was that US wanted the data before knowing if Kim would actually be extradited, then keep the incriminating evidence (copy of files that violate copyright, of emails taken out of context, etc.) while destroying or encouraging the destruction of everything else (non-infringing files, emails that can bring context, etc.) That is definitely not the right basis for a fair trial.

              Second, fighting extradition is not an admission of guilt, as pointed several times in these comments. The "Case Study" comment has a major point: "2) that country has a bad record of over-exaggerated punishments for the crime at hand". US has a long history of unfair trials with over-inflated punishments in copyright cases. Who in their right mind would willingly submit himself to US "justice" in this context?

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        • icon
          Seegras (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 5:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          He's continued legal maneuvers to stop the NZ courts from answering the simple extradition warrant are signs of someone trying very hard to avoid arrest - the very definition of a fugitive.

          I don't think you happen to know what extradition means. Bascially, it's dependant on a treaty, which usually says:
          - The deed must be a criminal act in both countries
          - It can't be of a political nature.
          - If the punishment might be death penalty, a lot of countries won't extradite. New Zealand won't, for instance. Same goes for torture.
          - Citizenship. Some countries refuse to extradite their own citizens, but in turn will prosecute them themselves.

          Also, it's generally understood, that if a country decides not to extradite, it will prosecute the perpetrator itself, IF the alleged deed is a crime in that country.

          With Kim Schmitz, there is only one factor relevant: criminal act.

          The trouble is, it's absolutely not clear whether what he did is a) criminal in the first place, b) criminal in both countries.

          Because what he's accused of, "copyright infringement" would usually be under civil law. And people can't be extradited for cases relating to civil law. Even more, he's not even accused of that, but "aiding and abetting copyright infringement", which is even more removed from any liability.

          But the US insists, because he might have done "aiding and abetting copyright infringement" on a massive scale, its now a crime. Which is not even undisputed in the US itself.

          And now they expect NZ to extradite someone on a very weird interpretation of a US law?

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 11:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            "Because what he's accused of, "copyright infringement" would usually be under civil law."

            Not true. He is charged with money laundering, which is a crime in both countries. Commercial copyright infringment generally is also a criminal offense and not just a civil one.

            "ut the US insists, because he might have done "aiding and abetting copyright infringement" on a massive scale, its now a crime. Which is not even undisputed in the US itself. "

            There is actually little debate here. The question isn't the copyright infringements in and of themselves, but rather (a) knowingly selling access to the infringing material, and (b) creating a series of shell companies to collect "commissions" on these sales with intent to launder the ill gotten gains created in A, so that even if the site was shut down, that Kim could have retained the money. He didn't bank on anyone dealing with the web of companies created and pinning him down on the movement of the money.

            Money laundering is a criminal act in both NZ and the US. Kim has tried very hard to make everyone think this is only about copyright violations. That is so far from the truth, but clearly you have bought it.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 11:51am

              Money laundering?

              I assume there is evidence of actual money laundering on Dotcom's behalf?

              I don't remember it from the charges that were publicized on or just after the day of the SOPA blackout, when ICE raided his house.

              But I do remember a shotgun of charges including old has-beens like conspiracy which are only used when the DoJ wants to disappear you but has no real justification.

              So, considering the DoJ's tact throughout the whole case, I'm going to be a bit skeptical that there's legitimacy behind any of them.

              But feel free to point to sources that you think vindicate your story.

              In the meantime, repeating over and over that Dotcom is a criminal before he's even convicted doesn't make him one. And rather than convincing us more that he may be, it suggests that you don't have anything better by which to offer, except that you hate him personally and hope he loses his case.

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              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 6:59pm

                Re: Money laundering?

                "I assume there is evidence of actual money laundering on Dotcom's behalf?"

                "But feel free to point to sources that you think vindicate your story."

                You can go read the charges as filed, I am sure there is a link to them around here somewhere. The complaint is based on Kim setting up a number of shell companies to market and promote access to the Mega site in order to gain access to copyright material illegally, and then having Mega pay those companies a handsome commission on every sale.

                The basic theory is to have a way to move the vast majority of the money away from the company which breaks the law (copyright), and move it to companies who didn't have any DIRECT control over the content of the site. That launders the money away from the illegal activities and puts it in the hands of "marketing" companies, clean and out of reach of any civil actions taken directly against Mega.

                Kim Dotcom is a criminal, twice convicted of financial malfeasance. In this case, he is so far not been found guilty, but his actions are similar to those in a past instance where he ended up being found guilty after trying to use another country's laws to shield himself from prosecution in Germany. The result there was being found guilty in Germany and being banned for life from Thailand.

                So yeah, he's a criminal, twice over. Third time lucky?

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                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 7:48pm

                  Re: Re: Money laundering?

