Prenda

March 11 hearing: another story by a witness

Yesterday I wrote that I would not be coming up with a story about yesterday’s eventful day. I provided a couple of links to eloquent, well thought pieces, especially by Megan Geuss (ArsTechnica) and Ken “Popehat” White. Yet this morning an anonymous commenter, who attended the hearings, shared his own story, which belongs to a post, not a comment. Even though we will eventually obtain and publish the transcript, personal perspectives of attendees are invaluable: only facts can be redundant, not impressions.


By Anonymous

No.

Gibbs did not have Wright wrapped around his finger. Believe me nobody who’s touched Prenda or their shells (that are “not even shells” in Wright’s words) should feel safe.

The tone of the hearing was set when Wright opened by calling out Prenda’s attorney:

    “ARE THEY HERE!?”

    “No.”

    “HAVE A SEAT!”

Federal Judge Otis D. Wright

That was basically all he wanted to hear, although there was a brief exchange that established they were supposedly available by phone (whether that would be a domestic or international call was not established). She took a dressing down for the last minute filing tricks, but the bottom line is Wright did not dignify their gamesmanship by letting their attorney make excuses, he did not waste time grinding through their objections, he said they had been given an opportunity to explain themselves, and since they chose not take that opportunity, he moved on. I can only imagine what she is thinking after sitting through that hearing, because I’m sure they didn’t fill her in on the backstory.

The next order of business was calling out Hansmeier’s deposition. The judge dismissively tossed a copy on the desk in front of him (seriously) and said he spent the weekend reading it and it was the most revealing document thus far. Wright was extremely upset with that deposition. Extremely.

“Someone has an awful lot to hide.”

Hansmeier is probably in trouble.

The rest is incomplete and not very chronological, just salient points:

Wright used the phrase “the lawyers have a pecuniary interest.”

He noted that none of these companies file tax returns.

The fact that LiveWire has no office, just a P.O. box in DC, came up. Gibbs’ lawyer started to make an attempt to make this sound legit, but then he said something about it being a “cloud office,” there were derisive snorts, and he just kind of gave up.

Wright took several specific shots at Prenda’s credibility. The word “lie” was used. And “fraud.” A few times when Gibbs was trying to pass blame to avoid giving a straight answer, Wright admonished him for doing “all the stuff that you do” to redirect responsibility. Expect a defamation suit against Judge Wright to be forthcoming…

Alan Cooper of Minnesota was there. He confirmed the bits we’ve heard, that Steele bragged about his copyright litigation plans, Steele’s goal was $10,000/day for sending letters, told Cooper not to answer any calls related to Steele’s companies. Denied knowledge of all of Steele’s uses of the name “Alan Cooper.” Basically, it confirmed what we had already heard and read in his letter, but no doubt putting this on the record, under oath, in front of this judge was very damaging to Prenda. Gibbs’s attorneys appeared to begin to counter Cooper’s testimony by asking Cooper if he had called Steele and left a voicemail asking “how are my porn companies doing?” Cooper simply said “no” and they gave up. This must have been a reference to the “iPhone record function” Steele was blabbering about on Twitter, but if there is anything there, Gibbs’s attorneys did not think it was worth pursuing. By that point Steele’s credibility had been shredded, and Pietz had played several voicemails of Steele threatening Cooper with more litigation, so I assume that if a recording (of someone) exists Gibbs’s attorneys do not have a copy and decided not to gamble on Steele’s word.

During the break Mitch Stoltz told us EFF took care of Cooper’s travel arrangements, so those guys deserve all our thanks and if you wanted to find a way to help with Cooper’s travel arrangements, make a donation to the EFF.

A new revelation that came out while Gibbs was under oath is that he was briefly a W2 employee of one or more of the shells, I think it was LiveWire and/or AF Holdings, but it’s so convoluted with the “mergers” and everyone owning everyone that it was hard to keep straight. That contradicted his prior statements that he had only ever been a 1099 employee. Of course he was never paid while he was on the payroll, and it was strange, he sounded like he was bewildered by the fact he had been an employee, like maybe they did that without telling him first too? Since he was under oath at the time he was perhaps less likely to be BS’ing at that point, but that was the story regarding his surprise “in-house counsel” job.

Wright dug into Gibbs quite a bit for pathologically failing to file notices of related cases, and Gibbs’ persistent confusion of “joinder” vs. “related” for filing purposes. He did a bit of digging into Gibbs weak and apparently inaccurate justification of his “investigation” of the properties. Wright said he had used Google Earth himself to take a look, so Gibbs ended up claiming that when he looked at maps of those addresses, the maps he saw had a different angle that totally gave the impression the house was surrounded by emptiness. It was not convincing.

For the juicier issues of Prenda’s decision-making process, Gibbs pretty much just passed the blame on to “senior members” with lots of “decisions were made” type responses. After all our speculation that Duffy is a nominal figurehead, it was very interesting to hear Gibbs talk about who gave his marching orders. It sounded like he basically never talked to Duffy, maybe once or twice was the impression I got. Even after the firm supposedly changed ownership and Duffy took over, whenever Wright asked who was giving instructions and making decisions, it was always Steele and Hansmeier. No matter where we were in the timeline or who was supposed to be the owner of what, whenever Gibbs was asked who gave him orders it was “Paul and John,” and according to my notes the order Gibbs spoke was “Paul and John,” which may be revealing: certainly Hansmeier has more direct involvement than I had believed to be the case. As they got to the newer entities, Lutz’s name was sprinkled in here and there, almost as if they were still in the process of reconstructing the story to shift more responsibility (read: blame) to Lutz. In any case, it was enough to make me wonder if Duffy is even a real person, or if he has had his identity misused too or what, because he doesn’t seem to do anything, so it doesn’t make sense that he would put his name on this powder keg of risk (unless of course he is getting fat checks, which may well be).

