Deposition of Prenda’s Paul Hansemeier regarding AF Holdings: transcript

On 2/19/2013 Nicholas Ranallo and Morgan Pietz (from the defendant’s side), and Brett Gibbs (from the plaintiff’s), deposited a “witness”: Prenda’s senior (and, in my opinion, mastermind) Paul Hansmeier, asking him questions about a shell company AF Holdings. Today the transcript is available as an exhibit to the Ingenuity 13 v. Jon Doe (CACD 12-cv-08333).

I started reading it. It has 290 pages… So I decided to post it here and continue reading. I’m sure the discussion will be interesting.

[Scribd has a bug: opaque highlights are rendered on top of the text on Scribd, totally covering it, which looks like redaction. You have no choice but to load the pdf]


A visual layout

An amazing visual layout of the deposition made by John Henry. You’ll have to download it either from Scribd or here to navigate.


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59 responses to ‘Deposition of Prenda’s Paul Hansemeier regarding AF Holdings: transcript

  1. I’m on page 134, and so far my understanding from the deposition is that Mark Lutz is the sole employee of AF Holdings and doesn’t receive any compensation for his efforts. Further, my understanding is that Alpha Law Firm (the law firm of the deponent) receives no money from AF Holdings for its efforts. This is my understanding, even though it invokes quite a bit of head scratching I’m not really surprised. If you have time, this deposition is worth a read, even if it’ll take a few hours, if only to see how these things work, and how Paul Hansmeier answers questions and what objections Brett Gibbs brings.

  2. I’ve only made it to page 43 and the tone of exasperation in both Pietz and Ranallo’s questions is obvious as they struggle to get a honest answers over Gibb’s objections and Hansmeier’s smarmy, self satisfied, technically obtuse answers. I do not believe Judge Wright will be impressed with either Gibbs’ or Hansmeier’s performance.

  3. It’s TL;DR. Save your eyes.

    Cliffs: Lutz is the only employee of AF Holdings, he works for free; AF Holdings is actually owned by a trust, but Hansmeier doesn’t know who the beneficial owners of the trust are; AF Holdings doesn’t license its copyrights, it just files infringement lawsuits, and the settlement proceeds go into various attorney trust accounts to pay the “litigation expenses.” Steele is the only one who knows how Alan Cooper’s name got signed on AF Holdings’ copyright assignments.

    In other words Hansmeier channels Sgt. Schultz, who knows and sees nothink..

    Gibbs yips and yaps and makes lots of barking noises throughout.

    • read 80ish pages and I agree, tends to drone on and on with Hansmeier thinking he is smarter than he actually is and Gibbs panting like a puppy.

      pattern is
      question , hansmeier says he cannot possible remember a conversation he had a month ago , further questioning to drill into it, hansmeier recalls he may, in fact, have had a conversation about X but can’t recall the specifics. and so on and so on.

      Judge Wright won’t put up with that type of gamesmanship and, I imagine, would ask him to answer plainly or hold him in contempt.

  4. “Q.
    I can’t speak on behalf of Heartbreaker. After reading that, and as a corporate representative of AF Holdings that told me that AF Holdings has all the rights to distribute this work and no one else has any rights to distribute this work. Would you agree that the exhibit I just showed you tends to contradict that?

    Well, I know from reading the blog sites that you two participate in that I shouldn’t believe everything I read on the Internet.”

    Lulz. Should I believe anything I read from a lawyer who simultaneously represents himself, his law firm, and an embattled client?

    As far as AF Holdings knows, no one has the right to distribute this legally; is that correct?

    No, that’s not correct. I already told you before that under the first-sale doctrine, for example, someone could distribute their copy of it.”

    So, um, what?

    • Circa page 183, Hansmeier seems to me to be struggling to identify the software AF Holdings and its outsourced firm used to bring suit. A reasonable person would expect him to be a near expert, given all the suits Alpha Law Firm has brought, at least to describe the software in layman’s terms. Stinks of irresponsibility to me. More good reasons for a community for victims of these suits to exist!

  5. I paid $3 to download this from PACER earlier today, and I couldn’t put it down. The last few pages are extra-juicy.

    Does anyone have the exhibits document? I don’t want to pay $3 more for that if someone already has it.

