July 18, 2012

Judge In Megaupload Trial Calls U.S. The ‘Enemy’

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

The judge overseeing the extradition case of the eccentric Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has just stepped away from the case after calling the U.S. the “enemy.”

As reported by the New Zealand Herald, Judge David Harvey was expected to rule over Mr. Dotcom´s extradition case next year. Seen as an authority on Internet law, Judge Harvey was the prime choice to rule over Dotcom´s case. Mr. Kim Dotcom faces extradition to the United States over charges of criminal copyright violation for operating his now defunct file-sharing site,

Last week, Judge Harvey was asked to take part in a discussion about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, a proposed intellectual rights agreement between the US and other countries. In his comments, Judge Harvey mentioned that it is currently legal for New Zealand citizens to hack a DVD´s region codes to view them in other, restricted countries. The TPP, said Harvey, would change this.

"Under TPP and the American Digital Millennium copyright provisions you will not be able to do that, that will be prohibited," he said.

"If you do you will be a criminal, that's what will happen. There are all sorts of ways this whole thing is being ramped up and if I could use Russell's tweet from earlier on - we have met the enemy and he is U.S."

Judge Harvey´s comments were a play on the old phrase, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Once this comment made the rounds about the Internet and several American-based tech blogs, Harvey decided it best to step down from the case.

Chief district court judge of New Zealand, Jan-Marie Doogue, issued a statement about Judge Harvey´s decision, saying, "He recognizes that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent internet conference could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case.”

No stranger to Dotcom´s case, Judge Harvey has ruled in the millionaires favor several times before. Most recently, Judge Harvey ruled to delay Dotcom´s extradition until march 2013.

Harvey´s earlier rulings have allowed Dotcom to return to his mansion, free of electronic monitoring devices.

According to the Herald, Judge Harvey will be replaced by Judge Nevin Dawson, who has previously presided over Mr. Dotcom´s case, granting him bail just one month after being placed in jail.

Kim Dotcom has been bounced around the legal system since his arrest during a raid on his mansion earlier this year. After his extradition case had been pushed back to March, issued a challenge to the U.S. legal system, saying he´d come to America on his own accord if they would unfreeze his accounts, allowing him to pay off his growing legal fees.

“Considering the way the U.S. government has conducted their case and the way I was treated, I never expect to get a fair trial in the United States,” he said. “We are not expecting to hear back regarding the offer and I remain committed to fighting extradition in New Zealand.