                  But I'm not seeing the part where he broke copyright law, any more than he provided a tool which could be used to pass along criminal data, but was also often used to pass along legitimate data (much of which was lost and never recovered after the seizure).

                  As for the system of companies, I'm not sure if this is particularly less ethical than the double irish and a dutch sandwich tax evasion scheme, or Bain Capital's company-acquisition-bankrupting scheme or the credit-overexertion scheme that caused the real-estate bubble or the LIBOR misinformation debacle that did a bit to wreck the entire world economy, yet there were no SWAT-style raids on anyone's houses, nor extradition issues on the accounts of any of these affairs.

                  I don't know much about Kim Dotcom, and he may be a total jackass, but I do know about Al Capone, and he was a murdering SOB, yet because we got him due to creative interpretations of the law, it's since become conventional to allow for creative legal interpretations to convert anyone else that the DoJ deems a bad guy. And today, bad-guys include you or me if ever we find ourselves on the inside of a police cruiser. Getting Capone wasn't worth the integrity of our justice system.

                  Even if Dotcom is guilty of copyright infringement that doesn't justify ICE's raid. It doesn't justify seizing his assets or labeling him a fugitive. It certainly didn't justify telling his legitimate clients to GFY because they dared to do business with what the MPAA decided was a villain.

                  Regardless of what Dotcom has done, what the DoJ has done is far, far worse, and reflects on what they'd do to you or me, if ever someone in their ranks wanted to destroy us.

                  That's the problem. And whatever you think of Dotcom himself is irrelevant to that problem.

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                  • icon
                    jupiterkansas (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:12am

                    Re: Re: Re: Money laundering?

                    And Al Capone was a citizen of the United States. If you really wanted U.S. Justice to prevail around the world and catch murding SOB's, maybe we should have just extradited Stalin? After all, I'm sure he did business with the U.S.

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                    • icon
                      tqk (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 10:14am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Money laundering?

                      ... maybe we should have just extradited Stalin? After all, I'm sure he did business with the U.S.

                      The USSR was an ally in the war against Nazi Germany. This would make the US a co-conspirator and accomplice to Stalin's crime wave. Uh oh.

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                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 11:44am

                    Re: Re: Re: Money laundering?

                    "As for the system of companies, I'm not sure if this is particularly less ethical than the double irish and a dutch sandwich tax evasion scheme, or Bain Capital's company-acquisition-bankrupting scheme or the credit-overexertion scheme that caused the real-estate bubble or the LIBOR misinformation debacle that did a bit to wreck the entire world economy, yet there were no SWAT-style raids on anyone's houses, nor extradition issues on the accounts of any of these affairs."

                    Actually, it is significant because it shows intent to move money from a potentially lucrative but likely illegal enterprise (hosting and selling access to the works of others without permission), and getting that money into companies who could claim to be "just marketing companies".

                    The double irish thing is abhorrent, but it was at the time "the law". I was tasteless but legal. That has since been blocked for the most part.

                    "Even if Dotcom is guilty of copyright infringement that doesn't justify ICE's raid."

                    They didn't raid him for copyright infringement, they raided him for the multi million dollar money laudering scheme he appears to have been running.

                    "Regardless of what Dotcom has done, what the DoJ has done is far, far worse, and reflects on what they'd do to you or me, if ever someone in their ranks wanted to destroy us."

                    yeah, total bastards, trying to stop a criminal and all. They really should just sit down and shut up and let people like Kim continue to rip people off and profit from it. Total bastards for trying to do something about it.

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                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 12:21pm

                      Raid for money laundering...

                      Let me rephrase that then.

                      Even if Dotcom is guilty of money laundering infringement that doesn't justify ICE's raid.

                      But considering that ICE was accompanied by MPAA advisors it appears they were more interested in copyright infringement, or at least appeasing the MPAA, who really had no cause to be at the Dotcom estate. The money laundering accusation remains dubious, and the necessary evidence wouldn't be at the Dotcom residence, rather in public records.

                      The double irish thing is abhorrent, but it was at the time "the law".

                      Interesting how you dismiss that, and don't even discuss my other examples, which have individually done far more damage to the world economy than Kim Dotcom could do with a lifetime of his schemes. This brings doubt to your sense of justice. It sounds like you are less about getting bad guys or guys who ruin it for the rest of us, but are out to specifically get Kim.

                      Maybe he kicked your puppy or something when you guys were mates

                      yeah, total bastards, trying to stop a criminal and all.

                      Sounds like once you're convinced someone's a black-hat you don't care about the truth so long as he's gotten. There are plenty in the US DoJ and courts that have a similar mindset, and that alone is adequate justification to avoid them like a Soviet gulag.

