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Kim DotCom extradition hearing postponed until 2013

Hearing delayed while New Zealand courts sort out questions about the legality of evidence seized with search warrants later declared invalid.

MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom.

The extradition hearing for MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom has been postponed to next year over questions about the legality of evidence seized with search warrants later declared invalid.

The hearing, which was scheduled to occur in August 6, was delayed Tuesday by a New Zealand judge until March 2013.

DotCom attorney William Akel told Reuters the postponement was due to two judicial reviews currently under way regarding the search warrants and evidence disclosure.

"It was inevitable that the hearing for August was going to be vacated because we have two existing cases in the High Court," Akel said.

MegaUpload is a cloud-storage locker that DotCom claims was completely legitimate and protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. U.S. officials, who are trying to extradite Dotcom and six associates, say he encouraged users to store pirated videos, music, software, and other media and then share them with others.

DotCom, 38, was arrested in January at the mansion he leases near Auckland, New Zealand, after the U.S. handed down an indictment on criminal copyright violations and racketeering. Data and millions of dollars in cash and property belonging to DotCom were seized during the raid on his estate.

However, the legality of the evidence seized was called into question last month when a New Zealand judge ruled that the warrants did not adequately describe the offenses alleged and as such were invalid. She also ruled that it was unlawful for the data confiscated in the raid to have been copied by the FBI and sent offshore.

The United States said MegaUpload had cost Hollywood studios and other copyright owners $500 million. DotCom faces 20 years in prison if convicted of all the charges.