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Dotcom's tweeting irks Crown lawyers

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/04/2017

Kim Dotcom's tweeting during his on-going extradition battle has drawn the ire of Crown lawyers.

The German-born internet entrepreneur is in the process of appealing a decision clearing his extradition to the United on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering over his role at fire-sharing website Megaupload.

But at a hearing ahead of a civil damages case Dotcom is bringing against the police and the GCSB kicked off on in the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday, Crown lawyer Kirsty McDonald, QC, told the judge the tech mogul had recently been making "inappropriate and scurrilous" comments on Twitter.

She said despite earlier warnings, Dotcom had sent out "egregious" messages about judges and others involved in his case, citing a tweet from February which read: "Judges who prioritize political views and career over impartiality and the law shouldn't be Judges at all."

"There are not different rules that apply to Kim Dotcom ... All other parties have refrained from public comment," Ms McDonald said.

But she stopped short of asking for a formal order by the court, acknowledging Dotcom had changed lawyer since the issue was last raised and saying freedom of speech needed to be considered.

Dotcom's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said he had been "ambushed" by the complaint and questioned why the Crown had not raised the issue before the public hearing.

Justice Murray Gilbert said he believed Mr Mansfield would advise Mr Dotcom on the matter and called an end to the discussion.

Dotcom was arrested in a police raid in January 2012, alongside co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Botato and accused of defrauding copyright holders and paying users to upload illegal files.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has led the investigation and claim Megaupload is a criminal conspiracy that earned the men $175 million.

In February, Justice Gilbert ruled the men could not be extradited on copyright charges, but upheld an earlier ruling that they were still eligible for extradition on the other charges.

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