Kim Dotcom Is Basking In Another Significant Legal Victory Against The US Government

kim dotcomThe prosecution has become one of the most expensive legal cases in New Zealand’s history.

On Friday the High Court of New Zealand

ordered police to go through all of the digital material taken from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom in a January 2012 raid and return anything irrelevant to their investigation.And boy is Dotcom pleased.

The ruling is the latest legal victory for the 38-year-old dual citizen of Germany and Finland, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. relating to charges including engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering, and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.

In June 2012 Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled that the search warrants used in the raid on Dotcom’s estate — requested by the FBI and carried out by the New Zealand police Special Tactics Group — were overly broad, and therefore illegal.

In Friday’s decision Winkelmann reiterated that point, adding that the faulty warrants “has given rise to a miscarriage of justice.”

Since the warrants did not allow for the offshore shipment of the hard drives without checking if they contained relevant material, any device found to contain irrelevant material must be returned to the plaintiffs and any copy destroyed.

Before it was shut down in January 2012, the file-sharing site Megaupload was one of the world’s most popular websites — millions of users stored data, either for free or by paying for premium service. The site carried 4 per cent of internet traffic.

Dotcom has since established the site in defiance of the prosecution in addition to creating a new, simplified, super-encrypted successor to Megaupload called MEGA.

He also recently released a white paper that provides a legal argument for his innocence:

“The prosecution seeks to hold Megaupload and its executives criminally responsible for alleged infringement by the company’s third-party cloud storage users. The problem with the theory, however, is that secondary copyright infringement is not – nor has it ever been – a crime in the United States.”

The two-bit phone hacker turned tech playboy seems quite pleased with the latest decision:

Mike Masnick of Techdirt notes that FBI may completely ignore the order, and that would further complicate the extradition case.

The extradition hearing has already been postponed from March to August, and Stuff notes that it is likely to be delayed again given the complexity of the case.

In the meantime the New Zealand Supreme Court is expected to hear an appeal to determine whether Dotcom should have access to documents — including nearly 22 million emails — seized in the raid. About $42 million in assets were also seized.

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