“My question is this… If Zuccarini was prosecuted for using these particular domain names, are they not illegal?”
There are several legal actions involving what might be termed “Zuccarini domains”.
The basic lay of the land in THIS case is that an attorney in California bought uncollected civil judgments against Zuccarini and used those judgments to levy against his *other* domain names. In that view, *these* domain names were not the ones which triggered the civil judgments (which I believe also transferred the infringing domains). It is something like my putting a lien against your house because I obtained a judgment against you for hitting me with your car.
Now, there is another shoe to drop here, because the US government also has some outstanding issues, and has filed to intervene in the case. The US issues relate, IMHO, to back taxes and to a judgment with the FTC obtained against Zuccarini at some time in the murky past. Interestingly, the FTC order prevented him from engaging in a laundry list of activities involving trafficking in the entire set of his domain names.
Apart from all of that, there was a criminal conviction of Mr. Zuccarini resulting from an alleged violation of the Truth in Domain Names Act (or whatever it was called). Oddly, the indictment in that case relied on acts committed prior to the effective date of the statute, but Mr. Z took a plea deal for reasons unknown. US Attorneys can be very persuasive.
While the US has not completely dropped its shoe yet (the last time I checked the docket), it is not outside of the range of possibilities for the US to see things your way – i.e. that the collection of domains itself (cybersquatted or not) is somehow tainted as “instruments of crime” or some other theory that will snatch defeat from that clever California attorney’s hands.
Needless to say, the US government has large shoes.
The decade-long sweep of this story is epic.