Dotcom loses bid to delay extradition hearing
A last-minute attempt to delay the extradition hearing for internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his co-accused has been rejected.
Judge Nevin Dawson has released a decision that means evidence will be heard when the case resumes in Auckland District Court on Thursday.
On the first day of the hearing yesterday, lawyers for Dotcom and his co-accused asked for the extradition evidence to be pushed back so several applications to stay the case could be heard beforehand.
They alleged an FBI freeze on money being paid into the US has kept them from hiring legal and industry experts in the country.
But Christine Gordon QC, for the Crown, told Judge Dawson many of the claims were "speculative" and would only unnecessarily delay proceedings by weeks.
She asked for them to be heard as part of the hearing, or afterwards.
In his decision, Judge Dawson said the applications by Dotcom and his co-accused would be better heard during the main hearing because it would put them in context.
The outcome of their applications would not be prejudiced by the order and they could always appeal, he said.
Dubbed the "Mega Conspiracy" by the FBI, US authorities allege Dotcom and his associates – Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk – were involved in an organised criminal enterprise - centred on copyright violation through website Megaupload – which earned them US$175 million.
If extradited and found guilty in the US, the four men face charges that carry decades of jail time.
They include conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and two kinds of criminal copyright infringement based on an FBI investigation going back to 2010.
Judge Dawson doesn't have to decide whether the four are guilty or not, only if they could be surrendered to the US to face charges there. The justice minister then makes a decision on the matter.