Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud

Posted: January 3, 2013 by SJD in Prenda, Sunlust fiasco
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Update on the Sunlust fiasco

Previous coverage:

 

Despite the slow week, it did not take long for the defendant counsel Graham Syfert to react to the white collar crime defenders’ opposition to motion for sanctions in Sunlust Pictures v. Tuan Nguyen case (12-cv-01685). This time Graham concentrated on John Steele, accusing him of multiple fraudulent actions:


Pornographer Daniel Weber in India
  • Forgery of the first, and, possibly, second declaration of plaintiff’s principal, Daniel Weber. I wrote an investigative piece about it on 12/30/2012. Syfert analyzed the same sources (Web(b)er’s declarations and the Twitter feeds of both Sunlust Pictures principals Daniel Weber and his generous wife Sunny Leone) and, unsurprisingly, came to similar conclusions. In addition to our findings (misspelled surname, location and suspicious signatures), he also proves that it was physically impossible to fax the first declaration from India:

    Assuming that the fax was in the custody and control of Daniel Weber from execution to transmission, even if Mr. Weber owned or chartered a private jet capable of near supersonic speeds, it is still impossible that the affidavit was executed on the 17th in India and faxed from India on the 19th. The only possible way Mr. Weber had custody and control of Declaration of Daniel Webber from signing to transmittal, would be that it was executed in India and faxed from Los Angeles, which would just be odd.

  • Multiple misstatements, half-truths and outright lies in John Steele’s declaration and other documents. In particular, Graham Syfert:
    1. questioned the purported sale of “Steele Law Firm,”
    2. debunked John Steele’s arrogant statements that “all the bar complaints against him have been thrown out,”
    3. ridiculed John’s explanation of communicating with Mark Lutz in the courtroom (“Hey Mark, I’m here!”),
    4. analyzed mail recipients of the email chains between Gibbs and local attorneys, noting that while neither the “official” Prenda principal Paul Duffy, nor Plaintiff representatives were even included, the “BCC” field listed both John Steele and Paul Hansmeier — actual puppeteers of the ongoing criminal tragicomedy.
  • The following witty (yet absolutely up-to-the point ) paragraph has made my day, and, I hope, yours (the emphasis is mine)¹:

    Defendant previously filed for sanctions against Mr. Steele for his role in the November 27th hearing, and alleged that he drafted the letter sent to the court by Paul Duffy wherein Mr. Duffy stated he could not attend due to eye surgery. Mr. Duffy has filed a sworn statement that he wrote the letter. Dkt. # 40, Ex B. Therefore, Defendant withdraws only that portion of the previous motion for sanctions against John Steele to the extent that it alleged Mr. Steele wrote Mr. Duffy’s eye surgery excuse letter. In withdrawing that portion of the first motion for sanctions, Defendant has learned the valuable lesson that the name assigned to a specific electronic device does not necessarily mean that a person committed a wrongful act. Defendant and Defendant’s counsel apologize to Mr. Steele for his accusation in that matter.

    I hope that everyone has read the document in its entirety and did not miss some truly amazing pieces. If you did miss them though, I quote a couple (emphasis of the hilarity is mine):

    The Affidavit of Daniel Weber states that he was “unexpectedly in Los Angeles” which in itself seems peculiar, but his tweets show that he had dinner in Los Angeles on the 23rd of November and took his dog “Chopper” to the vet on November 24th.

    [...]it is also apparent that Mr. Weber was in New York City on November 30th, 2012, attending a party at Club Pranna on Madison Avenue and 28th Street.

    It is obvious from the public statements made, that as far as Mr. Weber was “unexpectedly in Los Angeles” he was also unexpectedly in New York three days after the hearing, attending a posh New York night club event with the other principal of Sunlust, his wife, Sunny Leone. Defendant found no details as to whether Chopper was also in attendance.

    Paragraph twenty of Steele’s affidavit states that he drove with Mark Lutz to Tampa to observe the hearing before this court, but paragraph twenty-one states that in the middle of the court proceeding, he felt the need to reassure his existence to Mark Lutz. (Dkt #40, Ex. D) Although they had spent four hours in a car together, found a parking spot together, went through security together, rode up in the elevator together, and entered the courtroom together, John Steele asks this court to believe that he suddenly felt compelled to notify Mr. Lutz, “Hey, I’m here.” as if Mr. Lutz was worried about John Steele suddenly abandoning him in Tampa, or turning invisible like a superhero.

