RIAA Objects to Jammie Thomas Having Legal Council During Re-trial

There’s been small movements in the Jammie Thomas case, but recently, the US’s first file-sharing case to make it to the US court system and receive a full trial has surged back into the headlines. The reports suggest that the current legal council wants out of the case. When Thomas asked for new legal council for the upcoming re-trial, the RIAA objected to her getting new council.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

It’s a move that has surprised at least a handful of legal experts. A posting on Threat Level analyzed a move by Jammie Thomas’ legal council. Essentially, the defence council moved to withdraw his representation from the case. The lawyer cited not being payed his $130,000 in fees.

Of course, if you follow Ray Beckerman’s blog, the story doesn’t end there. From to this post:

According to Mr. Toder’s motion papers, the RIAA does not object to his withdrawal, but does object to the Court’s granting Ms. Thomas any continuance.

Effectively speaking, the major record labels don’t mind that the defence legal council leaves, but doesn’t like the idea of Jammie Thomas getting new legal council and wants her to go through with the retrial alone.

Ray Beckerman has since posted a call to any lawyer willing to pick up where the previous legal council left off. Richard Koman from ZDNet has already offered remote research and drafting support.

During the trial in 2007, there was controversy over the fact that the defence handed over a different hard drive to that of what the record labels demanded. There was additional controversy when evidence was submitted that showed how she had the same name on her Kazaa account as well as a few other social networking sites which contained her real name. At the end of the trial, Thomas initially lost her trial by jury. While the loss to some seemed like a fresh blow to US file-sharing users, things turned around when the judge admitted to making a mistake and granted Thomas a retrial. The RIAA appealed, but they lost that appeal, paving the way for a brand new trial.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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