The legal team representing Megaupload (founder Kim Dotcom and others associated with the file-sharing and storage site) has submitted a response to the U.S. government’s argument that Megaupload should face prosecution in the U.S. despite not having a physical address in the country. They are accusing the Department of Justice of trying to make up their own rules to keep the criminal case alive when the case should be dismissed. Earlier this month lawyers for Megaupload asked the court to do just that because U.S. law does not allow for criminal proceedings against foreign companies.
Megaupload's legal team has based their arguments on "Rule 4" of criminal procedure, which requires that a company has to be served at an address in the United States. Megaupload was based in Hong Kong. The DOJ argued in a filing last Friday that the court should deny Megaupload’s motion because federal rules should not be interpreted so narrowly and that a company should only be served at a U.S. address if they have one.
The Government also argued that, because Megaupload was doing business in the U.S., there should be no requirement to mail a summons to the company. Finally the DOJ argued that if the court did decide that Megaupload had to be served, it could send a summons to an address of their choosing.
In its rebuttal to the DOJ's most recent response, Megaupload’s legal team noted that none of the DOJ's arguments are rooted in case law and that they are trying to set a precedent to rewrite Rule 4.
"None of the Government’s arguments squares with the plain language of the Rule or with any known precedent construing it. Each should be dismissed, along with the indictment against Megaupload," they wrote in their response.
Further, they argue that there is no valid argument for letting the case move forward and that it should be dismissed to protect Megaupload's due process rights.
"It seems beyond dispute that (1) Megaupload has been deprived of its property, has had its reputation tarnished, and has had its business destroyed by the Government’s actions in this case; (2) to date, Megaupload has not been afforded a hearing or any other proceeding to contest these deprivations; and (3) absent service of process, this Court altogether lacks jurisdiction over the company."
We will have more on this case as soon the court makes a ruling on it.