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      « Megaupload and Kim Dotcom File Supplemental Brief Seeking to Dismiss Government's Forfeiture Action | Main | Megaupload and Kim Dotcom File a Motion to Dismiss the Copyright Claims Underlying US Criminal Case: "Copyright Crimes When Scrutinized...Are Figments of the Government's Boundless Imagination." »
      Monday
      Dec082014

      Megaupload and Kim Dotcom File Opposition to US Attempt to Use the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine

      Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, and other interested parties filed submissions today in Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia opposing the US DOJ's attempt to use the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine as a procedural method of taking all of Kim Dotcom's and the other parties' assets prior to trial and without any hearing on the merits of the underlying criminal claims. The motion was filed in the context of a forfeiture proceeding.
       
      Here is an excerpt from the opposition brief filed today:

      With its Motion to Strike (“Motion”), the United States Government is seeking to ward off inquiry by this Court into essential legal questions, including whether the Court has jurisdiction over the relevant subject matter; whether it has jurisdiction over the relevant foreign assets; whether the foreign assets at issue are traceable to any alleged crimes; and whether the alleged crimes even amount to crimes. Only by invoking “fugitive disentitlement” might the Government skip past glaring, fatal defects in its supposed case for civil forfeiture and obtain an unjust result that should otherwise be beyond reach. If the Government has its way, then it will win from this Court an order calling for forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in Claimants’ foreign assets without the Court so much as permitting adversarial contest on the obvious, fundamental jurisdictional and merits questions otherwise looming before it. 

      According to the Government’s Motion, the fugitive disentitlement doctrine yields this disquieting result, depriving Claimants of threshold standing to contest forfeiture of their own assets abroad and trumping even threshold inquiry into jurisdiction. But the Government thereby distorts the concept of “fugitive” status beyond recognition. These Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution. 


      With its Motion to Strike (“Motion”), the United States Government is seeking to ward off inquiry by this Court into essential legal questions, including whether the Court has jurisdiction over the relevant subject matter; whether it has jurisdiction over the relevant foreign assets; whether the foreign assets at issue are traceable to any alleged crimes; and whether the alleged crimes even amount to crimes. Only by invoking “fugitive disentitlement” might the Government skip past glaring, fatal defects in its supposed case for civil forfeiture and obtain an unjust result that should otherwise be beyond reach. If the Government has its way, then it will win from this Court an order calling for forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in Claimants’ foreign assets without the Court so much as permitting adversarial contest on the obvious, fundamental jurisdictional and merits questions otherwise looming before it.  According to the Government’s Motion, the fugitive disentitlement doctrine yields this disquieting result, depriving Claimants of threshold standing to contest forfeiture of their own assets abroad and trumping even threshold inquiry into jurisdiction. But the Government thereby distorts the concept of “fugitive” status beyond recognition. These Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution... 

      Read the full brief

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