Monday 18 February 2013, 12:53 | By Chris Cooke
US Department Of Justice calls Mega claims “sensationalist rhetoric”
The US Department Of Justice has described as “sensationalist rhetoric” and a “conspiracy theory” claims by lawyers working for MegaUpload that the American authorities misled the digital company and the courts in a bid to entrap the Mega business and secure shutdown warrants.
As previously reported, Team Mega last month filed papers with the US courts accusing the DoJ of telling MegaUpload to keep a chunk of unlicensed movie content on its servers, as evidence for a case against a customer of the file-transfer service, only to list the very same infringing content when officials launched legal proceedings against the Mega company itself. Proceedings which kicked off with the entire MegaUpload operation being taken offline.
In their legal filing last month, Mega’s lawyers asked for a so called ‘Franks hearing’ into whether or not US officials misled the courts to secure warrants against the file-transfer company. But United States Attorney Neil MacBride last week argued that doing so would allow MegaUpload to “circumvent” the Federal Rules Of Criminal Procedure, while denying the allegations of wrong doing against the DoJ.
MacBride wrote in his filing: “The government made no preservation request, and the government is not aware that the service of a search warrant creates an obligation on the part of the recipient of a search warrant to preserve infringing content on a computer in a way that continues to make it available for illegal download”.
On the recent misconduct claims, he added: “MegaUpload has supplied nothing but a conspiracy theory; this is not enough. Because MegaUpload’s claims are insufficient as a matter of law to authorise its intervention in this matter, MegaUpload has wrapped them in layers of sensationalist rhetoric. However, MegaUpload’s claims regarding government misconduct are unfounded”.
Elsewhere in Mega-land last week, lawyers for the digital company and its founder Kim Dotcom were in court in New Zealand, where the country’s Government Communications Security Bureau were fighting a court ruling of last December ordering the spy-agency to hand over all its files relating to its Mega investigation. The ruling followed an admission by the New Zealand government that the GCSB had acted “unlawfully” in its investigations into Dotcom and MegaUpload.
Dotcom was given access to the files so to ascertain what damages he could claim for the GCSB’s unlawful conduct, but reps for the government agency are arguing that it’s not necessary for all their files to be shared, while accusing Dotcom’s lawyers of trying to use the spy-record squabble to further delay their client’s extradition hearing, at which the US will try to force the Mega founder to face the various charges against him and his original company in America.
But Team Mega denied the delay claims while, in a ‘Yes Minister’ type sequence, explained that although they probably didn’t need all of the GCSB files, they couldn’t know which ones they did need without first seeing the ones they don’t, or in the words of Dotcom’s rep William Akel: “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
Dotcom himself, of course, is too busy running new file storage site Mega to be too concerned about the intricacies of the various legal cases he’s involved in. In the last week alone he’s talked about adding secure email, chat, voice and mobile services to his recently launched Mega platform, which he also reckons he might be able to float on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in about eighteen months time. Which, at this rate, could just about coincide with his extradition hearing.