Dotcom extradition hearings turn from a farce into a tragedy

photo credit - AAP

photo credit – AAP

Steve Braunias summarises the first week of Dotcom’s hapless defence, and he’s even less merciful than Judge Dawson.

Where were the crowds? “Big day today,” Kim Dotcom advised the 468,000 followers on his Twitter account on Monday morning. “Let’s go!” Dotcom’s legal team, finally, began their defence of their excitable client in week six of his extradition hearing.

Uncle Sam and the FBI – aptly, the courtroom is in Federal St – have stuck it to Dotcom and the three men co-accused of copyright infringement, racketeering, money laundering and fraud. Now it was the turn of the defence to stick it to Uncle Sam and the FBI.

“I wish you could all be at my court hearing,” Dotcom tweeted, wistfully. “It’s going to be good.” But the public gallery was empty, and the press bench was down to three.

Dotcom looked rather glum. His defence lawyer Ron Mansfield looked even worse. The poor devil was struck down with a killer head cold. His great moment had arrived; here, at last, was his chance to denounce the US in loud, ringing tones, but he felt like he had sheep running around inside of his head.

He played the sympathy card with Judge Nevin Dawson. But the judge wasn’t in the mood for cards. “Your Honour will be aware I’m not recognised for being an orator,” Mansfield said. “I struggle with words beyond one syllable.”

Dawson stared at him. His implacable face sent a message spelled out in words which required only one syllable: get on with it. He got on with it. Mansfield’s submission – volume one, 300 pages – was wide-ranging and powerful. In essence, he said the US case was woeful, pathetic, lame. Worse, it was political. He said it was driven by Hollywood, which demanded that the White House crack down on Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing empire.

“This is not a conspiracy theory. Hollywood threatened the Democrats and Republicans that they would lose their massive financial support.”

Braunias is only warming up.   Read the rest here.  (a rare link to A newspaper as that piece deserves to read in full)


– Steve Braunias, A newspaper

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