David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Dotcom offers deal as bills rocket

Kim Dotcom has offered the FBI a deal over extradition while revealing unpaid legal bills worth 'millions of dollars'. Photo / Richard Robinson
Kim Dotcom has offered the FBI a deal over extradition while revealing unpaid legal bills worth 'millions of dollars'. Photo / Richard Robinson

Kim Dotcom has offered the FBI a deal over extradition while revealing unpaid legal bills worth "millions of dollars".

The mounting pressure of the legal fight was revealed as it emerged the FBI was planning on extraditing Dotcom using information gained through the illegal search of his New Zealand home.

Yesterday, it was announced by the court that the extradition case on charges of criminal copyright violation stemming from the Megaupload filesharing website had been shifted from next month to next year.

The four accused - Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk - deny any wrongdoing.

The case against them has become mired in legal argument after search warrants used by New Zealand police in the January raid were ruled invalid, making the search and seizure illegal.

A hearing in the High Court over remedies for the unlawful search is yet to be heard while lawyers await the result of a Crown appeal over an earlier order from the District Court extradition judge David Harvey.

Mr Harvey had ordered the FBI to give Dotcom and the accused copies of the evidence which would be used to prove the charges they faced.

In a written court minute, Mr Harvey yesterday said Crown lawyers had indicated they would appeal to the Court of Appeal if the High Court upheld all or part of his order for the FBI to produce evidence. He said an ultimate appeal to the Supreme Court had not be ruled out by the Crown.

Mr Harvey said he had been told by the Crown that FBI agents had analysed data taken from Dotcom's home during the unlawful search. The data, which came from 17 cloned hard drives, had been couriered overseas by FBI agents without police or Crown Law Office knowledge.

He said the analysis had happened before the search was ruled unlawful. He said he was told "relevant material" found by the FBI would be used to update the "record of case" document forming the heart of the US case for extradition.

Dotcom told the Herald the delays in the case were placing pressure on his ability to defend against the charges. "They are sitting on all my money. I have no money to pay my lawyers. Every move they make, they know I have to send my lawyers there. They make it so I have no chance in the long run to defend myself. Lawyers need money too."

The FBI used legal orders in New Zealand and around the world to freeze assets and cash belonging to Dotcom and the three co-accused, claiming it came from the proceeds of crime.

Dotcom said his legal bills were huge with 22 lawyers working on the case in different countries.

"I have accumulated millions of dollars in legal bills and I haven't been able to pay a single cent. They just want to hang me out to dry and wait until there is no support left."

He said he would willingly go to the US if he and his co-defendants were given a guarantee of a fair trial, money to pay for a defence and funds to support themselves and their families.

"They will never agree to this and that is because they can't win this case and they know that already."

Dotcom is preparing to release the first song on an album recorded with Black Eyed Peas producer Printz Board and his production team.

The song, Mr President, aims to cash in on Dotcom's profile as a self-styled internet freedom fighter. The song targets US president Barack Obama over the raid and calls for action in this year's election. It features the line: "We must oppose/those who chose/to turn innovation into crime."

The video preview seen by the Herald included an image of Prime Minister John Key holding a sign saying "For Sale", standing in front of a New Zealand flag. Dotcom said the image was being removed because it confused viewers outside New Zealand who did not recognise Mr Key.

- NZ Herald

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