Another Day of Reckoning Scheduled For Prenda Law

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153 Responses

  1. AnonLitSupport says:

    I'm guessing they show up – with a criminal defense attorney and 5th Amendment argument in tow.

  2. TJIC says:

    Wow.

    That is all.

  3. Dan says:

    Yowza. Plenty of this come March 29th? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjnzRSArwYY

  4. Kilroy says:

    And March 29th is now marked off on my calendar as a wasted day following Popehat on twitter.

  5. doeknob says:

    Does Judge Wright have to now wait until after Mar. 29 to order any sanctions against Gibbs?

    Unless I'm reading it wrong, Gibbs does not need to attend, so it seems as if his involvement is done.

    If that's the case and Wright did not need to wait until after this new hearing, does that mean Gibbs is off the hook?

    Sorry if these questions are stupid.

  6. Matt says:

    @anonlitsupport – I would imagine the judge may move to sanctions very quickly if they refuse to answer him.

  7. While I do not underestimate the abilities of smart people to engage in feats of escapology that would have impressed the late Harry Houdini, I have one short conclusion based on my understanding of the conduct of the named individuals to date.
    They're fooked.

  8. Andrew S. says:

    I respectfully suggest that they should only submit to questioning about their conduct after a very serious discussion with competent attorneys about their constitutional rights.

    If they were big on talking to competent attorneys, they wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

  9. Josh M. says:

    @doeknob: IANAL, but it looks as if the original order still stands, with amendments to make it apply to that list of individuals. Since Gibbs was on that original order, I think he still has to show up there. Perhaps someone with more legal training than I could comment?

  10. Malc says:

    @doeknob: in the third paragraph before the "It is so ordered" line, Gibbs is ordered to serve a copy of the order, and then (in the last sentence) to show up and join the rest for to be paddled.

  11. Sausages says:

    @doeknob

    the order states –
    Gibbs is further ORDERED to appear on March 29, 2013, at 10:30 a.m.

    in context, the judge musing that while initially the sanctions only included Brett Gibbs, evidence exists suggestion other people should get smacked around and not just him, it doesn't exclude him though, he gets to attend the nice Prenda reunion party.

  12. Jim Tyre says:

    Another portion of today's order is specific that Gibbs must appear.

  13. George William Herbert says:

    Out of curiosity – Obviously he's connected overall, but what was the jurisdiction basis for demanding Peter Hansmeier / 6881 showing up?

    They provided some initial evidence but it's not clear that his / their involvement in the overall picture is something that Wright would be able to sanction ? … I can see why he'd want to talk to them, but they weren't a party or attorney.

    They COULD obviously be part of one large totally interconnected legal entity, or it could be "my brother does this for a living, let's use him for this evidence gathering", not involved in the shell game / evident court fraud.

    Outside my expertise, so I ask.

  14. bonez565 says:

    That may be the best OSC i've ever read.

  15. Raul says:

    It has long been assumed that while Steele is the public prick behind Prenda,the Hansmeier brothers are the brains so it will interesting to see if they make Ny moves prior to 3-29.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If Monday was an appetizer this should be absolutely amazing, assuming they don't just blow it off again, and they do appear to be that stupid. In any case Gibbs will be present to get the earful of Wright's wrath.

    I'm guessing there will be a much bigger turnout for this now that the excitement is boiling over.

  17. Peter says:

    If they exercise their 5th amendment rights and decline to testify, can the court draw a negative inference on that basis with respect to the imposition of sanctions under rule 11?

  18. Mike C says:

    I wonder if Orville Redenbacher can handle the bulk sales needed for March 29th. Time to start stocking up…

  19. doeknob says:

    @Josh, Malc, and Jim. Thanks! I guess I missed that line in the shock.

  20. David says:

    BOOM goes the dynamite!

  21. Josh C says:

    It seems possible to me that if Gibbs shows up, he might have a much easier explanation, since he complied before and has and seemed to be cooperating.