  6. 6 BY MR. PIETZ:
    7 Q. You just testified that Alpha Law Firm
    8 represents AF Holdings. Has AF Holdings collected any
    9 settlement proceeds in the cases where Alpha Law Firm is
    10 counsel of record?
    11 MR. GIBBS: Objection. Outside the scope of
    12 the topics in the notice of deposition.
    13 THE WITNESS: Yes.
    14 BY MR. PIETZ:
    15 Q. And when AF Holdings collected those
    16 settlement proceeds, were they paid directly into the
    17 Alpha Law Firm?
    18 A. No.
    19 Q. How did Alpha Law Firm receive the money?
    20 A. The Alpha Law Firm did not receive the money.
    21 Q. Who received the money?
    22 A. The proceeds were directed to the Prenda Law
    23 trust account.

    Who’s on first?

  7. 130ish pages in. I must commend Mr. Peitz on, not only still maintaining a will to live after that deposition, but further being functional enough to file a response in 08333 that night.

  8. I like how they place the allllan cooper scandle on the guy who authenticated the signature “so they are OK with it” ….

  9. You might want to check page 134 as well.

    TL;DR version: Pietz is a pro, Hannsmeier is as nonresponsive as he can get away with and thinks he is a pro but contradicts his own testimony regularly, and Gibbs is making wildly inappropriate 1L-level mistakes throughout the depo transcript. This is what happens when you get a real lawyer (Pietz) in a room with a bunch of half-assed jokesters.

    Judge Wright, who is a very good and well-regarded judge, could make these guys’ lives miserable on 3/11.

  10. Achievement Unlocked: I made it through the whole deposition!

    Poor Hansmeier felt badgered. I wonder how his Does felt… Two things that stuck with me: (1) Peter Hansmeier apparently has a college degree — I didn’t think that was so, even though his own brother didn’t know what it was in (sounds like a really close, loving family, huh? Speaks volumes.). (2) Paul Hansmeier testified that AF Holdings targeted Navasca in part because of an apparent technical expertise/profession. Seems like circumstantial bullshit to me that wouldn’t hold water with government prosecutors. How many people in the 21st century know what they’re doing with computers?! I understand if a few lawyers don’t know a mouse from their asshole, but realistically, these guys seem to be pursuing cases circumstantially and hoping for the best. Male? (~50% of the population) Play video games? (who born after 1975 doesn’t?) Have a job where you use a computer? (what white collar employee doesn’t?) Time to sue! Gimme a break. I can only hope karma is real and harsh. The pain these assholes cause innocent people deserves to be paid back in this life or the next.

  11. Page 268 @ line 8: “I can tell you from the other side of the argument that these cases are — they’re all individual, they’re all unique.”

    BOOM! Every Doe who has not entered a motion to sever for improper joinder – here’s your smoking gun!

      • actually one of the few things Hansmeier very clearly states is that he is not an employee or stakeholder in Prenda Law (but that all monies directed to his firm, incidentally, are deposited in their trust fund instead of his). Obviously this is likely obfuscation and a bold faced lie but that is what is on this record.

  12. Line 13, Page 19; Line 15, Page 20: They admit their copyrighted works hold little to no value. Seems like a rather significant admission.

  13. The last part, where Hansmeier absolutely refuses to answer a simple question: did AF Holdings pay any money for the rights… all I can do Is shake my head.

    SJD, thanks for all the effort you’ve put into this, and congratulations for the amount of attention it’s now getting.

  14. Listening to that big baby Hansmeier whine and cry about being badgered and Nick laughing and sneering at him…

    With all the badgering they have done to their victims….

    I’m surprised Nick and Morgan held it together as well as they did, I doubt the record comes close to reflecting what a couple of retards Gibbs and Hansmeier sounded like.

    I particularly loved the part where after painstakingly establishing that AF’s official cover story is that Mark Lutz is the only employee they ever had, they drop the document signed “Brett Gibbs, in-house counsel, AF Holdings, LLC.” And our boys are like “What!? How can that be!?” And then Pinocchio refuses to explain because “it’s not his deposition.”

    Buckle up boys!

    • “Oh and just in case people are having trouble keeping up with all the twists and turns, the forensic evidence destroying program Hansmeier is referring to, ”

      I’m pretty sure that Hansmeier is referring to the program that captures IP addresses.

  15. Oh and just in case people are having trouble keeping up with all the twists and turns, the forensic evidence destroying program Hansmeier is referring to, that is the mark of a sophisticated technical expert, is almost certainly CCleaner.

    CNET editors gave the application a rating of 5/5 stars, calling it a “highly-recommended” and “a must-have tool” in spite of some minor glitches. In addition to that, CCleaner was awarded the April 2009 Editor’s Choice Award by CNET.