I will grant that Gibbs did a somewhat successful job of looking duped and misled. He was even asked directly if he felt duped by Wright, and after a surprisingly long pause said “in a way.” Not that I believe this could be true after two years of working with Paul and John, but I think he pulled it off. There were one or two points that even made me feel a bit of sympathy for him. For example, according to Gibbs’s testimony, many of the recent dunning letters bearing his signature that have been sent out for cases in other states used a stamp of his signature without his permission. He claims this began after he had decided to get out and sever ties with the firm, and that he told Lutz and Steele to stop (of course he didn’t notify any courts or authorities…). It sounded like a possible carefully constructed CYA, but given Steele’s vindictiveness it may well be that Gibbs is a “victim” in the sense that Steele has been attempting to set Gibbs up for even more trouble. Gibbs deserves every bit of trouble he may get, but I don’t want Steele to be allowed to weasel out of his own share of responsibility by using Gibbs’s name instead of his own. I can also believe that Gibbs did not know about the Alan Cooper and other possible forgery issues.

For the most part, the specific issues for which Gibbs was present became a sideshow. His attorneys kept returning to them, because that appeared to be all they were prepared for. My guess is they have absolutely no idea how deep the rabbit hole goes, but if they do know they have not had time to prepare excuses for the past two years of shenanigans, and they were overwhelmed. They had canned responses to the points on the OSC, but Wright was far more interested in digging into Prenda’s overall pattern of behavior and business model. Gibbs’s attorneys were unprepared to field those questions, and they occasionally offered up some objection that Wright’s line of inquiry wasn’t relevant to the OSC, but Wright rebuffed them by stating his concern was now patterns of practice and fraud upon the court. The last words from Gibbs’ counsel were an obviously prepared statement that seemed awkwardly out of place given the turn the hearing had taken; I believe they expected to show up, run through a prepared script, and call it a day. They are probably wondering what the hell happened.

What struck me as ominous for Gibbs and especially the rest of Prenda is that Morgan Pietz and Nicholas Ranallo appeared well prepared to go into greater depth to establish that Gibbs was working in more than an “of counsel” role, to argue the jurisdictional issues of the other Prenda guys, etc. But Wright really wasn’t interested in hearing more. But I don’t mean he didn’t find it relevant or convincing, more like he had made up his mind that this circus has gone on long enough. I would sum up his attitude at this point as “Why bother? I don’t need to hear this.” It was as if Wright was satisfied that he had more than enough for… Whatever comes next… And when he got to that point he was just done.

To me, the absolute standout moment of the day was when Gibbs stepped down from the witness box and Wright said “Good luck to you.” You had to be there to appreciate the menace in his voice.
For now, we can only guess what Gibbs might need that luck for.

Personally, I think Lady Justice is practicing her dropkicks.

Updates

3/12/2013

Here are another hearing attendee’s observations:


By jw

Since you ask for more impressions/observations, here are some from my own non-legal-expert perspective:

  • Many have noted the judge did not seem amused. While that is generally accurate with respect to Prenda’s (allegedly) fraudulent, deceptive, evasive practices, there were times at which the judge stifled laughter in apparent amusement. In particular: when he had to correct Waxler for saying the client “retains” attorneys; when Pietz corrected his use of the word “porno” with “adult entertainment.”
  • There was a nice moment in which, just before breaking for a 10-minute recess, the judge almost tenderly said “I hate to stop you [to Pietz]. But, since I care more about her [referring to the court reporter] than this case, and she has been going non stop since this started, we are going to break for 10 minutes.”
  • At one point, the judge asked Gibbs, under oath, if he understood his question, and then added, “Because I can hear you now… ’compound!’…”, making a joke about Gibbs’ extensive objections in the ~300 page deposition of Feb 19.
  • I was careful to observe Heather Rosing (attorney for Steele, Hansmeier, van den Hemel, and Duffy) throughout the hearing, since she got shot down so harshly by Wright at its opening. She was quite active throughout, talking animatedly to two other gentlemen who accompanied her there, and taking copious notes. She also at some point, spoke with Gibbs’s attorneys in an effort to apparently join forces to get them to contact her clients by phone. Though a phone appearance never happened, it seemed for a bit like they were trying to make it a real possibility. For what it’s worth, and this is only my impression, Rosing seemed a bit stunned by the revelations offered at the hearing, as if she hadn’t had the full story when she filed that ex parte motion… I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if she withdrew after yesterday’s revelations.
  • All the talk about popcorn, one might think there would have been a carnival atmosphere to the hearing. But it was really intense, people were quite glued to the proceedings, and very quiet. And, based on Wright’s demeanor and his strict no-food policy, it would have been terrifying to try to eat popcorn in there! I was even a bit scared to take a sip of my water in the room.
  • I have never been to a hearing before, so maybe court clerks are always awesome. But I have to say, I was really impressed by the court clerk running the show. She was a well-dressed, petite woman who was extremely attentive and obviously very on top of things in the room — keeping track of all the exhibits, etc. Wright’s two clerks (sitting behind the defense’s table… I think that’s who they were), were also interesting to watch. At one point, one of them, dressed very nicely in a purple tie and grey suit, handed Pietz his own flow chart Prenda diagram to use on the overhead “document reader” thingie when Pietz was having difficulty with the display from his iPad.
  • There were a bunch of reporters in the room. I noticed one young woman from the LA Times, who said at the very end of the hearing “I have a lot of reading to do.”
  • Wright clearly likes and respects all of the people that work for him, and vice versa.
  • Gibbs’s attorneys were making fun of Morgan (to themselves — I was just sitting behind them, watching closely) as he brought forward more and more evidence showing that Wright probably has jurisdiction over Steele and Hansmeier. It seemed like they were just saying it was overkill. The judge, however, seemed to appreciate Pietz’s efforts. At the end of the jurisdictional stuff, the judge said it was time for Plaintiff to go, and noted that they obviously would have no objection to the evidence Pietz brought forward to support Wright’s jurisdiction over Steele and Hansmeier, “Otherwise, he’s in [looking directly at Gibbs].”
  • I thought it was noteworthy that during Pietz’s questioning of Gibbs, Gibbs admitted that Steele and probably Hansmeier have his email passwords, and also his ECF password, allowing them to send emails as Gibbs, read all emails Gibbs receives (attorney-client privilege??) and submit things to the court as Gibbs. Apparently Gibbs also received emails to other attorneys (I can’t remember their names, one in Nevada…) and then was supposed to forward them on to the actual attorneys. When all this was being revealed, Judge Wright sat back in his chair and frowned.
3/13/2013

