One of the best-known United States defense lawyers has withdrawn from the case involving content-sharing service Megaupload.com. The company is working to fight copyright infringement charges. Robert Bennett was required to withdraw from the case because of a conflict involving one other client with his law firm, Hogan Lovells. Other relationships between Bennett and clients were not disclosed.
Megaupload.com was initially represented by Bennett, which has seen seven of its executives charged in a five-count, 72-page indictment. The unsealed indictment details that the company put together a wide scheme that would offer material on the internet without compensating those who hold the copyrights to the material.
Bennett has represented President Bill Clinton during a sexual harassment case filed by Paula Jones. Bennett served as Clinton’s private attorney. Bennett has also been the representative of other prominent Washington officials and United States corporations, one of which being ex-energy giant Enron Corp.
According to the ethics rules for United States lawyers, a law firm typically does not represent two clients who interests compete with each other. His firm, Hogan Lovells, is one of the biggest law firms in the world, which surely deals with conflicts on a regular basis because of their large client pool.
Bennett was employed by Megaupload prior to the indictments being handed down against the website’s executives. This information was provided by Ira Rothken, one of the lawyers for Megaupload. Bennett was said to be dealing with matters other than criminal defense for Megaupload.
Bennett provided additional guidance to Megaupload after the United States Justice Department handed down the indictments. Rothken also said that he was not prepared to issue comments about the arrangement of the United States legal team.
“Who is or isn’t on the criminal defense team is still being decided,” Rothken said.
It has been alleged by United States investigators that Megaupload made more than $175 million by distributing copyrighted material without the authorization required to do so. Megaupload has promised a strong legal defense in response to the indictments. The company claims that it only offers online storage for its customers.