    Also, did I read the background wrong, or are all these guys only a few years out of school?

  22. Andrew says:

    On the other hand, at face value, it appears that there are no actual negative consequences for failure to appear on March 11. Not that this continuance-in-essence isn't just delaying the inevitable.

    What I want to see is how Gibbs is going to pretend to serve "Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC" and file a proof of service with the court by March 18, as ordered. It sounds like he can either disobey, perjure himself (with an affidavit/declaration of service), or just admit that Alan Cooper doesn't exist. Any speculations from the crowd here?

  23. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Owch: Order To Show Cause pt 2: the Smakening.

    I also love how this is included

    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.

  24. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Andrew: So yeah, they ARE on the hook for not showing up on monday.

  25. a different phil says:

    Didn't Alan Cooper show up on March 11? Is this order for a different Alan Cooper? Or does the same guy have to show up again?

  26. Lizard says:

    What are the odds that any/all of the people involved are even now hopping on jet planes to distant lands, assuming, probably correctly, that they aren't worth the effort of extraditing and that it will take a while to shut down all of their accounts, assuming any are in banks the US can legally access? They will spend the next decade or two sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them and probably running their next scam remotely. At least, that's my guess, but I'm a bitter cynic about any kind of real justice.

  27. Bear says:

    @Raul: "the Hansmeier brothers are the brains"

    Just out of curiosity, were you able to type that with a straight face? I couldn't. [grin]

  28. doeknob says:

    @a different phil, they're ordering the possibly FAKE (real? I can't keep track) Alan Cooper. The one that is the head of the AF, not the caretaker.

  29. Jim Tyre says:

    This is for a different Alan Cooper (if he exists at all), not the Alan Cooper who did appear and testify on Monday.

  30. Bear says:

    IANAL, but I'm thinking Prenda et al's safest bet now is to research Wright's investments to see if he has money in popcorn futures, and thus a conflict of interest.

  31. Lizard says:

    @Andrew: Would a competent attorney take this case? (I figure competent attorneys might take hard, even impossible, cases if there was a moral stance to be had, OR if there was beucoup de big bucks to collect (win or lose), but there's no issue here of defending important rights when exercised by the despicable (i.e, free speech for Nazis, WBC, etc), and ISTM that Prenda's business plan never really paid out enough to hire a lawyer good enough that they'd figure it was worth staying in the country (see my earlier post). If I were them, and I had, say, a million or two stashed away, I'd spend it on my getaway, not give it to a lawyer when the odds of him actually keeping me out of jail are very, very, low.

  32. Ken says:

    @a different phil:

    That signifies that Judge Wight is saying "hey, if there' another Alan Cooper, a real one behind AF, he needs to show up."

    I think that part of the order is a little unkind, because it leaves real-Alan-Cooper unsure if he should be showing up or not. I suspect that if the Penda Law people show up and try to contest the allegations, they will want the real Alan Cooper to show up so they can cross-examine him — I gather, based on questions Gibbs' attorneys asked, that Prenda Law's theory will be that Alan Cooper is lying and actually consented to his name being used. (Consider Prenda's credibility in evaluating that assertion.)

    If I were real Alan Cooper's attorney, I'd file an ex parte seeking clarification of the order.

  33. Peter says:

    Ken, if real-Alan-Cooper's attorneys ask for clarification, and Wright says that real-Alan-Cooper doesn't have to show up, would the lack of ability to cross examine him be be a substantial objection for Steele et al? My guess would be no, on the basis that there was a hearing where they could have cross examined him, where they were ordered to appear, and where they no-showed.

  34. Mcnugget says:

    I think they just won't show up. They will be sanctioned a buttload of money but what do they care, they're rich?! They will be fined, they won't pay it and they will continue doing what they are doing. Punishing them is like trying to punish the revenge porn guys-it takes forever, is super hard to do and the punishment NEVER seems to fit the crime. I want to believe and hope for a better outcome, I really REALLY do.

