A New Zealand court granted Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom, accused of orchestrating the biggest copyright infringement conspiracy in U.S. history, access to FBI files that led to his arrest.
Judge David Harvey ruled yesterday that withholding the information could threaten Dotcom’s right to a fair trial, according to a copy of the ruling e-mailed to Bloomberg News. The U.S. government opposed the disclosure.
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.
“A denial of the provision of information that could enable a proper adversarial hearing in my view would amount to a denial of the opportunity to contest,” Harvey said in the ruling. “That would effectively mean that the process is one-sided.”
Dotcom wasn’t given the right to all information that had been gathered on him, according to the ruling. Documents to be disclosed include those relating to allegations of copyright breaches, money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.
In a separate court ruling yesterday, German-born Dotcom was also allowed to return to his leased luxury mansion in an Auckland suburb after his bail terms were relaxed. He was no longer deemed to be a flight risk, according to a report on the stuff.co.nz website.
Dotcom was arrested at his residence in late January and spent four weeks in jail before being released to await an extradition hearing, currently scheduled for Aug. 20.