Megaupload can appeal evidence ruling in NZ Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has granted Megaupload leave to appeal a ruling that denied it access to evidence held by the U.S.

New Zealand's Supreme Court on Thursday granted Megaupload leave to appeal a ruling that denied it access to evidence the U.S. government holds.

The permission gives Megaupload another chance to make its case to see a wide range of evidence it contends is necessary prior to extradition hearings scheduled for August for its founder, Kim Dotcom, and three colleagues. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in July.

A New Zealand District Court ruled in May 2012 that the U.S. should turn over documents supporting its contention that Megaupload "willfully" infringed copyrighted material and other documents related to charges of money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.

The decision was mostly upheld after a judicial review in August 2012, but reversed in March by the Court of Appeal. Megaupload then sought leave to appeal to New Zealand's Supreme Court, said attorney Ira P. Rothken.

"This type of case demands to have transparency on the government evidence so that the court can make the most informed decision possible under the circumstances," Rothken said by phone Thursday.

Dotcom along with Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were indicted in January 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on charges of criminal copyright infringement, money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.

U.S. prosecutors allege Megaupload encouraged its users to share content that is copyright protected and netted US$175 million in criminal proceeds.

The evidence issue is just one of many outstanding ones related to Megaupload pending before the courts in the U.S. and New Zealand.

In the U.S., Megaupload is awaiting a ruling on a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the company can't be served a summons since it was headquartered outside the U.S. It is also awaiting a motion to see if it can make data seized by the U.S. government available to its former users.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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Jeremy Kirk

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