US procecutors yesterday renewed a veiled threat to lay more charges against Kim Dotcom if Sunday's Mega launch goes ahead.
During an interview with Bloomberg on Friday NZ time, a spokesman for US Attorney Neil H MacBride referred the news agency to a statement Dotcom made in February to a New Zealand court, when he pledged not to resurrect the Megaupload site.
Specifically, Dotcom - who was arrested on January 20, 2012, and held in custody until February 22 - signed a bail affidavit that pledged, in part
It is likely that users would consider any new iteration of Megaupload as inherently unreliable as it could be subject to a further incident in which the US government takes action to close the site down and thereby prevents users from having legitimate access to their data.
Moreover, the entrepreneur told the court he could not reanimate Megaupload even if he wanted to. Another section of the affidavit read:
There is no realistic prospect or possibility of restoring the business or recommencing the business having regard to both the seizure of the requisite servers and data storage equipment and to the seizure of all funds, monies and assets held both by Megaupload and by me personally.
If it is decided Dotcom has breached bail, that could lead to his arrest and potentially going back into custody.
But the US Department of Justice has hinted at new charges if Dotcom goes back into the file sharing business.
In an October filing (against the latest attempt by Dotcom's US lawyer Ira Rothken to get the Megaupload case thrown out), the DOJ included the statement:
If defendant Dotcom intentionally misled the court in New Zealand about his intentions and capabilities in order to obtain his release from pre-extradition confinement, it seems Defense Counsel’s representation might endanger Dotcom’s bail situation or even subject him to additional charges.
That thinly veiled threat came on the heels of a Wired interview during which Dotcom first laid out plans for Mega in detail.
Yesterday, Mr Rothken categorically rejected that the DOJ would be able to lay new charges if the Mega launch goes ahead Sunday.
During a face-to-face interview with NBR ONLINE Friday, the San Francisco-based attorney - who is in NZ for the launch - emphasised that Mega's business plan had been scrutinised by a team of 20 lawyers. A document describing Mega had also been submited to one of the NZ judges involved in the case late last year. No counter submission had been made.
And in a follow-up email, he said:
Mr Dotcom is working in consultation with top notch NZ defense counsel on bail compliance.
Kim Dotcom is innocent, is presumed innocent, and is entitled to innovate and work in technology like any other innocent New Zealander especially when the US takes away all his assets and delays the extradition proceedings with Government illegality and countless appeals by the Crown (working on behalf of the US).
Neither Mr Dotcom’s bail conditions nor US law precludes him from engaging in a lawful business—including one that involves the Internet and technology.
The NZ Court and the Crown acting on behalf of the United States were provided last year by NZ counsel with written information regarding Mega and no legal objections were filed. Indeed, Mega may help stimulate further cloud storage innovation in New Zealand and the rest of the world and that should not be something the Crown or the DOJ, if well intentioned, should complain about.