“The Docket: 5 things that could happen next for Snowden”

August 5, 2013

CNN on August 5, 2013 released the following:

“By Joe Johns,

Washington (CNN) — Inside a tall, red-brick building in Alexandria, Virginia, there is a federal courtroom just waiting for admitted intelligence leaker Edward Snowden to show up.

But if he ever gets there, and it may be a while, the record of trials in the Eastern District of Virginia suggests justice could be swift and certain.

The modern, high-security facility just south of the nation’s capital was the original home of what has come to be known as “the rocket docket” — a place where many cases proceed at lightning speed relative to legal proceedings elsewhere.

It is where Snowden’s indictment alleging violations of the Espionage Act was handed up and it is where the U.S. government prosecutes the biggest national security cases.

While Snowden’s case is unusual and entangled in secrets that it could drag out for years, the Eastern District undeniably is one of the places that puts a premium on the concept of a “speedy trial.”

That’s why a guy in Snowden’s position — now a world away in Russia with a grant of temporary asylum — has to think about his next move.

So what’s an NSA leaker to do?

While it is not always wise to speak with certainty about matters of international intrigue, here are five possible moves Snowden could make.

Option 1: Find a way to get to a place of relative “long term” refuge. In a major victory, Snowden won temporary political asylum in Russia. “It’s a very significant achievement for Snowden. It gives him an entire year for him to figure out his options, to see if he can manage to get to one of the countries that has offered him asylum in South America. It takes him out of the discomfort of the transit zone and into Russia itself, where he presumably has to be with friends and associates and it just gives him a tremendous amount of time,” said international extradition lawyer Jacques Semmelman. The down side for Snowden is that his asylum is limited. “It creates the possibility that there has to be something new that will come up in a year,” said CNN consultant and former FBI official Tom Fuentes.

Option 2: Negotiate a solution and return to the United States. Edward Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, hoped at first that there might be a way to arrange for his son to return to the United States. But as of last week, he had changed his opinion dramatically after hearing commentary on the issue from Congress and the Obama administration. “In this climate, I don’t believe that’s possible. So yes, I think Russia is the best place for him. Russia has the strength and conviction to protect my son.” But experts don’t think the Department of Justice is itching to strike a deal that would clear the way for Snowden’s return. “The U.S. will not negotiate with fugitives as a matter of policy,” Semmelman said.

Option 3: Extradition. It’s the least of Snowden’s worries now. The United States has no extradition treaty with Russia. Why? Because certain senators fought it out of fear Russia might ask the United States to hand over Russian dissidents and other defectors. The chances of the United States quickly ratifying an extradition treaty are unlikely.

Option 4: The “no passport” play. This could be a problem for Snowden. When he was indicted, the State Department also revoked his passport. According to Fuentes, international agreements allow governments to deport people without valid passports to the country from which they entered or to the nation of their citizenship. “So in this case, the Russians could at any time — they could have done it already, they could do it now — they could stick him back on a nonstop flight to U.S. and say goodbye … or to Hong Kong where Snowden was last.” Hong Kong has an extradition agreement with the United States.

Option 5: Head to a nation’s embassy that will keep him. Experts say it is always a possibility to camp at a foreign embassy in Moscow or elsewhere. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. And Snowden is traveling with a representative of WikiLeaks. “Once he is in an embassy, in the sovereignty of another country there is nothing the U.S. could do,” Semmelman said.

What is not likely, we are told, is a scenario involving U.S. operatives grabbing Snowden off the streets of Moscow and delivering him to the Eastern District courtroom.

That, say experts, only happens in Hollywood.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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U.S. v. Edward J. Snowden – Federal Criminal Complaint

June 21, 2013

As International Extradition Lawyer Douglas McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal criminal violations:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

“U.S. charges Snowden with espionage”

The Washington Post on June 21, 2013 released the following:

By Peter Finn and Sari Horwitz,

“Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

Snowden was charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,” according to the complaint. The last two charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.

The complaint, which initially was sealed, was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered and a district with a long track record of prosecuting cases with national security implications. After The Washington Post reported the charges, senior administration officials said late Friday that the Justice Department was barraged with calls from lawmakers and reporters and decided to unseal the criminal complaint.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Snowden flew to Hong Kong last month after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii with a collection of highly classified documents that he acquired while working at the agency as a systems analyst.