Transcripts of the voicemails John Steele left on the Alan Cooper’s phone are available. As Dark Moe tweeted after the hearing,

…and another thing: The voicemail messages from Steele bothered me. Cooper did nothing to deserve being threatened with a lawsuit.

It’s sickening. Wish you could have heard the messages. My lawyer was moved over it. Couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

Before reading the following, make sure you allocated enough time to have a shower afterwards.

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Discussion

84 responses to ‘March 11 hearing: another story by a witness

  1. To keep things together, I’ll post my response to Raul’s Q from the other thread about speculation Re: Peter H. and Lutz failing to lawyer up.

    We only had a ten minute break and there wasn’t much chatter, I think at that point people were overwhelmed, especially those who have been following this story for a while. It was a very dramatic and tense affair, and stunned silence was an appropriate response. Several little groups of people seemed to know each other so there were cliquey chats but no roundtable. Afterwards everyone broke up with little discussion, I suppose the bloggers and tweeters in attendance were desperate to have the scoop, but I was hoping for a decent group discussion/debriefing/speculating/drinking session. Alas, it was not to be.

    I don’t think anyone who was informed enough to be there needed to do much speculating, there are really only two options, right?

    1) They are so clueless and/or realize they are in so deep, they somehow thought they were going to avoid the Eye of Sauron by not being the one guy who made the mistake of showing up and becoming an example.

    2) Possibly related to (1), they are fleeing or plan to flee. A couple jokes were made along those lines in the hallway and I’m sure it’s crossed everyone’s mind. It seems like they are too stupid to realize how much trouble they are in, but I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility, especially with so much money unaccounted for and so many overseas shell companies.

    God only knows what kind of garbage Steele fed his boys about how this is no big deal, but as I said, once it was clear they chickened out Wright had no interest in the wheretos and whyfores. If sending that lawyer to play the procedure game was all they thought they needed to survive yesterday’s hearing they are in way, way, way, way over their heads.

    I admit I was a bit surprised at no Lutz, I figured they would try to get him to show up and hold himself out as the mastermind and give us an encore of his performance in Scriven’s courtroom, but it may not have been hard for him to guess things might turn out as badly as they did.

    The roles of everyone but Paul and John were largely ignored. Lutz’ name came up, but it was abundantly clear Wright was not buying the “Lutz as mastermind” theory either (nice try John), he was not interested in talking about Lutz at all. Duffy came up, but that just established that he doesn’t do anything either.

    I don’t think anyone on the list excepting Alan Cooper of Minnesota will escape Justice, but Wright has his priorities straight.

  2. “It gets so old. (Yuen, Cooper, Syfert, motion X, bar complaint Y, conspiracy Z,etc).You boys look silly, gloat after you accomplish something..”

    Does this hearing qualify as accomplishing something?

  3. Saw it and heard it all. This is an excellent replay of what happened yesterday. I was going to send out my own version, but frankly the testimony was so intoxicating that I was fearful of being stopped by the CHP claiming I was under the influence.

  4. Re: CTVic’s Q about the motion to disqualify.

    I don’t think it even came up. Once it was clear things were going to be fiery I expected Gibbs to get a roasting for that just because Wright could roast him, but things have escalated so far out of control for Prenda that that particular misstep, while no doubt contributing to yesterday’s events, was not important enough to make the cut.

    Another thing that did not come up in detail were the three defamation suits filed against Cooper, Godfread and The Internets. It did come up in the sense that John’s voicemails referenced the lawsuits in his threats, and when Jason Sweet interjected he introduced himself as Godfread’s lawyer (so, Cooper’s lawyer’s lawyer) prompting the quip from Wright about lawyers having lawyers in Minnesota. But Wright did not get a whole explanation and backstory and motivation for the SLAPP suits and I doubt he really cared at that point. Again, justice appears to have shifted its focus beyond such “minor” transgressions on Steele’s part.

  5. I’d like to add, in case someone familiar with CA courts can help out, going by the CACD website I get the impression that some hearings in CACD are audio recorded. I also didn’t see a court reporter, and my expectations may be screwed up from only seeing courtrooms on TV, but I didn’t see anyone who appeared to be a court reporter, a stenotype, etc. although I’m honestly not sure where to look.

    The room was completely wired with Pietz showing exhibits from his iPad, etc. so I don’t have any trouble believing they could have been recorded. CACD website says you can purchase the recordings for $30 if the hearing was recorded.

    If it’s not standard practice, perhaps if Wright thought he might be turning this over to prosecutors the chances it was recorded are higher?

    • “Guardianship of the record of courtroom proceedings is a key and historic responsibility of the court. Each court session and proceeding designated by statute, court rule, general order, or by order of an individual judge is recorded verbatim by stenotype or electonic sound recording equipment.

      “The court reporters and court recorders play a significant role in ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the record. District judges select their preferred method of reporting the record. All stenotype reporters in the Central District of California are realtime (simultaneous) reporters. Many are certified realtime reporters. The proceedings before magistrate judges are usually electronically sound recorded. Electronic sound recordings may be purchased from the Clerk’s Office or a transcript may be ordered.” (www.cacd.uscourts.gov)

      Non-ECF users who wish to purchase a CD of digitally recorded proceedings should fill out form AO-436 and send it to the clerk’s office along with a postal money order for $30. ECF users can order via ECF and will be directed to pay.gov to pay by credit card.

