United States district court Liam O’Grady has warned that Megaupload may never proceed to trial due to the failure of the FBI to serve the accused file locker with criminal papers.
The omission is a serious threat to the procedures US law enforcement and the Justice Department are eager to proceed with.
"I frankly don't know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter," O’Grady said, according to a report by the New Zealand Herald.
Megaupload’s global lawyer, Ira Rothken, said the reason the company was not served papers for a criminal case was that companies can only be served civil papers if they are located outside the US, according to the report.
Rothkin added that the crimes Megaupload’s key figures are charged with are not extraditable offences.
The procedural error at the US end comes shortly after New Zealand Justice Judith Porter ruled a restraining order on Dotcom’s sizable assets “null and void”.
According to the New Zealand Herald, that order was granted restrospectively last week.
The latest twist in the Megaupload legal saga comes after the US Government objected to Megaupload’s appointment of one of the best intellectual property law firms in the US, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, whose attorneys secured an initial favourable summary judgment for YouTube against Viacom.
The Government has argued the law firm faces a conflict of interest in playing any role in Megaupload’s defence because of the Hollywood clients it has previously represented.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has slammed the US Government after hearing the latest twist, telling Torrent Freak that the Government has destroyed 220 jobs and threatened the millions of customers whose data is caught in legal limbo as Megaupload’s main hosting provider Carpathia seeks compensation for preserving 25 petabytes of data that some 60 million users may want to access.
“The US government has terminated Megaupload, Megavideo and 10 other subsidiaries, including a company called N1 Limited that was developing a clothing line,” TorrentFreak quoted Dotcom as saying.