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U.S. slams MegaUpload's request to dismiss criminal charges

The U.S. Attorney's office says the request by the defense is a waste of the court's time and resources.

The front of the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the office that has accused MegaUpload with criminal copyright.
Greg Sandoval/CNET

MegaUpload's request to dismiss criminal copyright charges should be denied, the U.S. Attorney's office said yesterday in a court filing.

Claims made by MegaUpload two weeks ago that the U.S. government has no jurisdiction over the Hong Kong-based cloud-storage service are untrue, according to the document filed by Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia.

In January, MacBride's office indicted MegaUpload, founder Kim DotCom, and six other men connected to the company. The U.S. accused the group of operating the company as a front for a massive piracy scheme that made each member rich. MacBride is trying to extradite DotCom and the other defendants to this country to stand trial. The accused all deny any wrongdoing.

In a 20-page document, lawyers representing the U.S. government not only disputed many of the claims made by MegaUpload in a motion for leave to enter limited appearances, but also outlined why the company's request isn't valid.

U.S. officials say some of MegaUpload's lawyers have conflicts of interest. They say that lawyers working for Quinn Emanuel, one of the law firms representing MegaUpload, have also represented in the past some of the witnesses and victims, including Google, Disney, Time Warner and Paramount Pictures.

The U.S. government also argued that MegaUpload's request to dismiss is premature since the defendants have refused to appear before the court. As for MegaUpload's request that more of the company's money is returned, MacBride compared that to returning money to a bank robber.

"The seized assets are simply not the defendants' to spend -- and they never were,"

The top Hollywood film studios say that MegaUpload enabled and even paid money to millions of people from all over the world to store pirated movies and TV shows in the company's digital lockers. They say that whatever money MegaUpload earned belonged to filmmakers.

Correction: 2:20 p.m. PT. This story misstated the kind of motion MegaUpload filed two weeks ago. It was a motion for leave to enter limited appearances.