8 Oct 2015

Dotcom takes the stand in extradition hearing

6:17 pm on 8 October 2015

Kim Dotcom has taken the witness stand in his fight against extradition, saying if he'd had a crystal ball, he would have put aside some of the millions he donated to his ill-fated Internet Party to fund his extradition defence.

Kim Dotcom in the Auckland District Court.

Kim Dotcom in the Auckland District Court. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The United States is trying to extradite Mr Dotcom and three other men on copyright violation, money-laundering and racketeering charges, related to their file-sharing website Megaupload.

The North Shore District Court is hearing applications from the men to pause the extradition attempt or even halt it altogether.

Today Mr Dotcom appeared as a witness for the first time in the extradition hearing, as his lawyers seek to pause or even halt the case.

They argue the US has prevented the men from using frozen assets to pay for international expert witnesses they need to properly defend the extradition attempt.

New Zealand's courts have allowed Mr Dotcom to use frozen funds to pay his legal costs, but the US has threatened to seize any of the money spent outside New Zealand.

Earlier today, Mr Dotcom's US lawyer, Ira Rothken, gave evidence about what international witnesses the defence would hire if it could spend the money.

He said experts in US extradition law, mass data storage, and file-sharing would help them rebut the US case.

Mr Rothken estimated it would cost US$500,000 to hire the experts the legal team needed, and two to six months to brief and prepare them to give evidence.

Both he and lawyers in New Zealand had tried to find experts who were prepared to act as unpaid witnesses, but that had proved fruitless, Mr Rothken said.

Even if they could be found, it was difficult to work out how their travel to New Zealand, and their expenses while here, would be funded, he said.