After more than three years of legal wrangling, two supreme court cases and 10 delays in the proceedings, the extradition hearing for internet tycoon Kim Dotcom and his co-accused has finally begun in Auckland.
A sea of lawyers and reporters flooded the district court on Monday to see Dotcom, sitting in a large leather arm chair specially brought in for ergonomic reasons.
He was dressed in black, wearing trainers, with his baseball cap resting on the bench. He made no comment to media as he entered court.
But while the hearing has been a long time coming, Monday’s session is expected to be filled with more legal debate.
Dubbed the “Mega Conspiracy” by the FBI, US authorities allege Dotcom and his associates – Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk – were involved in an organised criminal enterprise centred on copyright violation through Megaupload which earned them $175m (£112m).
The men are facing charges which, if they are found guilty in the US, carry decades of jail time.
Earlier this month Dotcom made a last-ditch bid to the court of appeal to have the extradition hearing put off again, but it failed.
Judge Nevin Dawson doesn’t have to decide whether the four are guilty or not, only if they should be surrendered to the US and go to trial there.
The hearing is expected to take several weeks.