Megaupload has responded to U.S. Government claims that the company tried to “extort” the Department of Justice by offering it a deal. A “perverse conception” according to Megaupload’s legal team, and to prove this point the attorneys published the agreement that was proposed to the authorities. In the email Megaupload offered to drop the service requirement dispute in exchange for access to the company’s assets.
Last month Megaupload filed a renewed request to dismiss the indictment against it, until the U.S. Government finds a way to properly serve the company.
Megaupload’s legal team reiterated that the company’s due process is at stake. The company has already been destroyed and is being held ransom by the U.S. Government, without any funds to establish a proper defense.
The U.S. Government sees things differently and has opposed such a dismissal. Among other things the DoJ accused Megaupload of using the Government’s failure to serve as a bargaining chip. The fact that Megaupload offered to let the dispute over the service requirement slide in exchange for a return of the company’s assets would harm the court, DoJ argued.
However, in a rebuttal filed last night Megaupload’s lawyers say that this is a “perverse conception” of the truth.
“According to the Government’s submission, Megaupload sought effectively to extort the Government by conditioning its waiver of service on ‘legal and financial considerations that would likely undermine the Court’s discovery and trial procedures and improperly dissipate restrained illicit proceeds.’,” Megaupload’s legal team argues.
“Here, the Government is disclosing to the Court the parties’ private settlement negotiations. What is worse, however, it is offering a distorted account of them that does not square with Megaupload’s actual, written offer that the Government neglects to provide.”
To give the court the opportunity to judge for themselves, Megaupload decided to publish a copy of the email they sent to the Government in May.
Megaupload’s lawyers argue that they don’t see the offered deal as extortion. On the contrary, they see it as a fair exchange where they would forgive the Government’s failure to serve in return for the companies assets, so Megaupload can mount a proper defense.
“Only by the Government’s perverse conception might Megaupload proceed on different terms—surrendering its obvious, unanswerable procedural objection under Rule 4 while exposing itself to numerous, complicated substantive charges as to which it has not a penny to fund substantive defense,” Megaupload’s attorneys write.
“Megaupload asked for nothing more than the practical ability to mount a full and fair substantive defense, in which event it would forgive the Government’s demonstrated procedural failings—and the Government not only rejected that offer out of hand, but now treats it as cause for condemnation.”
The rebuttal further responds to other claims by the Government and ultimately concludes that Megaupload should be dismissed from the indictment. It is now up to the judge to decide which party makes most sense.