      • Then based on how that courtroom was wired it seems very likely it was recorded. It’ll be well worth the $30.

  6. What does this mean for people receiving letters from Guava and Duffy? with all the stuff about the Alan Mony also being used you think they will still be sending letters or doing anything beyond that?

    • [ ] You should use the letters to line your birdcage.
      [X] You should obtain legal advice only from an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction and who can give you personalized advice based on his or her actually reviewing whatever correspondence you may have received.

    • When I was in your position, having received threat letters from my own copyright troll, I ignored them. The case was dismissed long ago, and I’ve received no threats since. My trolls moved on to greener pastures.
      My trolls weren’t Prenda, however. Mine weren’t nearly as aggressive, and as a result, didn’t make such huge fucking fools of themselves on a weekly basis. I’ve really been enjoying the Prenda Show, and it never fails to entertain.

      A free consult with a lawyer never hurts, but always keep in mind that even the most well respected defense attorney does his work to earn a living. A free consultation inevitably turns into a sales pitch. You need to analyze your risk of being individually sued, and take appropriate action.

      I wiped my ass with my scare letters, and since have kept them in an oversized zip-loc baggie because they be stanky.

  7. Since you ask for more impressions/observations, here are some from my own non-legal-expert perspective:

    – Many have noted the judge did not seem amused. While that is generally accurate with respect to Prenda’s (allegedly) fraudulent, deceptive, evasive practices, there were times at which the judge stifled laughter in apparent amusement. In particular: when he had to correct Waxler for saying the client “retains” attorneys; when Pietz corrected his use of the word “porno” with “adult entertainment.”

    – There was a nice moment in which, just before breaking for a 10-minute recess, the judge almost tenderly said “I hate to stop you [to Pietz]. But, since I care more about her [referring to the court reporter] than this case, and she has been going non stop since this started, we are going to break for 10 minutes.”

    – At one point, the judge asked Gibbs, under oath, if he understood his question, and then added, “Because I can hear you now…’compound!’…”, making a joke about Gibbs’ extensive objections in the ~300 page deposition of Feb 19.

    – I was careful to observe Heather Rosing (attorney for Steele, Hansmeier, van den Hemel, and Duffy) throughout the hearing, since she got shot down so harshly by Wright at its opening. She was quite active throughout, talking animatedly to two other gentlemen who accompanied her there, and taking copious notes. She also at some point, spoke with Gibbs’ attorneys in an effort to apparently join forces to get them to contact her clients by phone. Though a phone appearance never happened, it seemed for a bit like they were trying to make it a real possibility. For what it’s worth, and this is only my impression, Rosing seemed a bit stunned by the revelations offered at the hearing, as if she hadn’t had the full story when she filed that ex parte motion… I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if she withdrew after yesterday’s revelations.

    – All the talk about popcorn, one might think there would have been a carnival atmosphere to the hearing. But it was really intense, people were quite glued to the proceedings, and very quiet. And, based on Wright’s demeanor and his strict no-food policy, it would have been terrifying to try to eat popcorn in there! I was even a bit scared to take a sip of my water in the room.

    – I have never been to a hearing before, so maybe court clerks are always awesome. But I have to say, I was really impressed by the court clerk running the show. She was a well-dressed, petite woman who was extremely attentive and obviously very on top of things in the room — keeping track of all the exhibits, etc. Wright’s two clerks (sitting behind the defense’s table..I think that’s who they were), were also interesting to watch. At one point, one of them, dressed very nicely in a purple tie and grey suit, handed Pietz his own flow chart Prenda diagram to use on the overhead “document reader” thingie when Pietz was having difficulty with the dispay from his ipad.

    – There were a bunch of reporters in the room. I noticed one young woman from the LA Times, who said at the very end of the hearing “I have a lot of reading to do.”

    – Wright clearly likes and respects all of the people that work for him, and vice versa.

    – Gibbs’ attorneys were making fun of Morgan (to themselves — I was just sitting behind them, watching closely) as he brought forward more and more evidence showing that Wright probably has jurisdiction over Steele and Hansmeier. It seemed like they were just saying it was overkill. The judge, however, seemed to appreciate Pietz’s efforts. At the end of the jurisdictional stuff, the judge said it was time for Plaintiff to go, and noted that they obviously would have no objection to the evidence Pietz brought forward to support Wright’s jurisdition over Steele and Hansmeier, “Otherwise, he’s in [looking directly at Gibbs].”

    – I thought it was noteworthy that during Pietz’s questioning of Gibbs, Gibbs admitted that Steele and probably Hansmeier have his email passwords, and also his ECF password, allowing them to send emails as Gibbs, read all emails Gibbs receives (attorney-client privilege??) and submit things to the court as Gibbs. Apparently Gibbs also received emails to other attorneys (I can’t remember their names, one in Nevada…) and then was supposed to forward them on to the actual attorneys. When all this was being revealed, Judge Wright sat back in his chair and frowned.

  8. Wanna start your own company (or shell)? Contact Mr. Steele!

    “As an entrepreneur and businessman for 20 years and an attorney, Mr. Steele can help guide you through the various stages of your company’s life. Any attorney can follow directions, but what if you don’t know what directions to give? Individuals who are starting companies and growing small businesses need an expert who has been there and done that. Starting up a company takes risk. In general, entrepreneurs tend to accept too much risk and attorneys tend to accept too little risk. That is where Mr. Steele comes in.
    From raising capital, creating corporations, drafting shareholder agreements, preparing franchising documents, or merely giving advice to a new business, Mr. Steele’s corporate clients use his services because they are looking for trustworthy corporate advice they can count on.