                      Even more conspicuous is your adherence to the notion that the US justice system is infallible (at least enough so to continue their contemporary methods with your blessing). That would include civil forfeiture, prosecutory discretion, surveillance overreach (and disregard of privacy), excessive SWAT raids, brutality with impunity, mandatory minimums, secret courts, secret interpretations of law.

                      If you would do me the favor and address these particulars (pro or con) I can get a better sense of why you would subject anyone to the US justice system and call it the service of justice, let alone Dotcom.

                      Either you really love and worship US law enforcement, or you deride and revile Kim Dotcom. Either way, it seems beyond rationality, and it's probably a good thing you're not in a position of authority regarding this case... or any case, for that matter.

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        • icon
          JMT (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 7:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          "Yeah, I am really horrible, hating that Kim got rich on the back of others..."

          That is literally the only way to get as rich as he is. He's just one of a very large club, so if you really just have a problem with rich people than at least admit that.

          It should be noted that millions of happy customers around the world contributed that money for the legitimate use of a legal service. The only people complaining were the movie studios who are the poster children for getting rich on the back of others.

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          • icon
            jupiterkansas (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            I'm pretty sure when he says getting rich off the backs of others, he means the backs of the movie studios and music labels - not the people that actually gave him the money, who were willing criminal conspirators.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:31pm

      Re: Think of this as August.

      So Kim abusing the legal system to the fullest makes him a criminal and a fugitive, but the goverment abusing the legal system to the fullest is perfectly fine.

      I guess the government could never do anything that might be considered wrong, criminal or downright immoral.

      But it's all okay because Hollywood has some superhero movies to make, and they can't afford to with some guy in New Zealand taking all their money.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:52pm

      Given a pass by POTUS

      forfeiture has been given a pass by POTUS already.

      Argument to authority?

      POTUS has already given a pass to mass surveillance and extrajudicial detention and interrogation. Do you think those are valid as well?

      Kim has a past history of hiding out in foreign countries to avoid prosecution

      Kim is not a US citizen. He's never been to the US. To him the US is a foreign country. Applying terms like extradition and fugitive to Dotcom is a far reach.

      The US's proper recourse would be to appeal to the New Zealand courts, or to an international tribunal, if they truly believed Dotcom committed a crime.

      If they believed that Megaupload was engaging in unethical business practices, since it's a corporation, it's subject to international corporate law, and there are courts for that too. But in that case, Dotcom isn't automatically guilty by association.

      No, this is whole affair is maneuver by someone in the US to specifically attack and ruin Dotcom.

      Third, the concept of asset forfeiture isn't unique to this case. Kim got rich off of the crimes he is charged with.

      The crimes he's charged with are pretty vague and dubious.

      The use of asset forfeiture in the case of Dotcom actually demonstrates its questionable validity when applied to incidents involving more serious crimes such as trafficking.

      In all cases of asset forfeiture, we're talking a grotesque presumption of guilt prior to conviction which is contrary to a fundamental principal in US justice.

      The Dotcom affair is driven by is people in the US DoJ holding a grudge against Kim Dotcom and seeking to destroy him. This is not justice by any sense of the word, and the incident has already done damage to the world economy by shaking confidence in the United States as a nation of law, plus the entire market of cloud computing. Your cloud data is now subject not just to natural disasters, but the whims of VIPs with in government agencies.

      Do business in or with the United States, and the Department of Justice may choose to behave as a mob and take your assets by force without any recourse or consequence. Furthermore when Megaupload data was seized the DoJ failed to consider the legitimate clients who used the service as a cyberlocker.

      These are the behaviors of an organized criminal syndicate or a tyrannical dictatorship, not a state of law and commerce.

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    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:57pm

      Re: Think of this as August.

      So many dangerous arguments in there.
      - "First", getting a pass by the president isn't very meaningful. I'd like a more impartial validation.
      - "Second", using legal recourse against extradition isn't "being a fugitive". Legal recourse is, by definition, legal, unlike just running away from legal summons. Moreover, it magically becomes "bad" when a citizen does it while it's normal (or even "good") when the government abuses the legal system? Talk about double-standards.
      - "Third", "asset forfeiture not being unique to his case" doesn't make this a good thing. And Mike uses this as an illustration that it's not a good thing in general. He's not defending Dotcom, he's not saying "forfeiture shouldn't have been used here". He's saying that asset forfeiture is a flawed procedure, and it's easy to abuse. For anyone. It sounds like, even in case of actual fugitive, he doesn't think it's "due process".
      - Next, he might be able to reclaim it, but it's highly doubtful and that certainly won't be trivial. (Mike already responded to that one.) As for getting the same treatment as druglords and organized crime... Seriously? That's your argument there?
      - Finally, so what if Dotcom fails in his recourse against extradition or sending his data to US? He has the right to them, to have these options examined and rejected in due process.

