So, Kim Dotcom, where are we at?

I'm coming to steal your democracy

You dumb arsed farmers haven’t been able to get rid of me yet

Ars Technica have provided a useful summary of where we got to where Kim is today, and what is likely to happen from here on in:

Since the Megaupload raid and Dotcom’s arrest, the United States has filed a formal extradition request with Crown Law (New Zealand prosecutors, who act here as agents of the US) to get him across the Pacific. US prosecutors want Dotcom to appear before a federal judge in Virginia where the case was filed. So why is he still in New Zealand?

In short, Dotcom’s legal team has done a fantastic job of defending their client. His lawyers have thrown wrench after wrench into the legal process, appealing at nearly every turn and challenging the validity of the warrant executed upon the Dotcom estate.

The man whom New Zealand authorities dubbed “Billy Big Steps” has won some intermediate victories along the way, including recently defeating a bid to get him thrown back in jail. In September 2012, the New Zealand Prime Minister even apologized for the government’s illegal spying on Dotcom.

But in the most recent legal showdown, Dotcom’s lawyers came up short. On December 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of New Zealand found in a 5-1 decision that the search warrants served upon Dotcom and his three associates were valid despite flaws in their drafting. That decision—seemingly exhausting all challenges to the extradition process—finally paves the way for a June 2, 2015 extradition hearing. However, this will almost certainly be appealed to the New Zealand Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The process is likely to take months, if not longer.

The bottom line: Kim Dotcom probably won’t be sent to the United States in 2015 regardless of the outcome.

“Given the size and complexity of the global criminal copyright case of first impression it is possible that the extradition hearing can be delayed further,” Ira Rothken, Dotcom’s lead global counsel, told Ars via text message.

“For example we are transitioning to a new legal team in New Zealand. We are attempting to unfreeze funds for legal fees and costs in New Zealand to fund counsel. If that application gets delayed or if insufficient funds are made available for a proportionately sized legal team to handle a huge file, it can cause preparation hurdles for a June hearing.”

When Ars asked Rothken to clarify whether that means there would be motions to further postpone the June 2015 date, the lawyer responded: “That is under the control of the Government if they oppose a fair procedure by placing hurdles in the way of funding an extradition defense the Government could cause a delay in the extradition hearing.”

“If you want to delay it, you can delay it,” Page, the Atlanta lawyer, said. “If [Dotcom] wanted the case resolved, [he] could get on a plane and come over here.” Rothken did not directly respond to Ars’ query as to why Dotcom doesn’t simply appear in the Virginia court in order for the Farmer motion to proceed.

“Kim Dotcom has a presumption of innocence,” Rothken noted. “The US, by freezing all of Kim Dotcom’s assets, refusing to hand over evidence, and illegally removing data from New Zealand is trying to win on procedure rather than merit.”

In reality, the forfeiture case and the matter of extradition are mere details, albeit possibly important ones. In the now three-year-plus battle between Dotcom and the United States, the climax of the story will still center around one thing: the pending criminal charges.

“At some point there has to be an agitation of the merits, the longer he remains outside the US, the longer this will stay pending,” Pate, the Atlanta-based lawyer, said. “The government won’t walk away from it. it’s not going to go away the longer he fights on the extradition side. The case can remain pending indefinitely.”

Crown Law have all the time in the world.  Kim Dotcom doesn’t.   And in the mean time, delaying his extradition doesn’t solve his real problem:  facing the US judicial system on criminal charges.

But, it would appear we’re stuck with him for at least another year or so.  A year where, if he manages to get the resources, most likely via Mona and his bitcoin stash, he will do everything in his power to disrupt, damage and… destroy anybody.

 

– Ars Technica


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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