    • Seriously? A program that has been downloaded how many millions of times by untold numbers of users and now it’s the mark of an uberhacker? Mmmmkay. I think these guys are reaching just a bit.

  16. so this hansmeier guy is saying he receives no compensation for these lawsuits and he is saying mark lutz receives no compensation….perhaps what they are really trying to hide is that they have reported no income and they need to be investigated for tax evasion. (i am just thinking “out loud” and not saying they are guilty of this, just putting it out for discussion – i definitely don’t want to be sued).
    i’m only half way through the deposition and i want to drive to wherever this hansmeier guy is and kick him in the balls.

  17. Lol.. I would love to see Lutz’s face when Judge Wright starts asking him some of these questions regarding how he manages two companies and takes no salary or income from them (what a humanitarian and charitable too) makes decisions on what actions to take regarding lawsuits and their course and manages the accounting/book keeping….and all by him self (I dont use the word Hero much but really, Lutz is a hero here) Why is Lutz not working for the MPAA, I am sure he would work there ( free of charge of course ) while fighting evil infringers.

    I mean Lutz is able to appear for Sunlust pictures, Guava, Harddrive, AF Holdings… I am sure he could fit the MPAA into the mix and at next to no cost…..

  18. If anyone around here has gone to law school (I’m a former “Doe” who recently graduated), reading this document will demonstrate how deponent and their counsel should NOT behave. Also, retaliatory remarks and behaviours are a great way to absolutely get yourself in major trouble when it gets presented to the court, especially with the assigned magistrate.

    • correction: district judge. I was looking over many things that made me fall back onto informal terminology. Boiled down, I’m quite familiar with Judge Wright’s posture when it comes to those who overuse, misuse, and abuse the system.

  19. Jeezus pleezus … Pietz & Ranallo deserve medals for putting up with that level of ducking & dodging. Goddamn … it’s bad enough to question a lawyer, but to question a lawyer who’s made a living off of being a complete rat bastard douchebag.

    I think this is where Judge Wright has it right coming into the sanctions hearing: get all the players in the same room together. This deposition is full of legal squirming, circular logic, handwringing on definitions and a metric shit-ton of who’s on first.
    Really? Lutz was designated manager of AF Holdings by Sargeant. Sargeant made the designation under orders from Lutz?? WTF, man?

    Once the judge has all of these faces in front of him, that entire strategy goes out the window. Hansmeier says Steele did that? Mr. Steele, what do you have to say?
    Oh, that was Mark Putz? Mr. Putz, is that true?

  20. I read this whole damn thing. What do the objections mean in a deposition? I guess there is no judge there, so does the attorney just object and then the witness answers anyway, and it is later stricken if the judge agrees? Does the judge have to rule on every single one of the hundreds of objections?

  21. Oops…

    PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the putative Putative John Doe in 2:12-cv-
    08333-DMG-PJW by and through counsel, hereby applies for an order to seal the
    deposition transcript electronically filed in this action at ECF No. 69-1, as Exhibit A
    to the Notice of Lodging Deposition Transcript from 30(b)(6) Deposition of AF
    Holdings (ECF No. 69). Inadvertently, a home address for the deponent was left unredacted (see L.R. 5.2-1). An amended (redacted) version of the transcript is being
    re-filed concurrently herewith.

  22. You know listening to Hansemeier complain about being Bullied by Pietz , I suddently had this vision of Tattoo from Fantasy Island….Except it isn’t Tattoo…It’s Hansmeier playing the part of Tattoo and Gibbs as Mr Rourke, and Hansmeier is saying to Gibbs ” Da Pain Boss”….” Da Pain “

    • Nothing to say. I just wanted to get my IP addy on record as a commentor rather than just a lurker, to pad up to Excel spreadsheet that the Pretenda folks are subpoenaing from WordPress.

  23. Sometimes I am a bit slow in putting some pieces together. For instance, I just realized that this amazing deposition was taken on the same day (02/19/2013) that the brief filings by Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Pietz were due for the OSC hearing before Judge Otis Wright.

    Hence, both lawyers probably spent extensive time preparing their “intensive” pleadings just before facing one another for the above. I wonder how those pleadings would have differed if the deadline for Judge Wright was one day later. I also wonder about what other cases Mr. Pietz has pending against any part of the Prenda “web” of individuals/firms/”trusts”.