      I agree with one thing though, but not worded as you did.
      Since fighting on legal grounds is costly, will Kim have to face US courts with the means to have a fair trial (if he ever has to)? Or will he be deprived of resource through dubious processes before then? And (still he he has to face US courts) will he even have the rights to a fair trial, having the money for it or not? That already seems doubtful, notwithstanding guilt or innocence.

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 8:21pm

        Re: Re: Think of this as August.

        Second: Legal recourse is fine. Attempting to fight extradition is fine. However, understand that even if he wins his extradition case (unlikely at this point), he will still be a fugitive. His actions in the extradition hearings (including trying to get the entire case moved to NZ) has been nothing more than time wasting efforts. Endless delays means that Kim has spent millions of dollars trying to keep himself from even facing the US courts. so...

        Kim has made his choices to spend his money on a legal battle in NZ and not in the US. If he arrives in the US entirely broke, it's really his own fault. He could have easily just accepted the extradition and fought the legal battles in the US, which potentially would be already over by now. Instead, he has spent millions trying to avoid even getting to the US to face the legal issues.

        "As for getting the same treatment as druglords and organized crime... Seriously? That's your argument there?"

        Considering the amounts of money involved, the size of his criminal enterprise is significant and not unlike a drug lord or other organized crime figures. We are not talking pennies here, we are talking something between 100 and 300 million dollars. This isn't some torrent site operator who took in a few bucks to pay his hosting.

        " he's not saying "forfeiture shouldn't have been used here". He's saying that asset forfeiture is a flawed procedure, and it's easy to abuse. For anyone. It sounds like, even in case of actual fugitive, he doesn't think it's "due process"."

        What due process are we talking about here? Should the US stand back and allow Kim to continue to enjoy the benefits of his (alleged) crimes, thumbing his nose from afar and spending that money to further delay or avoid facing justice? The delays of due process here are entirely the makings of Kim and his legal team. Securing the ill gotten gains and assuring they are not used to further the criminal's interest is a valid and reasonable concept here. Again,we would not allow a bank robber to keep the money he acquired during his criminal acts to pay his legal fees, why should Kim get any bigger benefit? If you think of it as evidence seized, you get a better idea of the logic to the process. If Kim had justifications for the money that didn't involve the corrupt businesses, you can be sure his lawyers would be in court arguing that point. They aren't arguing it because they know it's not true and they would lose outright.

        Separating a criminal from his loot, no matter the type of crime, is almost always in the public's interest. In Kim's case, it's even more important so as to avoid the likelihood that he would go on the lam given half the chance. Remember, this is the guy who hid out in Thailand to avoid German authorities, and that was for a significantly smaller and less important charge. You don't think that Kim would be on a private plane to Equador tomorrow if he could? he would do it in a flash, I am sure. It's why his conditions in the NZ include not getting on boats, helicopters, and so on. Nobody wants him to act as he has in the past to avoid his legal issues.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          The problem with your entire argument is that copyright infringement is a CIVIL MATTER. The question that needs to be asked more fervently is 'Why the hell mis the DOJ involved at all? Just how do you explain being a criminal figative from a civil matter?

          As an aside, the US Supreme Court has proven that either they cannot read (the plain language of the Constitution) or they are excecuting an agenda beyond thier purview in several instances. This WILL lead to circumstances that they will regret when the ultimate winners come looking for them, which probably won't happen in what remains of my lifetime. That is neither a threat or a promise, but a prediction.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            The DOJ is involved because the charges against KDC are predicated upon alleged violations of various US criminal laws.

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          He could have easily just accepted the extradition and fought the legal battles in the US, which potentially would be already over by now.

          Noone in his right mind would have done that and not even a lying jackass like you would ever haved dared to lay yourself at the mercy at such a vindictive government.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 1:01am

          Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

          Legal recourse is fine. Attempting to fight extradition is fine. However, understand that even if he wins his extradition case (unlikely at this point), he will still be a fugitive.

          Did you even read what you just wrote? Attempting to fight extradition if fine... but doing so will get you classified as a fugitive?

          You can not have it both ways. If fighting extradition is a legal right, then there should be no penalty for exercising that right. Claiming that merely fighting extradition means you're a fugitive only makes sense if doing so was considered a criminal action itself.

          The DOJ's actions here are blatantly meant as retribution for Dotcom's refusal to be a good little peon and come to the US, punishment for his exercising his right to fight the extradition request by using his doing so against him.

          The delays of due process here are entirely the makings of Kim and his legal team.

          Hardly. As far back as 2012 Dotcom offered to skip the extradition fight entirely if the DOJ simply allowed him access to sufficient funds to defend himself, along with living expenses, and guaranteed a fair trial. Take a wild guess what the response was.

          The DoJ refused.