    Helping Small Businesses
    Begin, Grow, and Survive.

    Steele Law Firm”

    http://www.steelecorporate.com/mrsteele.html

  9. Guess who managed accounting at Prenda Law?!

    “Business Manager/PR Director
    Prenda Law, LLC
    August 2010 – August 2012 (2 years 1 month)Chicago, IL

    Nationwide Intellectual Property Law Firm

    – Helped lead partners create and build a nationwide law firm from its inception in Aug ‘10
    – Oversaw and managed all of the business functions for a nationwide law firm, including accounting, marketing and networking, information systems management, process engineering, attorney and employee hiring, scheduling and benefits
    – Drafted and reviewed legal documents for intellectual property clients
    – Oversaw all of the Public Relations for the firm, including creation of vision and mission statements, website design, press releases, creation of internship program, and in-house events”

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kerry-steele/57/112/a35

    • Oh look she oversaw the SALE of the law firm March 2012? Well isn’t that special. Would that be the sale of the Steele law firm to Peter R Olson? I wonder if they read Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 1.17? I’d like to know ( and the IRS AND CREDITORS might like to know too) how Peter R Olson was able to buy the Steele Law Firm with a forclosure and a host of creditors suing him. No need to say “alleged” – the facts are on the Cook County court website. Just search Peter R Olson / Olson Law and or Olson Law Firm LLC! Happy fact finding! It would be really great to figure out who owns what and how in the heck they buy stuff but have these judgements… But some days they call it a merger. I guess I’m just a simpleton. I can’t keep track of it all. Illinois has rules about “selling” a law firm. I’d encourage y’all to take a look at them and remember that complaints can be sent to the IARDC anonymously.

  10. “Gibbs admitted that Steele and probably Hansmeier have his email passwords, and also his ECF password, allowing them to send emails as Gibbs, read all emails Gibbs receives (attorney-client privilege??) and submit things to the court as Gibbs.”

    OMG. That’s stupid beyond stupid. Whole new words of stupid, flowing from a cosmos literally made of nothing but stupid particles.

    • I don’t know if this is true, but I’d imagine lawyers have some sort of legal responsibility to ensure their ecf accounts are protected if they become aware of a compromise. It’s not that hard, just change your password.

      And if that doesn’t seem like enough, maybe he can retain Mr lightspeed to help 🙂

        • Somehow, I think the ECF thing, coupled with the access to the email accounts, may play a role in the outcome of the Order. To me, in a non-lawlerly way, it sounds more like the judge can view it as, among other things, collusion. I’m trying real hard to reserve all of my feelings and opinions until the Order is issued, but it’s difficult for me NOT to see acts of Fraud & Obstruction.

          Wright seems to have connected the dots. As my lawyer sat next to me at the hearing, he was drawing vertical and horizontal dots on a piece of paper, and each time some of the testimony placed Gibbs into more and more culpability, he would connect more of the dots until it reached four of them, to indicate Gibbs was clearly boxed in. As it progressed, Steele was boxed and then Hansmeier. My lawyer knows ethics and he walks the line when it comes to proper form and procedure. He would take the testimony and compare it to the judge’s reactions, and it became obvious to him that all of the dots had boxed at least three of them up, and maybe more.

          He was also flabbergasted at Gibbs’ testimony indicating he was “more or less a file clerk for Prenda.” Afterward, in the hall, he asked me who Gibbs thought he was kidding. Having seen some of the pleadings Gibbs has filed, and after the judge himself had been faced with an attempt to have himself removed from the case, crafted by Gibbs, and then filed by Gibbs, who in the world would believe he was nothing more than a file clerk?

          My lawyer and I both agree that the hearing was a basic starting point to what is yet to come. There are so many issues to be addressed in the final Order that it is bound to be a comprehensive expose of this massive fraud that virtually impacts every American, because when you think about it, anyone who even logs on to a computer would be at risk of an accusation. And then, guilty or not, Gibbs would declare your guilt and then force you into mountains of legal bills for a defense that few of us can afford.

          Always remember, this poster/commenter is not a lawyer and nothing here should ever be substituted for legal advice from a licensed, practicing attorney in the jurisdiction where you live. And again, if you are faced with a settlement demand letter or any official court documents, get educated and protect your rights, but at the same time keep yourself informed so that you have a full scope of what is happening to you, and the consequences of your failure to protect those rights.

          Follow this blog and also dietrolldie.com.

        • “There are so many issues to be addressed in the final Order that it is bound to be a comprehensive expose of this massive fraud that virtually impacts every American, because when you think about it, anyone who even logs on to a computer would be at risk of an accusation.”

          And lets not forget their attacks on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly. With the defamation lawsuits they have attacked America.

          Recent posts in the other threads suggest they are still making calls *today*

          This is great news.

          They are that stupid.

          The Unites States Attorneys’ Office will know exactly where to find them.

  11. Transcripts of John Steele’s voicemail messages to Cooper should hit RECAP soon, in the meantime enjoy one example of John’s pathetic, desperate, impotent rage:


    ALAN, THIS IS JOHN STEELE AGAIN.

    YOU HAVE NOT RESPONDED OR CONTACTED ME REGARDING LITIGATION YOU’RE INVOLVED IN. I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN SERVED WITH A THIRD LAWSUIT. AND THERE ARE MORE COMING. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT.

    WELL, OBVIOUSLY, IF I DON’T HEAR FROM YOU, I’M GOING TO START FILING FOR CERTAIN DEFAULT MOTIONS AND START GETTING RELIEF THAT WAY.

    I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT JUST IGNORING LEGAL MATTERS, IT’S NOT GOING TO GO AWAY. I CAN GUARANTEE YOU, I’M NOT GOING AWAY.

