Hogan Lovells lawyer withdraws from Megaupload.com case

Well-known defense attorney Robert Bennett forced to withdraw due to conflict of interest

Photo courtesy of the AP

Hopefully he wasn’t caught downloading the latest LMFAO album, too. Just days after the announcement that Hogan Lovells’ Partner Robert Bennett would represent Megaupload.com in the massive copyright infringement case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ)last Thursday, news broke this morning that he was required to withdraw.

Reuters reported that a person familiar with the matter said that Bennett was forced to withdraw due to a conflict involving at least one of the firm’s other clients. Bennett initially had advised Megaupload.com both prior to and after the website’s executives were indicted last week for engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.

The DOJ indicted Megaupload.com and related sites, and arrested seven individuals for running an “international organized criminal enterprise” allegedly responsible for massive copyright infringement. The website is responsible for generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and for copyright holders’ loss of more than $500 million, the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Bennett is known for previously representing Enron, KPMG and President Bill Clinton in the sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones, among others.

Ira Rothken, one of Megaupload’s lawyers, told Reuters that he does not yet know who will comprise the company’s criminal defense team.

Bennett had told the media Friday that Megaupload intends to “vigorously defend these charges,” but declined to offer any specific comments on the case.

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