The documents, some of which have been published in The Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, detailed some of the most-
secret surveillance operations undertaken by the United States and Britain , as well as classified legal memos and court orders underpinning the programs in the United States.

The 30-year-old intelligence analyst revealed himself June 9 as the leaker in an interview with the Guardian and said he went to Hong Kong because it provided the “cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained.”

Snowden subsequently disappeared from public view; it is thought that he is still in the Chinese territory. Hong Kong has its own legislative and legal systems but ultimately answers to Beijing, under the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

The leaks have sparked national and international debates about the secret powers of the NSA to infringe on the privacy of Americans and foreigners. Officials from President Obama on down have said they welcome the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs and the safeguards they say are built into them. Skeptics, including some in Congress, have said the NSA has assumed the power to soak up data about Americans that was never intended under the law.

There was never any doubt that the Justice Department would seek to prosecute Snowden for one of the most significant national security leaks in the country’s history. The Obama administration has shown a particular propensity to go after leakers and has launched more investigations than any previous administration. This White House is responsible for bringing six of the nine total indictments ever brought under the 1917 Espionage Act. Snowden will be the seventh individual when he is formally indicted.

Justice Department officials had already said that a criminal investigation of Snowden was underway and was being run out of the FBI’s Washington field office in conjunction with lawyers from the department’s National Security Division.

By filing a criminal complaint, prosecutors have a legal basis to make the detention request of the authorities in Hong Kong. Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment, probably under seal, and can then move to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong for trial in the United States.

Snowden, however, can fight the extradition effort in the courts in Hong Kong. Any battle is likely to reach Hong Kong’s highest court and could last many months, lawyers in the United States and Hong Kong said.

The United States has an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and U.S. officials said cooperation with the Chinese territory, which enjoys some autonomy from Beijing, has been good in previous cases.

The treaty, however, has an exception for political offenses, and espionage has traditionally been treated as a political offense. Snowden’s defense team in Hong Kong is likely to invoke part of the extradition treaty with the United States, which states that suspects will not be turned over to face criminal trial for offenses of a “political character.”

Typically in such cases, Hong Kong’s chief executive must first decide whether to issue a warrant for the accused’s arrest. But the extradition treaty also says that in exceptional cases a provisional warrant can be issued by a Hong Kong judge without the chief executive’s approval. The judge must give the chief executive notice, however, that he has issued the warrant.

A spokesperson at the office of Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying said there was no information on Snowden’s case. The police department did not respond to calls or e-mails. At the police station for Central District in Hong Kong Island, police officers on duty said they had not heard anything about Snowden.

If Snowden is arrested, he would appear before a judge. Bail would be unlikely and, instead, Snowden would be sent to the Lai Chi Kok maximum-security facility in Kowloon, a short drive from the high-end Mira Hotel, where he is last known to have stayed in Hong Kong.

Snowden could also remain in Hong Kong if the Chinese government decides that it is not in the defense or foreign policy interests of the government in Beijing to have him sent back to the United States for trial.

Another option would be for Snowden to apply for asylum with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which handles most asylum requests in Hong Kong. The UNHCR was closed Saturday morning and did not immediately respond to requests for comment via e-mail and phone. The asylum application process can take months or even years because Hong Kong has a severe backlog. The Hong Kong government cannot formally surrender individuals until their asylum applications have been processed.

Snowden also could attempt to reach another jurisdiction and seek asylum there before the authorities in Hong Kong act.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


New Zealand court tells U.S. to reveal MegaUpload evidence

May 29, 2012

CNet on May 29, 2012 released the following:

“A court tells New Zealand and U.S. governments that they have three weeks to show what they have to support their indictment against MegaUpload managers.

by Greg Sandoval

A New Zealand judge wants to see the evidence against MegaUpload’s managers.

Judge David Harvey has given New Zealand law enforcement officials three weeks to provide documentary evidence against managers of the cloud-storage service accused of encouraging massive copyright infringement.

Harvey was responding to a request made by MegaUpload’s lawyers to require New Zealand, which is pressing the case on behalf of the United States, to fully disclose the evidence against company managers. The U.S. government in January indicted MegaUpload’s founder Kim DotCom and five others connected to the company on criminal copyright charges.