    Defendant should not be forced to continuously be a gatekeeper of the correct spelling of the name of Plaintiff’s principals or the truth of statements made in this court under penalty of perjury.

    Media coverage
    Update

    1/14/2013
    On 1/14/2013 “white collar crime defenders” James E. Felman and Katherine E. Yanes replied to Syfert’s Second Motion for Sanctions, calling defendant’s accusations that are based on undeniably solid evidence “speculations.” One word: unconvincing. Well, I probably had unreasonably heightened expectations from this firm, but given the weakness of this opposition, KMF is rather a below-the-average provincial law firm. A tendency to simply ignore addressing tough accusations (the bogus dog excuse, for example), instead concentrating on relatively weaker opponent’s arguments or procedural issues is more a sign of a forum troll than a good lawyer. While reading this document by itself, it looks decent, but try to read it side-by-side with Syfert’s… Meh.

     


    ¹ I’ll try to explain the irony to the visitors who are not so familiar with the copyright trolling phenomenon: one of the gruesome and predatory features of the current blizzard of copyright infringement lawsuits is the astonishing percentage of false positives. In many occurrences (sometimes in 30% of all cases, as one infamous copyright troll, Mike Meier, admitted on the record) troll lawyers harass and extort people who have nothing to do with the alleged wrongdoing, but simply happen to pay the Internet bill (i.e. their name was “assigned to a specific electronic device”: a cable or DSL modem).

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    Comments
    1. d'oh! says:

      Still reading, but so far this is my favorite line: “Defendant found no details as to whether Chopper was also in attendance.” Syfert is a pretty hilarious guy it turns out…

      • Troll Chaser 2000 says:

        My chuckles followed that footnote as well. But, think about it, I’m sure a sick dog would have been a damper on all the festivities and not likely to have been given a clear bill of health to fly by his vet.

        I feel for poor Chopper that was needlessly drawn into this hubris!

    2. d'oh! says:

      Ha! Another gem: “Defendant should not be forced to continuously be a gatekeeper of the correct spelling of the name of Plaintiff’s principals or the truth of statements made in this courtunder penalty of perjury.”

    3. Anon says:

      Only $2500 sanction for forging a sworn document?

      • Anonymous says:

        My guess is from Seyfert’s POV the monetary sanction is gravy compared to dropping this bomb on the docket, maybe even a formality, and perhaps he feels confident that this time the real penalty will be administered by law enforcement or at least the Florida Bar.

        Truly remarkable that Prenda thought they could bluff through misspelling Webbbebener’s name. I wonder which one of their retards thought that would result in a better outcome than just trying to blow it off as a typo and move on. Once Seyfert was on to the screwup, there is no imaginable scenario where they were somehow going to be able to lie to the judge and opposing counsel about this basic fact, especially with a judge who is as hostile and skeptical as Scriven. I have been watching Prenda long enough to know that egotism and overconfidence play a major role in their decision-making, but this looks like true mental illness.

        It will be interesting to see if there are real consequences this time or if they get to skate again with only their case dismissed. Scriven did say she was considering referring them to the Florida Bar at an earlier hearing, so maybe this will put Prenda’s conduct so far over the top that we will at least see that happen. Additionally, the mere presence of the white collar criminal defenders suggests there may be action going on behind the scenes that we don’t yet know about, and something sent Lutz to Mexico. Unfortunately, the greatest disappointment that has come from watching copyright trolling unfold has been learning just how low the standards are for attorneys in the US, and how the courts, law enforcement and other attorneys enable them to commit fraud all day, every day with little fear of consequences except for the most outrageous and blatant offenders.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your comment: “Unfortunately, the greatest disappointment that has come from watching copyright trolling unfold has been learning just how low the standards are for attorneys in the US, and how the courts, law enforcement and other attorneys enable them to commit fraud all day, every day with little fear of consequences except for the most outrageous and blatant offenders.”

          I have just started digging into this situation and after only a day of research I came to the same conclusion. I am not an attorney, nor do I know much about the law, but reading the motions and declarations; just on the surface I am amazed by the shenanigans that are going on. Different signatures, impossible timelines; seems like game, set, match yet the process goes on and on.

          I was also surprised the sanction amount was so low–then I also concluded the ruling and downstream implications may be the real payoff.

          When will the troll clients start to see how embarrassing this is to them–or maybe porn producers inherently don’t get embarrassed?

          Thanks to those working on these cases to bring this all to a fair conclusion.

