U.S. Loses Bid to Limit Disclosure in Dotcom Extradition

The U.S. lost a bid to limit the amount of information it must turn over to Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom, accused of orchestrating the biggest copyright infringement in the country’s history, in his fight against extradition from New Zealand.

New Zealand High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann today rejected a U.S. request to review a district court judge’s order to turn over evidence relating to Dotcom’s indictment, including all records obtained in connection with covert operations undertaken by agents involved in the investigation.

“The NZ High Court ruling in @KimDotcom case citing Bill of Rights protects Kim’s rights and the rights of all New Zealand residents,” Ira Rothken, a lawyer for Dotcom, wrote on Twitter following the ruling.

Dotcom, 38, was indicted in what U.S. prosecutors dubbed a “Mega Conspiracy,” accusing his file-sharing website of generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated film, music, book and software files. He faces as long as 20 years in prison for each of the racketeering and money-laundering charges in the indictment, with the U.S. seeking his extradition for a trial in Virginia.

The amount of documentation ordered to be turned over to Dotcom was unprecedented in the country or anywhere else for extradition cases, the U.S. had said.

“Disclosure in relation to extradition cases is extremely limited,” prosecutors had said, according to a summary of the arguments written by Winkelmann.

Extradition hearings are “essentially criminal in character” and the accused must be assured a fair hearing, according to New Zealand’s Bill of Rights, Winkelmann wrote.

“The more significant the rights affected, the more stringent the procedural rules designed to maintain the fairness of the process are likely to be,” the judge wrote.

The case is between United States of America and Kim Dotcom. Civ 2012-404-3026. High Court of New Zealand (Auckland).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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