  35. James Pollock says:

    "What are the odds that any/all of the people involved are even now hopping on jet planes to distant lands, assuming, probably correctly, that they aren't worth the effort of extraditing and that it will take a while to shut down all of their accounts, assuming any are in banks the US can legally access? They will spend the next decade or two sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them and probably running their next scam remotely."

    Conversely, what are the odds that Judge Wright has at least one clerk looking into the judge's authority to order drone strikes?

  36. Anon says:

    This order is actually more devious than people might notice:

    "Gibbs is ORDERED to serve a copy of this order
    on the persons and entities in
    subparagraphs a–m above
    by March 15, 2013, and must file
    proofs of service with the
    Court by March 18, 2013.
    "

    So Gibbs has to file proof of service to all the corporate entities on March 18, 2013. Interesting to see who accepts the service for the shells. Given the musical chairs played so far, the permutations could be interesting.

  37. Orville says:

    I was waiting for this, and I was not disappointed. Glad I already am scheduled to take that day off.

  38. G Thompson says:

    Dayum… must not smile too much, people will start to wonder.

    Good advice Ken, and I suspect it's of a magnitude a million times greater than what they have ever given to the Does that they have gone after (or Alan Cooper – the real one).

    Would love to be a fly on the wall as they all read the words "albeit clandestine" though.. o_O

  39. Noah Callaway says:

    @Peter

    (IANAL, so this is my layman speculation in response to your question)

    My understanding of this OSC is that Judge Wright has already drawn inferences based on the facts before him. This is him ordering them to show up and explain why the inferences he's drawn are correct / incorrect.

    Thus, if they show up with 5th amendment arguments are refuse to testify, Judge Wright may impose sanctions based on the inferences he's already drawn (given that they weren't explained away).

    However, I don't think they would be punished for not testifying _at the March 29_ hearing if they present a 5th amendment defense. It would also avoid putting more ammunition into a follow-up criminal prosecution. I would leave it up to a competent criminal defense lawyer to decide if pleading the fifth is the correct response in this context.

  40. James Pollock says:

    "I think that part of the order is a little unkind, because it leaves real-Alan-Cooper unsure if he should be showing up or not."

    Does it? Isn't it clear that "Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings" and "Alan Cooper, alleged identity-theft victim" are different people?

    "I suspect that if the Penda Law people show up and try to contest the allegations, they will want the real Alan Cooper to show up so they can cross-examine him."
    Doesn't failing to show up at the hearing where the witness was made available function as an effective waiver of the right to cross-examine?

  41. Fred says:

    Are these guys in evidence destruction mode as we speak?

  42. MattS says:

    "I respectfully suggest that they should only submit to questioning about their conduct after a very serious discussion with competent attorneys about their constitutional rights."

    Aren't Steele et al supposed to be competent attorneys?

    In other news: Popcorn futures up 314% Popcorn traders mention Popehat AKA Pot Hate as driving the increase in demand.

  43. Dan Weber says:

    I noticed there was none of that nonsense this time of "give Gibbs a few days to contact the people involved." No, now he has to do it by tomorrow (beware the Ides Of March!) and submit proof he has done so by Monday.

    I, too, wondered how the court interprets "Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC." If Steele insists that Cooper-of-Minnesota is the Cooper-of-AF-Holdings, does that snap Cooper-of-Minnesota into contempt for failing to show up? I'm betting not based on context, but IANAL.

    On the other hand, at face value, it appears that there are no actual negative consequences for failure to appear on March 11.

    I think these are the consequences. In some ways it's like a child who doesn't do what you say until you yell, but the judge might have faced legitimate challenges to his order to have them show up on 5 business days' notice. Now whatever punishment he does issue will be considered more just.

  44. Joe Pullen says:

    I'm not entirely sure all of the potential "identity" issues have been either found and/or exposed. In any event I think this is a big "ruh roh Shaggy" moment.

