Kim Dotcom extradition: Feds can keep evidence against Megaupload mastermind a surprise
New Zealand Supreme Court rules ahead of hearing in July
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has suffered another setback in his fight against extradition to America to face piracy charges, as the New Zealand Supreme Court denied his appeal to access the evidence the US feds have on him.
The top court decided [PDF] that Uncle Sam's prosecutors are not required to disclose the evidence they'll use to attempt to secure Dotcom's extradition from New Zealand to the US at a hearing in July.
A district court in NZ had ordered the US to hand over their files and that decision was upheld by the High Court, but then later overturned in the Court of Appeal.
"The Supreme Court has decided by a majority… that the District Court was wrong to order disclosure by the United States of the documents concerned," the highest court said today [summary PDF].
Dotcom and three of his Megaupload colleagues are facing extradition over allegations of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering: the Megaupload website, as the name suggests, allowed people to share files with each other – which inevitably led to netizens swapping movies, music and other copyrighted works.
US authorities accused the online file-sharing service of costing film studios and record labels more than $500m while it raked in more than $175m itself in revenues. 40-year-old Dotcom, who was born Kim Schmitz in Germany, and his co-accused deny any wrongdoing.
The Supreme Court decision is another blow to Dotcom's case: an appeals court decided earlier this month that the warrant used in his arrest in New Zealand in 2012, and the gathering of evidence, was legal – contrary to Dotcom's claims. The documents had been declared unlawful by a judge back in June that year for being too vague, but their legitimacy was reinstated after appeal.
Dotcom's lawyer Ira Rothken said at the time that the team would be looking to take that portion of the case all the way to the Supreme Court as well. ®