Megaupload Trial May Never Happen, Says US Judge

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FBI failed to serve Megaupload with formal charges, a US judge has said

The US judge responsible for handling the Megaupload case has told the FBI that a criminal trial against the cyberlocker and Kim Dotcom may never happen.

District court judge Liam O’Grady explained that the FBI had failed to formally serve criminal charges against Megaupload, so a trial and extradition seemed unlikely.

The FBI’s procedural problem

According to Megaupload’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, US laws say that foreign companies could not be served criminal papers, and could only be charged by US prosecutors in a civil case.

“My understanding as to why they haven’t done that is because they can’t,” Rothken told the New Zealand Herald. “We don’t believe Megaupload can be served in a criminal matter because it is not located within the jurisdiction of the United States.”

He added that the FBI would have had the same legal advice when building its case against the cyberlocker.

Judge O’Grady said that he would continue to study the FBI’s supposed procedural error in the matter, but stated that for now Megaupload was “kind of hanging out there”.

His blunt early assessment of the case’s criminal validity will provide some respite to Megaupload and Kim Dotcom as the defence continues to fight against extradition. Last month the revelation of a similar “procedural error” during the January raid of the company and Dotcom’s premises meant that the company’s owner could have been in line to recover his property and possessions.

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