    SO I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU, AT LEAST, YOU KNOW, FOLLOW THE RULES OF MINNESOTA, ILLINOIS, FLORIDA AND SOME OTHER STATES’ SOON CIVIL PROCEDURE BECAUSE, OTHERWISE, YOUR LIFE IS GOING TO GET REALLY COMPLICATED.

    AND I’M SAYING THIS AS A FRIEND, AS WELL AS OPPOSING COUNSEL. SO YOU CAN REACH ME IF YOU’D LIKE TO DISCUSS SETTING UP A DEPOSITION AND VARIOUS OTHER DISCOVERIES, AND, OF COURSE, ANY SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS YOU’D LIKE TO DO.

    ALL RIGHT. YOU HAVE THE NUMBER. BYE.

    That’s right, settlement discussions!

    • Aw, the court reporter got her “your” and “your’re” right, otherwise it would really sound like John.

    • Steele doesn’t need us making bad comments about him. He does it all to himself with stuff like this. We shouldn’t call him a douchebag. That’s an insult to an actual douchebag. They at least server a purpose. Steele contributes nothing to society. He should turn in his card to human race. He’s a disgrace.

      • Hey, I put in opinion HTML tags before “We” and after “disgrace” and it removed them. So, either it doesn’t allow invalid HTML tags or WordPress knows something we don’t. Anyway, everything after the first sentence in my previous reply is an opinion.

  12. SJD, You might want to black out or temporarily take the transcripts down. There’s some PII in there that might be more harm than good to have it on here at the moment.

    • I’m not at my desk now, otherwise I would… It’s a public document though, so I don’t see how it can harm us. I do respect motions to redact and replace links/embeds (like I did with the deposition transcript), yet the cat is out of bag already, and all these movements are rather rituals than meaningful actions.

      • Apparently there is an inherent risk in leaving your phone number in a voicemail message that gets transcribed and admitted as evidence in a hearing where the judge is attempting to investigate widespread fraud on the federal court system.

    • Someone mentioned this also to popehat, who posted it. He responded that it’s a public document and would not redact it. He’s a lawyer, so if he’s willing to do it, I think SJD is ok.

      • I just figured I’d point it out if it was missed. With the way that they paint us on the website, I’m overly cautious about what might be used as ammunition, no matter how insane it might be.

        Watch, they’ll try to say that SJD was negligent in not self-censoring public documents allowing the evil pirate JOP’s to harass people.

        I really wouldn’t be surprised if they tried something like that.

  13. I was talking with Madame Zelda a moment ago. She predicts that, among other things, Cooper will eventually own, free and clear, the same property he was once hired to clean.

  14. One Stupid Troll Said……………

    “AND OBVIOUSLY, YOU — YOU PROBABLY
    UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO, YOU KNOW,
    WORK WITH ME ON DOING THIS.”

    what obligation does Mr cooper have John? One thing I don’t get John. Your a lawyer. How could you let yourself be recorded like this? You must be compete moron. You should have known that it was going to end up in court.

    Good luck with that John

  15. For people who are new to the Prenda story or who missed this earlier, please go back and read this article:

    https://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2013/01/09/attorney-for-a-fake-plaintiff-questions-the-existence-of-a-defendant-he-is-suing/

    Wherein Brett Gibbs accuses Morgan Pietz of manufacturing the defendant in this case out of hostility towards Prenda and Gibbs.

    Think of the arrogance and disregard for truth it took Brett Langdon Gibbs to make those claims under the circumstances–while they were misappropriating someone’s identity to build a fake plaintiff!

    I have been following these cases for a year and a half, have read everything I can about Prenda and Gibbs’ conduct, and even so I forgot about this particular gem until tonight. There are so many lies and so much misconduct that something like this can get lost in the shuffle!

    It was so outrageous, and in light of Monday’s hearing hardly comprehensible, and yet they have been so out of control that this particular insult to the Court didn’t even make Monday’s list of topics.

    I know I said I thought Gibbs did an OK job of looking like a dupe, and I stand by that. But I don’t believe he was a dupe, and I think it’s important to make sure everyone learning about this case understands how eagerly complicit he was.

  16. Judge Wright has lowered the boom. It’s not on recap yet.

    Based on the papers filed and the evidence presented during the March 11, 2013 hearing, the court concludes there is at least specific jurisdiction over these persons because of their pecuniary interest and active, albeit clandestine participation in these cases. Not only does the Ex Parte Application lack merit, its eleventh-hour filing exemplifies gamesmanship. Accordingly, the Ex Parte Application is DENIED.

    Further, it appears that these persons, and their related entities, may have defrauded the Court through their acts and representations in these cases.

    Thus, the Court amends its February 7, 2013 Order to Show Cause (ECF No. 48) to include sanctions against the persons and entities in subparagraphs a–m below:
    a) John Steele, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC, Prenda Law, Inc., and/or
    Livewire Holdings LLC;

    b) Paul Hansmeier, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC and/or Livewire Holdings LLC;

    c) Paul Duffy, of Prenda Law, Inc.;

    d) Angela Van Den Hemel, of Prenda Law, Inc.;
    e) Mark Lutz, of Prenda Law, Inc., AF Holdings LLC and/or Ingenuity
    13 LLC;

    f) Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC;

    g) Peter Hansemeier, of 6881 Forensics, LLC;
    h) Prenda Law, Inc.;

    i) Livewire Holdings LLC;

    j) Steele Hansmeier PLLC;

    k) AF Holdings LLC;

    l) Ingenuity 13 LLC; and

    m) 6881 Forensics, LLC.