          What can we do to change the law/statutes to eliminate this business model? Could we get something passed that would allow something like 3-strikes before there is potential award of damages? Heck, I have seen people with 7 to 10 DUIs get off easier than these “settlements” or decisions. There has to be “reasonableness” in the copyright laws.

    4. SJD says:

      Or another one as @RessyM tweeted:

      [...] as if Mr. Lutz was worried about John Steele suddenly abandoning him in Tampa, or turning invisible like a superhero.

    5. [...] Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud [...]

    6. [...] Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud [...]

    7. [...] Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud [...]

    8. [...] Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud [...]

    9. SaveADoeStarveATroll says:

      My favorite part is in the footnote on page 7 of 22, “At first glance, Defendant[']s counsel can come up with about three different lies which might explain this, but none of them are as probable as outright fraud.” I do feel for Mr Syfert. I can only imagine how tiring it is to have the legal responsibility to respond to these statements from Steele. I just picture Steele and Syfert standing before Judge Scriven: Steele, like a petulant little kid, “No judge, I didn’t eat the candy bar!” Syfert looking dumbstruck: “You still have chocolate on your face. Your Honor, he still has the wrapper in his hand. What the–? You’re still chewing on it!”

    10. The Tod says:

      Why does Steelio have a 6881Forsickness email address? Oh!!! And suck it Steele!!! Get ready to give up those 2500 big ones!! Fraud is a Felony!!

    11. Anonymous says:

      Flat out accusing Steele of forgery and fraud is ballsy. I’m surprised Seyfert went there, although if he is ever going to get a chance to nail Steele, this is it. He has on his side the combination of a judge who is really pissed off at The P Stooges and the knowledge that Prenda keeps digging a deeper hole under the pressure.

      I wonder if Seyfert is holding something back, hoping Steele takes the bait, tries to deny it, and then the other shoe will drop. Maybe someone lower on the totem pole cracked (or at least screwed up and gave something away) when Seyfert was sniffing around to unravel the Webbebebebbebener name and location mystery and gave him a smoking gun. Even though it seems like the time to unload with everything, giving these guys enough rope to hang themselves is working wonders. Just putting the Webebebbenr signatures side by side was a nice touch, this is definitely putting Steele in the crosshairs of the criminal justice system IF there is actually a line a lawyer can cross that will bring consequences.

      • Raul says:

        At this point it seems that Wasinger would like nothing better than to be given the chance to burn Prenda to the ground and salt the ashes.

      • SJD says:

        Yes, putting the signatures side by side was a brilliant idea ;)

        • Raul says:

          Reading the renewed motion I could not help but wonder which came first: the chicken or the egg? Nonetheless I am quite sure I heard a sound from the American desert of a douchebag crunching down on his martini glass and slowly start chewing.

    12. Anonymous says:

      brilliant
      just brilliant.
      I like the way he kept pounding in the nails. One after another. Over and over.
      Gave me goose bumps
      Mr. Seyfert
      Happy hunting …

      :)

    13. Subscribe says:

      Subscribed

    14. [...] Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud [...]

    15. Anonymous says:

      Looks like two new docket entries filed today. Anyone able to recap them?

    16. lkj says:

      The cure for “conjecture” is for Judge Scriven to order the personal appearance of Gibbs, Steele, Lutz & Weber/Webber (she should issue and hold a body attachment, in other words if you don’t show up you’re under arrest), place everyone under oath, and question each of them until they start claiming the self-incrimination privilege.

    17. SJD says:
      Update

      1/14/2013
      On 1/14/2013 “white collar crime defenders” James E. Felman and Katherine E. Yanes replied to Syfert’s Second Motion for Sanctions, calling defendant’s accusations that are based on undeniably solid evidence “speculations.” One word: unconvincing. Well, I probably had unreasonably heightened expectations from this firm, but given the weakness of this opposition, KMF is rather a below-the-average provincial law firm. A tendency to simply ignore addressing tough accusations (the bogus dog excuse, for example), instead concentrating on relatively weaker opponent’s arguments or procedural issues is more a sign of a forum troll than a good lawyer. While reading this document by itself, it looks decent, but try to read it side-by-side with Syfert’s… Meh.

    18. [...] fact-bending in the series of declarations by the plaintiff and his lawyers, which resulted in a motion for sanctions against Gibbs, Steele, Duffy and Wasinger filed by the defendant’s attorney Graham Syfert. It is [...]

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