Internet mogul Kim Dotcom's long-running legal saga over his extradition to the United States is becoming one of the most expensive in New Zealand's history.
Figures released to ONE News under the Official Information Act show up to five crown lawyers have spent more than 6,000 hours working on the case.
Crown law will not say how much that has cost, but private firms charge up to $600 an hour, which would bring the bill to more than $3 million.
And public law expert Grant Illingworth says there is still "an awful long way to go".
"There could be an awful lot more hours and I think to say we are halfway there might be optimistic."
But the Government could decide it is not worth the expense.
"On the information the Government now has and with the various complaints that have been made, the Solicitor-General might look at this situation, might review it and say we don't think there's a sufficient case to go further," Illingworth said.
Meanwhile, after months at the centre of the courtroom drama, Dotcom is tonight preparing for a different role as Santa in a Christmas pantomime.
The Megaupload founder joins a star-studded cast including former Shortland Street star Kimberley Crossman and former Outrageous Fortune actress Siobhan Marshall for the Basement Theatre's latest production Mega Christmas.
Dotcom's taken top billing in the play, a testament to the public's fascination with the man.
Dotcom tweeted today: "#MegaChristmas, a great accumulation of fantastic experiences at The Basement Theater. #Heaven for all of us at last."
Crossman tweeted yesterday: Dress Rehearsal #megachristmas - one more sleep - EXCITED!!! @basementspace @kimdotcom xxx."
The play, which is penned by Nic Sampson and Barnaby Fredrick, is to help fundraise for an upgrade of the Auckland theatre.