MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom made an especially bold offer this week, telling the Department of Justice that he’s willing to come to the U.S. of his own volition and turn himself in, provided they release his assets so that he can pay his legal bills and mount a proper defense.
“Hey DOJ, we will go to the US,” he wrote on Twitter. “No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers & living expenses.”
Dotcom’s offer came after a judge in New Zealand decided to delay his extradition hearing until March 2013 to allow time for some related legal questions to be resolved — like whether U.S. officials will be required to present evidence against him before he’s shipped off.
That’s a problem for prosecutors for several reasons, but primarily because a New Zealand court declared the raid on Dotcom’s mansion to be illegal, and the U.S. plans to use evidence obtained in that raid against MegaUpload’s founder. A video of that raid has also mysteriously gone missing.
Prosecutors also argued that there was so much data seized in the raid — over 150 terabytes, specifically — that it would have been impossible to filter through all of it in time for an evidence discovery deadline.
Once all that legal morass has been untangled, Dotcom could find himself penniless and without counsel — a prospect he’s definitely sweating over.
“They are sitting on all my money,” he told The New Zealand Herald. “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.”
Dotcom reportedly added that he believes the FBI will never accept his offer because, in his view, they have no real case. He and fellow defendants face up to 25 years in jail over charges that they ran the largest criminal copyright violation scheme in history.