A district judge in New Zealand today ruled that the US has satisfied requirements for a valid case and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and three associates can be extradited to face charges.

Judge Nevin Dawson told the court that the US had amassed an “overwhelming” amount of evidence against the defendants and that they “fall well short of undermining the case.”

The ruling comes nearly four years after Dotcom was indicted in the US and officials launched extradition proceedings.

The US wants the German-born Dotcom—as well as Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato—to face trial on racketeering, money laundering, copyright infringement, and other charges.

Officials say Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing service facilitated copyright infringement of movies, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on “a massive scale.” The government estimates the harm to copyright holders was “in excess of $500-million.”

“No matter what happens in Court tomorrow, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. Enjoy your Christmas & know that I’m grateful to have you, my friends,” Dotcom told his Twitter followers hours before the hearing.

Dotcom and his co-defendants can appeal the extradition ruling. One of his defense attorneys, Ira Rothken, tweeted after the ruling that they intend to do so. “The @KimDotcom team looks forward to having the US request for extradition reviewed in the High Court. We have no other comments at this time,” Rothken wrote.

The defendants will be allowed to remain out on bail in the meantime. Although the judge acknowledged there was a high risk of flight, he noted that the four had all abided by the terms of their bail since they were arrested.

The controversial case has had many twists and turns, ever since police raided Dotcom’s mansion at dawn in January 2012 in a paramilitary style assault usually reserved for drug lords, murderers, and terrorists, not copyright infringers. It involved a helicopter dropping four heavily armed agents on the grounds of his mountaintop house, and more agents with semi-automatic assault rifles swarming the sprawling grounds with dog handlers.

You can view video from the raid below:

Originally posted here: 

Judge Rules Kim Dotcom Can Be Extradited to US to Face Charges