          The DoJ could have bypassed the extradition process entirely by simply assuring a fair trial, and allowing Dotcom to access funds for his legal defense/living expenses while in the US. The fact that they instead chose to fight it out for years suggest quite strongly that a) they have no interest in giving him a fair trial, and/or b) they know that if Dotcom is allowed the funds to pay for a solid legal defense team they(the DoJ) will lose should the case be brought to court.

          If Kim had justifications for the money that didn't involve the corrupt businesses, you can be sure his lawyers would be in court arguing that point. They aren't arguing it because they know it's not true and they would lose outright.

          Hardly, if they're not pursuing that particular argument, it's because they know it would be a waste of time, given you can bet the DOJ would insist that the only way he'll get his money back is if he agrees to be extradited, goes to the US, and wins the (rigged) case against him.

          Separating a criminal from his loot, no matter the type of crime, is almost always in the public's interest.

          No, it really isn't, not when it involves barring someone from effectively defending themselves. If the government, or other agencies, are allowed to strip someone of their funds merely by accusing them of being guilty, then defending yourself against charges becomes all but impossible.

          Going to court costs money, lots of it, and only allowing one side access to funds takes an already tilted 'justice' system and makes it entirely one-sided, with one side having effectively unlimited funds, and the other effectively nothing.

          Though I'm sure you'll disagree, a modification of an old saying comes to mind:

          "I'd rather 99 criminals have access to their money and an adequate legal defense as a result, even if it allows them to walk, if it means 1 innocent person has access to funding and adequate legal defense and walks as well."

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 12:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

            "Hardly. As far back as 2012 Dotcom offered to skip the extradition fight entirely if the DOJ simply allowed him access to sufficient funds to defend himself, along with living expenses, and guaranteed a fair trial. Take a wild guess what the response was.

            The DoJ refused."

            What Kim wanted was a special deal. He wanted to be able to use the money generated by the (alleged) criminal enterprise to defend it. Moreover, his version of "living expenses" is enough to make most of us cry, he spends more in a day than many of us spend in a month or even a year.

            Poverty shouldn't be his issue. While crying about a lack of funds for his defense, Kim has spent untold millions on both a political campaign and attempts to launch his music career - both of which have proven to be major failures. The price tag for that stuff is anywhere from 5 to 10 million. I don't know about you, but I could mount a pretty good defense starting with that type of funding. Further, had he not fought extradition, he like could have saved millions more that have been spent on solicitors in NZ.

            "No, it really isn't, not when it involves barring someone from effectively defending themselves."

            See above. Kim has proven to have no control over his spending or lifestyle.

            As for the "fair trial", everyone in the US generally gets one, no matter how hard some people try to paint it otherwise. There are thousands of cases heard in the US each day, and the US justice system is actually one of the fairest and most balanced in the world, biased heavily towards the defendant for the most part.

            "Going to court costs money, lots of it, and only allowing one side access to funds takes an already tilted 'justice' system and makes it entirely one-sided, with one side having effectively unlimited funds, and the other effectively nothing."

            Two things. Number one, you can't outspend the government, not in any way shape or form. The notion of a fair trial being based entirely on the size of a bankroll is absurd. The quality of your lawyer or legal team may differ based on what you are willing to pay, but that does not change the basic fairness of the legal system. That Kim has wasted more than enough money to mount a spectacular defense goes a long way to show that he never had any intent to come to the US to start with. My guess is that given access to all of his funds, he would have found a way to spend every penny of the ill gotten gains in his defense, so that nothing could be recovered.

            "No, it really isn't, not when it involves barring someone from effectively defending themselves. If the government, or other agencies, are allowed to strip someone of their funds merely by accusing them of being guilty, then defending yourself against charges becomes all but impossible. "

            All Kim has to do is come to court and show that some, part, or even all of the funds are the result of legitimate businesses and investments made that do not come from the poisoned tree. He doesn't even have to do it in person, he just needs his lawyer to show up and do it. Yet, it seems that Kim cannot produce anything that goes against the claims of the government, and thus forfeiture has been granted.

            The issue isn't the US government getting uppity, no matter how hard Mike and others try to paint it. Kim could have gotten on an airplane 3 years ago, and the case would already be done and dusted by now. As an innocent man, he would have all of his funds, and potentially an interesting legal claim against the US. As a guilty man, he would probably be service 10-20 years with full forfeiture of all of his assets, and a long series of civil suits on top.

            Kim doesn't want to take the risk. Kim is unable to explain where much of his money comes from outside of the Mega situation. He seems unwilling to make that argument in a court of law.

            Remember, they all have access to THEIR money, just not the money generated by the alledged crime. We don't let bank robbers use the money they stole to fund their defense. Why should Kim get special treatment?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 12:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              "Kim could have gotten on an airplane 3 years ago, and the case would already be done and dusted by now."

