This week is an extremely important one for Kim Dotcom and former Megaupload colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk.
They’re attending a crucial extradition hearing in the Auckland District Court that could determine whether the four are sent to the United States to face charges including conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Much of the developments this week have centered on argument from Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield that the alleged offenses don’t meet the criteria for the men to be sent to the United States. While fraud is an extraditable offense, copyright infringement is not, and U.S. case law backs that up, he argued.
But while Mansfield argues the technicalities, including whether the defendants should have protection from liability due to their former position operating as service providers, the United States has other ideas about whether Dotcom should have his say.
Earlier today the U.S. government asked Judge Nevin Dawson to rule that the evidence of the defense is inadmissible, meaning that Dotcom would be left without a defense at all.
TorrentFreak approached Dotcom for comment on this bold move. Fortunately for him the Judge quickly dismissed the U.S. attempt at having a one-sided battle.
“The Judge just ruled that our evidence is admissible,” Dotcom told TF.
“The US Govt seriously asked the Judge to rule that all of our evidence is inadmissible because in their submission it was not relevant. The Judge has said that he wants a fair extradition hearing and has therefore rejected the US Govt position.”
The decision will come as a relief to Dotcom whose defense is set to wind up this week. While a final decision is not expected for some time, it’s unlikely that having come this far either side will accept a defeat. Both are expected to take their case to appeal in the event of a negative ruling.
In the meantime, Dotcom remains upbeat. After the entire court was cleared today after a false alarm, the Megaupload founder took the time to pose for photographs with fans – and take another shot at the U.S.
Fire Alarm at the Court House. Entire building evacuated. I guess the US case is blowing too much smoke ;-) pic.twitter.com/ZgyjSp6Med
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) November 4, 2015