    These persons and entities are ORDERED to appear on March 29, 2013, at
    10:30 a.m

    • Whoops, hit post too early. This is what they have to answer for:

      1) Why they should not be sanctioned for their participation, direction, and execution of the acts described in the Court’s February 7, 2013 Order to Show Cause;

      2) Why they should not be sanctioned for failing to notify the Court of all parties that have a financial interest in the outcome of litigation;

      3) Why they should not be sanctioned for defrauding the Court by misrepresenting the nature and relationship of the individuals and entities in subparagraphs a–m above;

      4) Why John Steele and Paul Hansmeier should not be sanctioned for failing to make a
      pro hac vice appearance before the Court, given their involvement as “senior attorneys” in the cases; and

      5) Why the individuals in subparagraphs a–g above should not be sanctioned for contravening the Court’s March 5, 2013 Order (ECF No. 66) and failing to appear on March 11, 2013.

  17. http://ia601508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.86.0.pdf

    Pathetic attempt at dodging the hearing DENIED.

    Look who’s been ORDERED to appear on March 29. If they do not appear they will be sanctioned. Something tells me if they do appear it’s not going to turn out much better.


    a) John Steele, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC, Prenda Law, Inc., and/or Livewire Holdings LLC;
    b) Paul Hansmeier, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC and/or Livewire Holdings LLC;
    c) Paul Duffy, of Prenda Law, Inc.;
    d) Angela Van Den Hemel, of Prenda Law, Inc.;
    e) Mark Lutz, of Prenda Law, Inc., AF Holdings LLC and/or Ingenuity 13 LLC;
    f) Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC;
    g) Peter Hansemeier, of 6881 Forensics, LLC;
    h) Prenda Law, Inc.;
    i) Livewire Holdings LLC;
    j) Steele Hansmeier PLLC;
    k) AF Holdings LLC;
    l) Ingenuity 13 LLC; and
    m) 6881 Forensics, LLC.

    I wonder why Wright wants EVERYONE associated with all these firms in court…

    • As Rob Cashman (torrentlawyer) pointed out, it will more than likely be monetary at this point. Though who knows. If they don’t show up to the OSC is seems slightly a little possible there might be bench warrants. But I’m really doubtful on that.

      • Until this fraudster is put in jail, or at the very least DISBARRED and disgorged of his profits, it is unsatisfactory. I am led to believe he is worth some millions for this conduct. Unless his ill-gotten wealth–and the ditzy blond wife with the fake tits (who notes she was on some bible study bit in high school only to fall in leagues with shucksters and pornographers) and made to do hard time– the hardest time there is with all the sodomites and sadists a la Shawshank redemption–,he wins. It reminds me of the million dollar sanction against National Collector’s Mint. In no way is that any sort of disincentive given that outfit ranked in some 22 million. Do the math.
        For me this is another litmus test of this nation’s legal test, which has for the most part failed. Unless Baking Soda John (he is from Minnesota) suffers the fate I alluded to, the American legal system is further proven to be a joke–Casey Anthony, National Collector’s Mint, OJ Simpson, Damien Echols,the wall street shucksters from Jack Grubman and worldcom to the enron scandal the list goes on, (and on and on).
        Give me tyranny, give me despotism. People can say whatever they want about Adolf Hitler, or Roy D’Ice, or Vlad the Impaler, General Francisco Franco or even Genghis Khan–but that sort of iron-fisted dictator would make human soap out of people like this–and that RIGHT good. I will take the result I call for above, but if it does not happen, bring in the Iron Gardener, the Brutal Gardener of the Philosophy of the Iron Gardener.

        • Amen, brother! I wish John Steele, Peter and Paul Hansmeier would be sentenced to the Fargo-treatment: feed them feet first to a woodchipper! I would love to see the expression on their faces as they go down!

    • Probably money at this stage, but he could do like what happened to Stone and require they file a special order explaining their asshattery in every case they submit.

      I’m sure they are probably thinking of not showing up… if so Wright would probably issue reasonable monetary sanctions , some sort of order hurting their ability to file these suits at least in CA. I’d also imagine if they failed to show he’d at least report them to respective bars and possibly alert some legal authorities.

      I think one of the most hurtful moments of the testimony (for them) on the 11th was Cooper’s 10k a day comment. Now, Wright knows if he fines them 100k, that’s only 10 days worth of work. So, he could reach for the sky.

      • You didn’t see how pissed Wright was.

        Notice he asked the entirety of every company involved to show up. Why do you think that is?

        I don’t think it is wishful thinking to conclude this has gone way beyond the point of monetary sanctions, the fact that Wright did not rule, gave them another chance with plenty of warning, and wants everyone assembled suggests that he is taking his time to make sure everything gets set up juuuuust so. I think we are seeing Wright go by the book, because he believes that will be important to the eventual outcome.

        Wright is a former deputy sheriff and deputy attorney general; perhaps the next two weeks will even be used to do some investigating so the Court is prepared to ambush Prenda when they bust out their lies.

        Keep in mind that the testimony on Monday suggests identity fraud played a role in their enterprise, I don’t think people are quite appreciating that that alone could mean the Court simply cannot stop at monetary sanctions but must escalate beyond that.

        They are being given an opportunity to convince Wright that this is not what actually happened. If they fail to do that…

        Check. Your move John.

        • I agree with everything you say. I believe at the very least, Prenda and all it’s incarnations are dead. There is no way out of this. Their names are trashed and where ever this gang goes it’s going to be hard for them to avoid motions bringing in their past history. All that aside, it appears they lost Gibbs, and I’m sure securing local counsels is going to be in more difficult now.

          I seriously seriously hope there are some significant personal legal consequences for those involved, but I’m trying to temper my hopes because we’ve all be let down so many times before by the legal system. Judge Wright is literally the first Judge we can really point to who has figured it out, and appears to be holding them responsible. I just don’t know how far he’ll take it when so many before him have turned a blind eye.

        • Donald Duck, I hope you’re (W)right.

          Unfortunately, Rob Cashman pointed out that all Judge Wright is threatening is sanctions, and when I asked if that would at least tarnish them in future litigation, this was his response:

          “Nah. I know of patent trolls who have been sanctioned $700,000 for doing something silly (not doing proper research before suing), and they never paid a penny. They just continued their lawsuits, appealed the sanctions order, and two years later, got it overturned.