              Why the fuck would he do that? He's not a U.S. citizen, he's never been to this country. Guilty, not guilty, who cares? He's not from here. If i were him, I would spend every penny I had, every resource I could, using every available means possible to tell the arrogant fucks that think their laws apply to the world, to fuck off. The guy's going to end up a hero after all this.

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              • icon
                tqk (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 1:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                The guy's going to end up a hero after all this.

                More likely a martyr. Banged up in prison for life, a pauper, by corrupt prosecution, on orders of the MafiAA.

                The US no longer has a Justice system. It's a Legal system, and they can get away with anything they choose to, and they sleep well at night.

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            • icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 12:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              Your faith in the U.S. legal system is impressive. It's as if the U.S. courts have never had over-hyped, media bait show trials.

              But why should someone travel to a foreign country on the opposite side of the planet to defend themselves if they are not legally required to, and at this point, he is not legally required to. To do otherwise would be ridiculous.

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            • icon
              tqk (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 1:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

              As for the "fair trial", everyone in the US generally gets one, no matter how hard some people try to paint it otherwise.

              Go read judge Kozinski's paper. You're a drooling sychophant and a liar.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 2:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                Please, what do judges know when it comes to what happens in court? /s

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 6:53pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                Nice personal attack! How quaint.

                The US justice system isn't perfect. It's a court of humans by humans, and will never be absolute in it's standing. It is however a system with many checks and balances, many levels of appeal, many benefits to a defendant that just does not happen in many other places on the planet. No matter what you read online, no matter what the judge wrote, the court system of the US is as far from banana republic stuff as you can get.

                If that's drooling, well, get me a towel to mop up the mess.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 7:24pm

                  "A system of many checks and balances"

                  The failure of the US justice system has been revealed by the treatment of whistleblowers in the current era, and by our sizable prison population which remains larger per capita than any other nation in the world.

                  And this is not even getting into the treatment of our prisoners.

                  But even the state itself doesn't trust the judicial integrity of its own court system as demonstrated by our administration's unwillingness to let our extrajudicial prisoners at camp X-Ray their due process, allegedly on the fear that they might be find arbitrarily innocent the way that so many common US citizens are found arbitrarily guilty.

                  Even the notion of civil forfeiture doesn't make sense if the justice system worked. In that case no prosecution would be afraid of the kind of defense that a large budget could provide, since, in a not quite perfect system, justice would be seen regardless of the quality of defense. The wealth of the defendant should not be a factor in the courts enough to warrant an asset seizure program.

                  Police privilege, prosecutory discretion, biased judges and a heaving sell of plea-bargains are now notorious elements of the US courts to favor guilty convictions and jail time of innocent Americans.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  techflaws (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 11:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                  If that's drooling, well, get me a towel to mop up the mess.

                  While at it, go over and visit Manning to talk about what a super fair trial that was.

                  Post your results here to enlighten us all.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  jupiterkansas (profile), 24 Jul 2015 @ 8:18am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Think of this as August.

                  I'd like to imagine the New Zealand court system is at least on par with the U.S. as far as fair treatment of citizens go. It's not a banana republic either.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:35pm

      Re: Think of this as August.

      Sorry, can't stay out of this one, the bullshit is just too think.

      We know you're too full of bullshit to think. No need to remind anyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul Clark, 22 Jul 2015 @ 9:57am

    Could DOT.COM file a Complaint Under TPP Once IT IS In Force

    Under the terms of the TPP, would DOT.COM be able to file a claim under the investor state dispute tribunnal? This definitely seems like a sovereign nation undertaking actions to limit a company's profits

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:06am

    In the movie version of this story...

    ...Dotcom would not only successfully recover his assets but would successfully challenge the institute of asset forfeiture so it can no longer be used against the rest of us.

    Batman optimism, I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:35am

    Of course he's guilty as sin. But that's never mattered to you, has it?

    Says everything.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-05-14/tour-kim-dotcom-s-mansion-in-new-zealand

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      Troll: OH-MY-GAWD!! He has a mansion! He must be guilty!!!
      Everybody else: Guilty of what?
      Troll: Of... Of... BEING FAT! DEATH TO THE FAT GUY!

      Awesome logic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      You think that matters to the idiots at Techdirt? They'll say anything as long as it fits their "oh I'm such an edgy rebel look at me" narrative.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:10pm

        Re: Re:

        ... "oh I'm such an edgy rebel look at me" narrative.

        That's what you get from TD?!? A bunch of generally educated, working techies poring over legalese and political machinations and gov't usurpation and regulatory capture and corporatocracy, and you think we'd be proud of that "edgy rebel" label?