    As far as "Order To Show Cause pt 2: the Smakening" I am totally stealing that.

  45. JLA Girl says:

    March 29th is a stat holiday in Canada. I'm going to be twitter watching with popcorn AND chocolate. Good Friday, indeed!

    Ken, are you planning on showing up? (Or is that a 'duh' kind of question?)

  46. Dan Weber says:

    Huh, I really should refresh before posting comments. Ken addressed my question before I asked it.

    I've enjoyed the "fleeing the country" jokes, but is this really worth becoming a fugitive? People of means don't like becoming fugitives except in really weird circumstances. People who have earned millions of dollars don't like hiding in Mexico and being cut off from all their stuff.

  47. Tali McPike says:

    I wonder if that's enough time to get a food vendor's license. I could make a killing setting up a popcorn cart at the courthouse.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Regarding AF Holdings' Alan Cooper:

    Remember Brett Gibbs' own retort when Pietz pushed him to identify their Alan Cooper.

    "I am sure there are hundreds of Alan Coopers in this world."

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121212/00354121354/copyright-troll-prenda-law-dances-around-simple-question-which-alan-cooper-runs-af-holdings.shtml

    If Prenda can't even find one for themselves now…

  49. G Thompson says:

    @Dan Weber : If Steele insists that Cooper-of-Minnesota is the Cooper-of-AF-Holdings, does that snap Cooper-of-Minnesota into contempt for failing to show up?

    The problem then is that Steele then has to prove the Alan Cooper (the one that showed last time) is the Alan Cooper of AF Holdings, and that is going to be nigh impossible now. If he then fails in proving it he then has further problems on him. If they turn around and state that "Alan Cooper of AF Holdings" wouldn't show for xxx reason then the court could ( I'm not up on US process in civil courts here so take this with a grain of salt until advised otherwise) do an ex parte contempt on the 'Alan cooper of AF Holdings' and quite possibly authorise a bench warrant for arrest (???) which becomes a LEO matter with all it's problems. Basically steele et.al are in a lose-lose-LOSE situation here

  50. Dave Ruddell says:

    What kind of sanctions could they face? I mean this both from a very worst case down to a more typical type of thing.

  51. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Oh, the objections that Steele et al filed are now on PACER, and should show up in RECAP soon:

    http://ia601508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.docket.html

  52. Dave Crisp says:

    Serious question from a Brit:

    If Judge Wright finds he has cause to believe that Prenda et al's activities constitute criminal fraud on the court, what happens then? I'm guessing that since this is Federal there would need to be a Grand Jury involved, but can he kick that off on his own bat, or does he have to make a case to someone else first?

  53. Jose Fish Taco says:

    If only EVERY copyright troll had to pass through Judge Dredd/Wright's court. If only…

    Keep a happy thought for the future.

  54. David Nieporent says:

    I think they just won't show up. They will be sanctioned a buttload of money but what do they care, they're rich?!

    When a judge issues an order for you to appear, and you don't, the phrase "bench warrant" comes to mind.

  55. dogatemyhomework says:

    They won't show. There is no good reason. Do you think the sanctions will be harsher if they don't? And the downsides of being questioned together on the record (even if they don't answer anything) is huge.

  56. Oomph says:

    No Ex Parte, DENIED.

  57. Dan Weber says:

    The ones who do show up get to throw the other ones under a bus.

  58. Shkspr says:

    At this point, they're so screwed that they almost have to file a motion at 5PM on the 28th to have Judge Wright lift this order, too – just for the comedy value.

  59. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Hi all, long-time-lurker, first-time-poster. I had a legal-newbie question regarding presumption of innocence. Right now, Judge Wright is saying 'I have a good notion that you all are guilty, you have to show up and prove otherwise'. This seems to counteract presumption of innocence. Or, does P of I not kick in until the actual criminal trial? Assuming there is one, of course.