          Same deal with the sanctions against Evan Stone. He can still file his copyright trolling lawsuits in Dallas as often as he wants. Do you think anyone would take him less serious because he broke a judge’s ruling (“not yet”) and sent subpoenas to the ISPs anyway? His sanctions were $10,000.”

        • Rob appears to have overlooked the part that says:


          Further, it appears that these persons, and their related entities, may have defrauded the Court through their acts and representations in these cases.

          That was dropped as an “Oh, by the way” by Wright in addition to the specific causes for sanctions. So subtle that even a lawyer missed it on the first reading 😛

          It may only get a small mention in the order, but on Monday Wright was very, very interested in investigating this possible fraud on the court.

          Based on attending the hearing and reading this order, I think Wright is playing his cards close to the vest.

      • Even if they are disbarred would it really change things all that much? It would just mean that they would have to do a little extra work to find lawyers willing to file and handle their cases for them. As long as you still have the puppets at the top pulling all the strings it doesn’t seem to me that things would change much.

        • What you refer to is known as acting as a beard for a disbarred attorney. I believe that can get the beard in trouble as well. No one would take that up, unless of course they can make a million or two before being disbarred. . …

  18. Let me crank up the schedenfreud-o-matic, load it with popcorn, and get set for another round of Twitter following. March roared in like a lion….and stayed that way!

    Predictions:
    1. They all no-show. They claim that Wright is prejudiced against them, so why bother?
    2. Wright issues bench warrants for them all.
    3. Wright alerts the state bar authorities.
    4. Wright refers the case to the DOJ, as well as the American Bar Association for sanctions.
    5. Wright notifies Homeland Security to keep these folks on the no-fly list.

    OK, the last one is a stretch…but one can dream.

  19. My opinion about the following predictions:

    Predictions:
    1. They all no-show. They claim that Wright is prejudiced against them, so why bother? – Agreed, they will still not show up because let’s face it, nothing will happen to them.
    2. Wright issues bench warrants for them all. – Not at all possible – won’t happen.
    3. Wright alerts the state bar authorities. – Extremely not at all possible – judges typically don’t this to lawyers (even if they are bottom feeding scum sucking pieces of crap) for numerous reasons.
    4. Wright refers the case to the DOJ, as well as the American Bar Association for sanctions. – Possible, but still not likely. If Wright does this, he’ll know it will be years before nothing happens. This would just be a waste of everyone’s time.
    5. Wright notifies Homeland Security to keep these folks on the no-fly list. – Dealing with Homeland security is much tougher than this question makes it seem. This will not happen.

    As much as I absolutely loath these trolls, most likely nothing will happen. Sanctions will probably commence, but they will still be around in April, and April of 2014, and so on. The best coarse of action is to just to follow the directions that we’ve all been following so far:

    When you get a letter, either:

    1. Do nothing and wait for the harassing to stop.
    2. Get a lawyer.

    I think a lot of you are reading these things and getting your hopes up, and expecting results that are typically very rare in the judicial system. My opinion is that there is a special place in hell for these trolls, but I’m preventing myself from being substantially let down… I hope I’m wrong though!

    • I know that there has been a lot of back and forth on whether anything will happen. We seem to be forgetting some core issues here, though.

      1) Judge Wright, as an officer of the court, is an officer of the law, not just another attorney.
      2) US federal code 18 USC § 4 has something called, “Misprision of felony.” Most states have something similar. You can read what it is here http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/search/display.html?terms=misprision&url=/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000004—-000-.html It mainly says that anyone who fails to report a felony has committed a crime.
      3) Identity theft is a felony in almost every state. It is also a Federal Offense. See http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html

      These guys stand accused of Identity theft. Yes, fraud on the courts, improper handling of subpoenas, etc., etc. However, Judge wright is still ordering Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC to appear on Mar 29. If he doesn’t show (or no one shows), then “the Court is prepared to draw reasonable inferences concerning their conduct in the cases before the Court, including any inferences derived from their failure to appear,” as Judge Wright has indicated. [R]easonable inferences, in this case will likely be that he (Cooper of AFH) doesn’t exist. Which indicates identity theft. Which is a Felony. Which Judge Wright–as an officer of the Federal Courts, as an officer of the law–is obligated to report.

      Yes, of course, the thing to do for all of us Does in this situation is to seek legal advice from a practicing attorney (I contacted about 10 attorneys to compare advice). But, state bar associations, attorneys general, FBI, bench warrants–these are all feasible, even likely, if the Judge is not satisfied with the answers he gets (or doesn’t get). If this was just civil matters, then that’s one thing. But we are talking about the criminal side of the law, not just the civil side. It’s a whole different ball game. Settlements, must be approved by the court. a prosecutor cannot simply dismiss a defendant–with or without prejudice–cannot drop charges without approval of the judge. Before trial, yes. But once a crime is brought before an officer of the court, the entire ball game is in the Judges hands. Identity theft = felony/federal crime. This is not just Pietz suing in civil for for tortious acts.

  20. Ladies, gentlemen, and the ASSclowns (if they even have time to peruse this forum),
    Maybe I am too optimistic but pretty soon we shall be looking at (class action) lawsuits against Prenda & Co AND the pornographers who were plaintiffs in Prenda’s past lawsuits. Once it becomes an established fact that Prenda & Co engaged in fraud, forgery, identity theft, etc., any and all evidence ever presented (and also produced by their in-house brotherly forensics co) by them becomes inadmissible = they sued using false/non-existing evidence. I do expect the plaintiffs to be liable as well since they went along with evidence produced by the novice attorney John Steele, Hansmeier and his brother. In many cases the plaintiffs also claimed that their “work” was copyrighted when in fact it was never registered with the Copyright Office.
    So, pornographers, get ready to be fucked! pun intended.

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