        Your masters are paying you way too much. What, they couldn't find anyone better than you to spew this !@#$? I'm not really surprised. Who in their right mind could stomach it if they weren't desperate for an easy payday for little to no effort on your part?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:54pm

        Man you're bad at this.

        Accusing us of being edgy rebels, or wanting to be edgy rebels doesn't make us wrong. It doesn't address the issue at all.

        Feel free to bring up any concerns regarding the issues, sans name-calling and accusations, please.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        techflaws (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:38pm

        Re: Re:

        Says the idiot anonymous jackass with no point at all to make. Impressive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      Thanks for admitting that you didn't actually read the article, which made it clear, whether he's guilty or innocent doesn't matter, what's being done to him is ridiculous and unjust either way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 10:58am

    You know what I'm seeing a lot of on this form?

    Presumption of guilt.

    You know what the asset forfeiture program depends on?

    Presumption of guilt.

    You know why we have more innocent people in jail than guilty (or, for that matter more of our population in jail than any other nation)?

    Presumption of guilt.

    Our Justice system has already lost all credibility as being a valid source for fair arbitration. Its only authority is that of force (which itself believes, as is evidenced by the raid of the Dotcom home, when they could have knocked or arrested him during routine commute).

    The whole Dotcom affair is not about justice. It's about a syndicate employing a mercenary force to remove a competing / disrupting business.

    And with every step, the DoJ and US courts lose more of their moral credibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:48am

    When another country does this to the USA it's treated as an act of war. When the USA does it, it's treated as business as usual.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:56am

    And Asset Forfeiture Continues at Home

    Certainly not as obviously an act of injustice as this story, but still something to consider if you want to buck the system.
    http://www.adn.com/article/20150721/apd-seizes-anchorage-pot-delivery-services-cars-owner-vow s-drive

    'It’s an intrusion on people’s lives and their property rights. With that said, I think law enforcement has legacy laws to fall back on, and until the Legislature takes a look at those, there’s a huge risk,' Schulte said. 'I want all potential businesses to succeed. But I would tell any friend looking to get into the business, and it comes up a lot, don’t do anything you wouldn't have done a year ago,' when Alaskans legalized recreational pot."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:17pm

    Funnily enough, the US may have made extradition significantly less likely with this move. Dotcom can currently not pay his US lawyers and will therefore, if extradited, be forced to fight without access to the sort of resources needed to fight a case of this magnitude. This is the US intent. It is a possibly sufficient to show a fair trial is not possible in the US which is grounds to deny the extradition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:23pm

    Civil forfeiture does sound like a huge breach in "due process". I've heard of it mainly through two sources (this site and a John Oliver show weeks ago) and it made me horrified that the (in theory) constitutionally-protected concept of "property" can be bypassed that easily by the government.
    Setting a case against an "item" and not a person is the peak of legal ridicule in the first place. That it's so difficult to defend against doesn't make things better.

    I'm quite amazed nobody thought of accusing his knife when caught red-handed after a murder. "Did you kill your wife? - Obviously not, it was the knife! You should sue IT, not me."

    Is the government really trying to make us believe our "assets" are supposed to prove their innocence there?

    I don't disagree with the idea of seizing property. However, the government should still sue the owner to justify this denial of property rights. And the government should justify someone's guilt before doing so, not just using the excuse that "the individual might just be guilty of something though it's not been decided yet, so we're taking his stuff just in case he actually is."

    In the case of Kim Dotcom, there is nothing like this. He might be guilty, but there has been no trial and even the "fugitive" excuse is flimsy at best. (As stated in the article, he hasn't fled USA. He's only using legal recourse against extradition to a country he has never even been to.) His being guilty - let alone "his property" being guilty - has never been proven, not even in an initial trial. There is only an accusation which, in a country where the justice system is supposed to hold the values of "innocent until proven guilty", should have little to no legal value by itself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vel the Enigmatic, 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:24pm

      Re:

      It's because suing the assets is relatively easy, they can't defend themselves and they need a third party (the owner) to prove their innocence. Which is really is entirely insane when you put some thought to it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob O'Neill, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:45pm

    Seal Team Six

    So let's just send the Seals into New Zealand and take care of this asshole like Bin Laden. Isn't this how The US of A does it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 22 Jul 2015 @ 1:15pm

    why not wait until that's shown in a court of law, rather than having to go through this separate process to take all of his stuff?

    But he's got really really cool stuff man.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 2:51pm

    Fascists and thieves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 22 Jul 2015 @ 5:13pm

    Brilliant idea

    Here is a brilliant idea, if Kim Dotcom doesn't like the law, maybe he should pack his stuff and move out of the United States. Oh wait, he never lived here...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 5:54pm

    It's a point worth repeating again. Megaupload, according to the RIAA's own data, wasn't even the worst infringer. It ranked 7th on their list of filehosting sites they hated. Dotcom was chosen because he's already done time and has all the likable personality of a trash can.