As part of that indictment, DotCom’s home was raided by New Zealand police, his possessions seized and he was thrown in jail. The United States wants to try DotCom and the other defendants in its own country and an extradition hearing in New Zealand is scheduled for August 6.

Before that happens, Harvey wants to give DotCom’s lawyers a chance to review the evidence against the defendants. Though the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) included some e-mail conversations and documents in the MegaUpload indictment, Harvey wants them to see everything they have.

“This [court decision] makes the playing field more even,” said Ira Rothken, the attorney who is overseeing MegaUpload’s worldwide defense. “I think this is a very significant ruling for New Zealand because it demonstrates that New Zealand courts will intervene to protect the rights of its residents from foreign intrusion…we’re looking forward to this disclosure. Once there is full transparency into the government’s claims we believe Kim DotCom and the rest of those involved with MegaUpload will prevail.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the office that filed the indictment against MegaUpload, was not immediately available for comment. We will update as soon as we hear back.

Harvey also ruled that DotCom can remove the electronic monitoring device from his ankle and move back into the mansion where he lived prior to the January 19 raid on his home, Rothken said. Since his arrest, DotCom had been living in a smaller residence adjoining the so-called DotCom mansion.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call: mcnabb.mcnabbassociates

           Office Locations

Email:


MegaUpload lawyer claims the feds are impeding its defense

March 29, 2012

CNet on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“MegaUpload wants access to its servers to defend against U.S. charges of piracy and racketeering. But its lawyer says officials won’t release $1 million necessary to get the information.

by Greg Sandoval

The U.S. government has refused to allow the MegaUpload defendants access to information on their servers, which in turn is impeding their ability to defend themselves, the company’s lawyer told CNET.

Ira Rothken, the U.S. attorney overseeing MegaUpload’s international defense team, said the U.S. has refused to release funds that would enable MegaUpload to preserve and gather materials from company servers vital to its defense. Rothken said that he fears U.S. officials are withholding the money in an attempt to unfairly hobble MegaUpload’s defense.

“It’s hard to reconcile the chain of events in this matter with any other conclusion,” Rothken said. “MegaUpload is frustrated and wants to preserve the data for litigation and to defend itself and ultimately — with the approval of the court — to provide consumers access to their data.”

In January, the U.S. issued an indictment against MegaUpload, founder Kim DotCom and six other managers of the cyberlocker service, where users could store e-files and then share the contents with others. MegaUpload’s leadership is accused of conspiring to commit Internet piracy, racketeering and wire fraud. DotCom’s home in Auckland was raided by New Zealand police, his assets seized and the service shut down.

The U.S. wants to try DotCom in this country and an extradition hearing is scheduled for August. Rothken said there is no criminal secondary copyright infringement in the United States and said MegaUpload will prevail.

The case is important because until now, copyright infringement was largely a civil, not a criminal matter. For the most part, the worst thing that could happen to a service accused of helping customers infringe intellectual property was that someone might sue it.

Not any more.

U.S. officials seem intent on making some types of copyright infringement a criminal offense. U.S. authorities say MegaUpload was responsible for $500 million in damages to copyright owners, and the feds appear to have dedicated some serious resources to prosecuting the company. To defend itself against the U.S. government, MegaUpload will need all the material to which it is entitled, said Rothken.

As the extradition hearing nears, company lawyers say they’re unable to collect emails, files and other documents they claim will refute the allegations against MegaUpload. The company’s servers are hosted by Virginia-based Carpathia Hosting. The government initially locked the servers up while its agents collected evidence, but in January released all claims to them.

MegaUpload believed it would then be able to copy information from the servers itself. Rothken said he attempted to hire an electronic-discovery expert from KPMG to collect the data, but found that the cost would exceed $7 million. U.S. officials declined to release funds from MegaUpload’s seized assets to pay for the operation, the lawyer said.

Rothken then negotiated a deal with Carpathia to buy the servers for a little over $1 million, but he says the government again refused to release the money. Rothken said that the servers were worth more than the $1 million and that after the case was over their sale would bring the cost of the transaction to zero.

Rothken said he also told the government that he would restrict access to the data to only lawyers involved in the case. Still, the government wouldn’t budge.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the MegaUpload indictment was issued, suggested in an e-mail that the office didn’t consider Rothken’s requests reasonable.

