New Zealand court says FBI must disclose MegaUpload evidence

The United States must share what evidence it has against accused pirate site MegaUpload, founder Kim DotCom, and the other defendants, a New Zealand court says.

MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom Kim DotCom

The lawyers for Kim DotCom and MegaUpload continue to rack up court victories in New Zealand.

One of the country's courts has ordered the United States to turn over evidence it says it has that proves DotCom committed criminal acts of piracy. The U.S. Attorney's office has accused DotCom, founder of the cloud-storage service, of operating MegaUpload as a criminal enterprise.

U.S. officials say that MegaUpload made over $175 million by enabling users to store pirated digital media, including movies, music, and software on the company's servers. They accuse him of encouraging the looting and wish to extradite him to this country to stand trial.

But New Zealand doesn't appear ready to take the word of the FBI that DotCom and six other MegaUpload managers committed crimes. They want to see the proof.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the office that filed the charges against DotCom, have been reluctant to turn over evidence. The problem with that is the circumstances of the January arrest of DotCom. The warrants police used to conduct a dawn raid on his premises have been ruled invalid .

"Without access to materials relevant to the extradition hearing phase, the person sought will be significantly constrained in his or her ability to participate in the hearing," said Justice Helen Winkelmann about her decision, according to a report in TVNZ One News.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment. "The [U.S. Department of Justice] has gotten so desperate, they argued in the New Zealand High Court, through the Crown, that the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to Kim Dotcom," said Ira Rothken, the Silicon Valley attorney leading MegaUpload's worldwide defense. "Fortunately the Court rejected the DOJ's argument and citing the New Zealand Bill of Rights found that a fair extradition procedure is required which includes disclosure of evidence. Today's ruling is a victory for any fair minded person."

An extradition hearing in New Zealand for DotCom and the other defendants is scheduled for March .

Update 10:32 a.m. PT: To include comments from MegaUpload's lawyer.

 

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