Megaupload hire renowned defence attorney

04:03, Jan 21 2012
Lawyer Robert Bennett
HIRED: A file photo of lawyer Robert Bennett who has been retained to defend against internet piracy charges.

One of the US's most prominent defence lawyers will represent file-sharing website Megaupload on charges that the company used its popular site to orchestrate a massive piracy scheme that enabled millions of illegal downloads of movies and other content.

Washington attorney Robert Bennett said early today (NZ time) that he will represent the company, which was indicted in US federal court in Alexandria yesterday (NZ time) on copyright infringement and other charges.

Bennett promised a vigorous defence, but declined to comment on the case in detail.

Megaupload's founder Kim Dotcom, 37, was arrested in an early morning swoop yesterday at his $30 million rented mansion in Coatesville, 30km north of Auckland, in New Zealand.

Dotcom and three others - Finn Batato, 38, and chief technical officer and co-founder Mathias Ortmann, 40, both from Germany, and Dutch national Bram van der Kolk, 29 - appeared in the North Shore District Court yesterday.

Bennett is best known for serving as US President Bill Clinton's attorney when he was accused of sexual harassment by Paula Jones. He has also represented Defence Secretaries Clark Clifford and Caspar Weinberger. On the corporate side, Bennett has represented Enron and others.