“As we’ve stated previously,” the spokesman wrote, “we continue to give careful and thoughtful consideration to any reasonable and detailed proposal by MegaUpload’s counsel that addresses the practical and technical issues of this matter for the court. Ultimately, it is the court that will decide what is appropriate and whether any funds will be released to carry it out.”

A hearing on the issue of what will be done with the MegaUpload’s data is expected in mid-April. Carpathia has said the cost of maintaining the servers has topped $500,000 and pleaded with the court to either allow the company to delete the information or to figure out a way to pay for the data storage.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has said that it wants to preserve the data so that it can use it as evidence should it decide to file civil litigation. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants the material saved so that legal files stored on the service can be returned to consumers at the earliest possible time.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Megaupload founder faces lengthy extradition battle

January 25, 2012

Thomson Reuters on January 25, 2012 released the following:

Reporting by Gyles Beckford and Rebecca Hamilton

“Jan 25 (Reuters) – Efforts by the United States to extradite the mastermind of an alleged Internet piracy scheme from New Zealand to face copyright infringement and money laundering charges are likely to be long and complex.

Kim Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim Schmitz, will be held in custody in New Zealand until Feb. 22 ahead of a hearing of a U.S. extradition application.

U.S. authorities claim Dotcom’s file-sharing site, Megaupload.com, has netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage and that he will fight extradition.

“It could take some considerable time to get through the whole thing,” said senior New Zealand lawyer Grant Illingworth, adding there were rights of appeal and procedural review to both sides.

Dotcom, 38, and three others, were arrested on Friday after a police raid at his rented country estate, reputedly New Zealand’s most expensive home, at the request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Under New Zealand’s extradition law the prosecution must show there is enough evidence that would substantiate charges against Dotcom and the others accused of breaching local copyright laws.

“What the judge has to do is decide whether there is a prima facie case that would justify the person being put on trial if the offence had occurred in New Zealand,” Illingworth said.

“If the evidence doesn’t make out, what under New Zealand law amounts to a prima facie case, then the person walks away.”

A 1970 extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand gives the U.S. 45 days from the time of Dotcom’s arrest to request extradition. The New Zealand Extradition Act, passed in 1999, gives the United States preferential status to access a streamlined process for making its request.

The judge who refused Dotcom bail said he could not assess whether the United States had a strong enough case against Dotcom, nor whether he had a good defense.

“All I can say is that there appears to be an arguable defense, at least in respect of the breach of copyright charges,” Judge David McNaughton wrote in his judgement.

CIVIL MATTER

Copyright infringement and illegal file sharing are normally civil matters in New Zealand, but there is a provision for criminal charges and a maximum 5-year jail term for serious breaches.

Rick Shea, a partner at Lowndes Jordan in Auckland, said there were some differences between New Zealand and U.S. copyright law, in terms of knowledge, that could be an issue.

Douglas McNabb, a U.S. lawyer who specializes in extradition defense, said extraditions to the United States have to meet probable cause – the same standard that is required for making arrests in the United States.

Although the extradition hearing is not a test of guilt or innocence, McNabb said Dotcom’s lawyers may argue they should be allowed a limited discovery process to show that probable cause has not been met.

Prime Minister John Key said the issues raised were serious and New Zealand would co-operate with the U.S. authorities.

“This is the largest, most significant case in Internet piracy so New Zealand is certainly going to work with the United States authorities to allow them to extradite Kim Dotcom,” he said on TV3.

According to Shea, New Zealand has never had an extradition proceeding involving copyright law. “I wouldn’t expect this to be sorted out quickly,” he said.

AGGRESSIVE CHARGES

Anthony Falzone, Director for Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, said it was too early to comment on the strength of the case, but questioned whether some of the allegations in the indictment would actually push Megaupload outside the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The indictment “pushes some pretty aggressive theories”, Falzone said.

The most recent Supreme Court case to deal with similar issues was in 2005. In MGM v. Grokster, the U.S. court highlighted the importance of intent in determining if an Internet firm was liable for its users infringing copyright.

“A lot of the Megaupload case may also rise and fall on the question of intent,” said Falzone.

With MGM, the court found the intent of the Internet company from the beginning was to build a tool to facilitate illegal sharing.

“Maybe that’s what the Feds (FBI) think they have here, too,” said Falzone.

The case is USA v. Kim DotCom et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, no. 1:12CR3.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.