Dotcom extradition appeal closing

The Kim Dotcom extradition appeal seems to have dropped off the local media radar. If it wasn’t for Nelly prodding away here it would just about have been forgotten.

The closing arguments were heard in Court in Auckland this week.

Reuters: Dotcom’s appeal against extradition to U.S. winds up in New Zealand, ruling likely weeks away

Lawyers for German entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, wanted in the United States on copyright infringement and money-laundering charges over his file-sharing website Megaupload, argued on Wednesday there was not enough evidence to show he conspired to commit a crime.

The Auckland court heard closing arguments in Dotcom’s four-week appeal against a lower court’s decision to extradite him to the U.S., the first New Zealand court proceedings to be broadcast live on the internet.

The appeal took place nearly five years after dozens of black-clad police rappelled into the flamboyant entrepreneur’s New Zealand mansion and cut him from a safe room.

U.S. authorities say Dotcom and three co-accused Megaupload executives cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material.

The four deny wrongdoing and are on bail.

The case has been closely watched by the media industry and developers in the file-sharing business for signs of how far the United States is willing to go to protect copyright holders.

The appeal set a precedent when the judge gave permission for the hearing to be streamed on YouTube, but legal experts at the time had warned that appeals hearings tend to be similar to “watching paint dry”.

Rodriguez Ferrere said the “monolithically boring” nature of the entire proceeding “turned everybody off”.

The final afternoon’s proceedings only attracted around 100 viewers online, according to YouTube.

If it wasn’t for Nelly’s efforts here it may have been far fewer.

“Given the stakes of this case, the losing party will likely appeal any adverse judgment to the Court of Appeal,” said Ira Rothken, a lawyer representing Dotcom, in an email.

Unless the US pulls the plug on proceedings it is likely to limp on for years.

Nelly can switch to watching grass grow while she waits for the ruling. At least it’s spring.

Nomm to testify against Dotcom

After giving himself up in the USA, admitting guult and being sentenced – see  Mega-admission of Megaupload guilt, rapid sentence for Nomm – Andrus Nõmm is also set to testify against Kim Dotcom and co-defendants if/when they are extradited.

NZ Herald calls it Blow to Dotcom as co-accused pleads guilty.

Kim Dotcom’s long-running legal battle has suffered a blow after one of his co-accused pleaded guilty – and will now testify against his former colleagues.

In one of the biggest developments since Dotcom’s Coatesville compound was raided three years ago, computer programmer Andrus Nomm pleaded guilty to internet piracy in a Virginia court on Friday.

The 36-year-old struck a plea bargain deal with the US Justice Department, admitting he personally downloaded copyright-infringing files. Nomm will serve a year and a day behind bars.

As part of Nomm’s plea bargain, he agreed his co-accused, including Megaupload founder Dotcom, knew and other sites the group operated contained copyright-infringing materials and they were making money from it.

Nomm said he brought up copyright infringement to colleagues, noting files he was sent to review for errors had FBI piracy warnings.

Dotcom and his lawyer Ira Rothken are trying to play down this development.

His attorney, Ira Rothken, told the Herald on Sunday the guilty plea did not serve as a precedent.

“If Mr Nomm testifies in a truthful manner … we expect that his testimony will help the defence.

“It’s a plea bargain of convenience and the Department of Justice seems to have used this as a Hollywood-style publicity stunt to try to elevate the status of their case.”

But it’s also a plea-bargain of significant inconvenience to Dotcom’s defence. It may also put pressure on other defendants.

Dotcom plot thickens

New bail travel restrictions have been placed on Kim Dotcom, with a ban on travelling by helicopter or by boat at sea, and limiting his travel to within 80 kilometres of his Coatesville residence.

If that happened during the election campaign it would have been very controversial with political implications. However now it just raises eyebrows about what is going on behind the scenes.

This follows last week’s news that his longstanding lawyers including Paul Davison QC withdrawing from Dotcom’s case.

Stuff reports: Dotcom banned from choppers

Kim Dotcom will be back in court again next week for a hearing after new restrictions were placed on his bail today.

The temporary restrictions, imposed by Judge Nevin Dawson in the Auckland District Court, include banning the use of helicopters and boat or sea travel.

Dotcom was also banned from travelling more than 80 kilometres from his Coatesville mansion and ordered to report to police daily.

The new issues, which would be dealt with at next week’s court appearance, followed Judge Dawson’s decision to allow the internet mogul’s lawyers to withdraw from his case.

Dotcom, who was in court today, would not say why his long-standing lawyers at Simpson Grierson, including Paul Davison, QC, had decided to step down from his extradition case.

So a major legal representation setback followed by significant travel restrictions. There must be much more to this than has been reported.

And this will impact on Dotcom’s extradition case.

Dotcom’s United States lawyer Ira Rothken said Simpson Grierson’s withdrawal from the case posed a “difficult challenge”.

It was going to take a while to find a replacement law firm and for it to become familiar with the case, he said.

Judge Dawson granted leave to delay Dotcom’s extradition hearing further and the case is now scheduled to be heard in June.

Dotcom followed this with two tweets:

In the news: Travel conditions imposed on Dotcom + daily reporting to the police.

He links to Radio NZ: Travel conditions imposed on Dotcom

Kim Dotcom has been banned from using helicopters ahead of a Crown application to revoke bail.

So they want to revoke bail, which means Dotcom would go back into custody. There must be a reason for this change.

Dotcom also tweeted:

This year was a total disaster. I have taken many punches. But I won’t break. I will keep going through this hell for my kids. Count on it.

Part of the disaster was brought upon himself with his multi-million dollar exercise in political futility.

Dotcom’s US based lawyer also tweeted:

I just did an interview with Radio NZ on retaining new extradition defense counsel in NZ in the case

He links to: Dotcom searches for lawyers after NZ legal team quits