The saga involving Kim Dotcom continues to slowly unfold after New Zealand Judge Nevin Dawson ruled that the internet entrepreneur was eligible for extradition to the US. The ruling also applied for the three co-accused: Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato who, along with Dotcom, were officers of Mega.
During the course of a ten week hearing which concluded in November, lawyers for Kim Dotcom and his three accomplices put forth the defence that Megaupload was a "dumb pipe" and not an "informed pipe". However, in his ruling, Judge Dawson wrote that: "The overwhelming preponderance of evidence ... establishes a prima facie case to answer for all respondents on each of the counts."
Unsurprisingly, lawyers for the accused immediately appealed the decision further delaying any possible legal extradition from taking place. In New Zealand, Justice Minister Amy Adams is a mandatory signatory for all extraditions. Her final decision to provide her signature currently awaits the exhaustion of all appeals by the accused. However, her decision could itself be subject to legal scrutiny, further slowing down the extradition process.
The decision represents a preliminary win for the FBI and a setback for the Dotcom camp. Ira Rothken, one of Dotcom's lawyers, tweeted that "Justice was not served today." Ron Mansfield, another lawyer of the co-accused stated that:
"There's no doubt that if the United States lost today they would be appealing to the High Court and no matter who loses in the High Court, they will appeal further - it is clearly a case that is destined for the Supreme Court."
Subsequent to their original arrests back in 2012, all four men remain free on bail in New Zealand pending their appeals.
The full judgment can be read online here.