Less than 24 hours after winning a crucial decision regarding evidence disclosure, MegaUpload’s legal team is going for the jugular, saying the US government violated due process rights by destroying Megaupload business without properly serving the company. Coincidentally, unlike people, companies cannot be served outside of US territory (like, say, New Zealand).
Per that US statute, due process rights are harmed when, “a liberty or property interest which has been interfered with by the State and that the procedures attendant upon that deprivation were constitutionally sufficient.”
MU’s legal team is arguing that seizing the company’s domains and data has effectively put it out of business. According to papers filed today:
Both prongs of the procedural due process test are plainly met here. The Government has seized Megaupload’s property and domain name, ruined its reputation, and destroyed its business pursuant to an indictment which is fatally flawed as a jurisdictional matter. Megaupload now finds itself in a state of abeyance, with no end in sight.
As a result of the Government’s inability to properly serve the summons on Megaupload, this Court lacks jurisdiction over the company. In the absence of effective service of process, criminal proceedings against Megaupload cannot commence, and as the Court has aptly noted, we ‘frankly don’t know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter’.
Megaupload is thus deprived of any procedure to clear its name or recoup its property, in clear violation of its due process rights.
The court obviously isn’t rushing into a dismissal decision lightly but the government certainly does seemed to have screwed the pooch in this prosecution and will have a hell of a time countering MU’s new legal strategy. [Torrent Freak]