  24. I thought this part of the deposition at the end was really good. Boy you can almost hear the whinning of Gibbs and Paul Hansmeier. IMO they were playing it up for the court reporter. Hey Guys! Here is a clue – after all the evasive answers, you come off really bad and the “cry foul” that you feel flustered is sad. An agreement was reach that Prenda would no later than two weeks, provide details of the finacial agreement between AF Holdings LLC and Heartbreaker. We will see. The following can be found on pages 282-283.


    Q. Last chance. What’s the financial relationship between AF Holdings and Heartbreaker?

    A. For the last time and I will state for the record that I have felt very badgered here and I feel
    very flustered. I would respectively object to —

    MR. GIBBS:
    Mr. Ranallo, smiling about this whole thing —

    And Mr. Ranallo — I would note for the record that Mr. Ranallo just sneered and grinned and he’s continuing to sneer and grin and I believe he’s behaved very inappropriately and I believe Mr. Pietz — although in this particular area has been deeply disconcerting and distressing for my testimony. I will say again that this is – this agreement constitutes the financial and contractual
    relationship between AF Holdings and Heartbreaker Digital, LLC with respect to this assignment.

    Q. I’m going to note for the record one final time that this agreement does not mention any money
    being paid and ask this final question.

    MR. GIBBS:
    Was there any. He already — he’s been asked this question about 20 times.

    Q. He hasn’t answer the simple question. Money paid, yes or no?

    DTD 🙂

  25. Crazy. Well I am reading both of these sites so Please, Please get my IP address and try to subpoena my ISP for my information. I will sue you and win, and then hunt you down and end you. I don’t let people like you bully me.

    • Douglas@10:24. While I totally understand the emotion, you shouldn’t sink to their level. Karma has a way of nailing these clowns. I know you meant ‘hunt’ and ‘end’ in metaphorical or financial terms. And if you didn’t, don’t be posting that on these boards, m’kay?

      It’s not like there’s a lawsuit about this board or the commentary herein going on or anything….

  26. I’m going to copyright a system that allows piss ant lawyers to file bogus patients, then sue people for stating anything negative about them!!

  27. I am not saying that Paul Hansemeier is a retarded loser of a person and lawyer.
    However….It is funny that he doesn’t deny being a retarded loser. #justSayin

  28. It’s clear from the deposition that these guys think they are pros – but they’re not. They’ve been manipulating the legal system to extort the innocent and they’re so used to getting away with it they seem to think they’re invincible. I think they’re going to be surprised to find out they’re not as clever as they think they are. I predict jail time for one or more of these guys.

    The facade is beginning to crack and the rats are fleeing the ship. We’ll end up with all of them lawyered up trying to pin everything on “those other guys.”

  29. This is from Popehat, thought I’d share.

    Matthew Cline • Mar 8, 2013 @6:47 pm

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! The deposition was taken February 19th. Also filed on that day was this written document by Gibbs. On page 3 of the document, paragraph 9, lines 24 to 26:

    Livewire Holdings LLC recently purchased AF Holdings LLC . AF Holdings LLC thereafter became a wholly owned subsidiary of Livewire Holdings LLC .

    But in the deposition which is the subject this post, it was said that AF Holdings is owned by a trust. Am I making some sort of mistake, or confusing one entity with another?

  30. is the normal that the requester pays the cost of the isp`s compliance with a subpoena?

    The Troll Said

    “there would have been a fee
    paid to the internet service provider to pay for their
    cost of complying with the subpoena. And the cost of
    taking Mr. Navasca’s deposition would have been an
    expense paid by AF Holdings and –“

    • You know, I sort of disagree with calling them “brain damaged” or “stupid” or the like. They’ve (AF Holdings, etc.) have come up with truly a novel business model, and are executing it (for now, we’ll see Monday) not too horribly. Whether it ends up badly is anyone’s guess, but I’m reminded of Enron’s use of mark-to-market as described in “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”. Not to say what they’ve done is necessarily illegal (though it could be), it’s definitely novel and, pardon the pun, has ingenuity. They way they’ve gone about their business is certainly detestable by some, and that’s yet another similarity to Enron.

  31. How this deposition could be irrelevant for the Ingenuity and AFH combined cases with respect to Gibbs is beyond me. It’s not only relevant, it’s damning.

  32. i am leaving this comment so my ip is logged along with some known facts about prenda which i would like to publish to the internet, they are asshats and meanies, bullies and extortionists, they are working for the dark side and i look forward to their eventual destruction

  33. the only thi9ng missing from that awesome flowchart is that paul has no idea what his brother went to college for.

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