    And yet, somehow, the US government just couldn't be arsed to do anything the right way, begging and pleading their way through for everything. SWATting his mansion, civil forfeiture, extradition.

    Seriously, if you have to lie, cheat and pull wool over everyone just to get something against someone you perceive as an easy target, how is that a victory when you already have so many handicaps in your favor?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 5:57pm

    String him up, that will teach him a lesson. Or maybe we could crush him with large boulders and charge admission. Of course a video of the spectacle will be for sale, and heaven help the poor bastard who gives away a copy. The iron maiden is waiting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RichardSteele (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:46pm

    Hijacked Government

    I can't even find the right words to properly express how absolutely insane this attack against Dotcom has been.
    My suspicions that the U.S. government have been hijacked by unethical, conscienceless, traitorous filth have been strongly confirmed throughout the past five years.
    A big thank you to Dotcom, Manning, Assange, Snowden, Hammond & many others who, intentionally or unintentionally, managed to lure the filth out from behind their facade long enough for us to get a good look at their true colors, and the tool chest they've been building for themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 11:40pm

    My suspicions that the U.S. government have been hijacked by unethical, conscienceless, traitorous filth have been strongly confirmed throughout the past five years.

    As opposed to the law-abiding, highly moral government of the Bush era? Really?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 5:25am

      Re:

      As opposed to the law-abiding, highly moral government of the Bush era?

      Of course not, that's when the suspicions started. The Obama era just confirmed them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 3:55am

    fugitive disentitlement forms NO part in New Zealand law.

    “The application of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine to a person who is exercising a bi-laterally recognized right to defend an eligibility hearing, with the result that he is deprived of the financial means to mount that defense, is to put that person on the horns of a most uncomfortable and (the plaintiffs would say) unconstitutional dilemma,” Justice Ellis writes.

    “If the provisional view I have formed about the unavailability of post-registration relief is correct, authorizing the registration application to proceed now might deprive the plaintiffs of any ability to defend the extradition or to pursue their appeals against the forfeiture order in the United States,” Justice Ellis said.

    “I have little hesitation in concluding that interim relief should therefore be granted.”"

    https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-thwarts-huge-u-s-govt-asset-grab-150603/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AJ, 23 Jul 2015 @ 4:13am

    Am I to understand that Kim is not a U.S. citizen, has never stepped foot in the U.S., and is yet somehow a fugitive in our court's eyes and should report to the U.S. to face our court system? How exactly does that apply to American's?

    If I do something in Florida, that hurts a company in the middle east , am I going to be shipped over to them to face their court system? That is what seems to be happening here, or am I mistaken?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 4:25am

    "So, now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!"

    "Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?"
    "I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"
    "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake."
    -Robert Bolt, 'A Man For All Seasons'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 5:04am

    average_joe, out_of_the_blue and horse with no name just hate it when due process is enforced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nygrump, 23 Jul 2015 @ 9:04am

    This is Privateering pure and simple, with a court to parcel out the loot to make it "legal". The United States was built on it we could not have beat the British without State approved Piracy. .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 9:18am

    Case Study

    Let's say YOU (a US citizen) draw a picture of the prophet Muhammad. You post it to the interwebs. Some people in Iran look at your picture. The police in Iran arrest them, then also issue a warrant for your arrest. They also file the paperwork requesting the USA extradite you to Iran.

    Now, should you just go, and face your charges, or should you resist extradition?

    Let's review some of the circumstances:
    1) You never visited the country that accuses you
    2) that country has a bad record of over-exaggerated punishments for the crime at hand
    3) You are a citizen, and live and work in another country, which is where you committed the alleged crime.
    4) It seems like the accusing country has an irrational vendetta against you, and is also trying to shut down your business, seize all your assets, and tar you with a propaganda campaign.

    Wow, that all also matches Kim Dotcom's situation! I guess the right choice for both of you would be to resist extradition, and try to face the more reasonable legal system of the country where you are, where you live, and where you committed the alleged crimes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 10:49am

      Re: Case Study

      Except for the clause regarding extradition to countries where execution is permissible, which as stated before is not allowed in many countries. Oops forgot the us 'murica. Hopefully you at least get some bacon on the plane to you visit with the swordsman.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 8:36pm

      Re: Case Study

      For extradition to be legal it has to be a crime in both states. A US citizen could not be extradited in those circumstances ever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    drew (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 12:46pm

    dumb limey from across the pond asks...

    Let me get this straight. The case here is against the assets right? Not against Dotcom.
    In which case the whereabouts of Dotcom, fugitive or otherwise, are irrelevant as he's not part of the case. For fugitive disentitlement to apply, surely it would require the assets to be the fugitive?
    That seems unlikely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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