A New Zealand judge wants to see the evidence against MegaUpload's managers.
Judge David Harvey has given New Zealand law enforcement officials three weeks to provide documentary evidence against managers of the cloud-storage service accused of encouraging massive copyright infringement.
Harvey was responding to a request made by MegaUpload's lawyers to require New Zealand, which is pressing the case on behalf of the United States, to fully disclose the evidence against company managers. The U.S. government in January indicted MegaUpload's founder Kim DotCom and five others connected to the company on criminal copyright charges.
As part of that indictment, DotCom's home was raided by New Zealand police, his possessions seized and he was thrown in jail. The United States wants to try DotCom and the other defendants in its own country and an extradition hearing in New Zealand is scheduled for August 6.
Before that happens, Harvey wants to give DotCom's lawyers a chance to review the evidence against the defendants. Though the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) included some e-mail conversations and documents in the MegaUpload indictment, Harvey wants them to see everything they have.
"This [court decision] makes the playing field more even," said Ira Rothken, the attorney who is overseeing MegaUpload's worldwide defense. "I think this is a very significant ruling for New Zealand because it demonstrates that New Zealand courts will intervene to protect the rights of its residents from foreign intrusion...we're looking forward to this disclosure. Once there is full transparency into the government's claims we believe Kim DotCom and the rest of those involved with MegaUpload will prevail."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the office that filed the indictment against MegaUpload, declined to comment.
Harvey also ruled that DotCom can remove the electronic monitoring device from his ankle and move back into the mansion where he lived prior to the January 19 raid on his home, Rothken said. Since his arrest, DotCom had been living in a smaller residence adjoining the so-called DotCom mansion.