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Megaupload Wins Evidence Disclosure Battle

| 31 May 2012 00:30
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Lawyers for Megaupload have filed a motion to dismiss the U.S. government's case against it.

Things are looking up a bit for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, following a ruling by a New Zealand court that the U.S. government must turn over the evidence it has against the company so he can properly defend himself against its extradition request. The U.S. had previously refused to turn over the evidence, saying that disclosure rules don't apply to extradition procedures, but the judge disagreed, ruling that making the process an "administrative" one rather than judicial could violate the rights of the accused.

"In my view there must be fairness at the hearing and balance must be struck, otherwise the record of case becomes dominant virtually to the exclusion of everything else and places the extradition process in danger of becoming an administrative one rather than judicial," Judge David Harvey wrote in his ruling.

The matter is further complicated because the U.S. government is "attempting to utilize concepts from the civil copyright context as a basis for the application of criminal copyright liability," he continued, noting that "the existence of criminal copyright charges is a keystone to providing the unlawful conduct element of the racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud charges" Dotcom faces.

The judge ordered that all documents specified in his ruling be turned over to Megaupload attorneys within 21 days.

In the U.S., meanwhile, lawyers for Megaupload filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case, arguing that the company's right to due process was violated when U.S. authorities seized "domain names, servers and personal belongings," effectively destroying the business without properly serving a summons.

"As a result of the Government's inability to properly serve the summons on Megaupload, this Court lacks jurisdiction over the company. In the absence of effective service of process, criminal proceedings against Megaupload cannot commence, and as the Court has aptly noted, we 'frankly don't know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter'," the filing states. "Megaupload is thus deprived of any procedure to clear its name or recoup its property, in clear violation of its due process rights."

Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken noted that the failure to serve was not an oversight but due to the fact that companies outside of U.S. jurisdiction cannot be served. According to TorrentFreak, if the motion is granted it will mean the end of the case against Dotcom and Megaupload.

Source: TorrentFreak

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