The New Zealand judge overseeing the extradition proceedings of accused file-sharing kingpin and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is recusing himself from the case after making a public remark that the United States was “the enemy.”

Auckland District Judge David Harvey was commenting at a copyright conference earlier this month when he said, “We have met the enemy, and he is (the) U.S.”

The court’s chief judge, Jan-Marie Doogue, said Wednesday that Harvey recognizes his comments “could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case.”

The U.S. government wants New Zealand to extradite Dotcom and Megaupload associates Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Batato.

Among other things, the government is demanding New Zealand authorities send the four, who remain free on bail following their January arrest, to the United States to face trial on racketeering, money laundering, copyright infringement and other charges.