  60. Ygolonac says:

    Fred – I've been snarkily suggesting that the Prendactupus has been doing an evidential-barbeque for a few days now.Being a low and mean-spirited person, I'd suspect they started culling files as far back as the original order-of-appearance.

    Now? To quote one of my favourite authors, regarding a accidental jaunt to the corner of 9 Aug 1945 and Nagasaki:

    AND THERE WAS A BRIGHT LIGHT.

  61. dogatemyhomework says:

    As for bench warrants, if they don't show up then there is a chance that the judge will issue a warrant and they'll have to refuse to answer uncomfortable questions under oath. If they do show up then there is a 100% chance that they'll have to refuse to answer uncomfortable questions under oath.

  62. MarkH says:

    "I suspect that if the Penda Law people show up and try to contest the allegations, they will want the real Alan Cooper to show up so they can cross-examine him."
    Doesn't failing to show up at the hearing where the witness was made available function as an effective waiver of the right to cross-examine?

    I am also not a lawyer, but didn't Prenda Law have their attorney there (Gibbs) who was there originally to present their case? Seems odd because Gibbs has not been formally replaced by Prenda in this case, has he? And he still seems to be the one the Judge orders to serve the orders.

  63. Bear says:

    @Ygolonac: "To quote one of my favourite authors, regarding a accidental jaunt to the corner of 9 Aug 1945 and Nagasaki:"

    In some ways that one is my favorite LNS book. Although The American Zone holds a special place in my heart: I made it into that one (page 158 of the hardback edition). [grin]

  64. Andrew says:

    Andrew: So yeah, they ARE on the hook for not showing up on monday.

    @Nicholas Weaver: Well, maybe. Judge Wright seems pretty intent on ensuring that his orders and decisions are bulletproof on appeal. He could have just issued bench warrants for contempt, but he did not. I could see a small chance that Steele et al. could convince an overly-favorable appellate court that they did not have sufficient time to comply with the order, and therefore sanctions should be overturned.

    It's not that Judge Wright cannot or will not sanction for failure to appear, but in light of all the other problems in this case, the failure to appear could seem insignificant, and maybe it's not worth giving Prenda the ammunition for an appeal.

  65. rev says:

    boom! headshot.

  66. John Henry says:

    What about Aisha?

  67. nlp says:

    It's getting to the point that I don't know which case is more interesting: Prenda Law or Whitey Bulger. Although Bulger's claim that he has absolute immunity from being charged with 19 murders does have a more bizarre theory than Prenda Law's claim that there are lots of Alan Coopers.

  68. Popcorn dealer says:

    Popcorn! Get your popcorn here! =P

  69. En Passant says:

    Andrew S. wrote Mar 14, 2013 @12:13 pm:

    If they were big on talking to competent attorneys, they wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

    As I pointed out in a previous comment here on Popehat, some of them retained well reputed California certified malpractice specialists for the last disastrous hearing two days ago.

  70. Nik B. says:

    Is it the 29th yet?!?

  71. Bill Sides says:

    Not at all sure how I am going to make it to the 29th. Its so far.

  72. AlphaCentauri says:

    They could say they assumed he meant April 29 because they thought Good Friday was a holiday ;)

  73. apauld says:

    "I respectfully suggest that they should only submit to questioning about their conduct after a very serious discussion with competent attorneys about their constitutional rights."

    I'm having trouble with the idea that these guys know what a competent lawyer actually is. So far they have not shown any sort of ability in that regard.

  74. John Ginnane says:

    What is the mechanism by which one or two lower Prenda Law individuals in paragraphs a – m might contact Judge Wright, and offer to completely RAT FINK OUT the other parties prior to the 29th?

    Would it be effective — that is, as far as avoiding their own sanctions?

    Would we treat this person or persons with respect … or greater contempt?

    When will it ever be safe to watch porn again?

  75. En Passant says:

    Dan Weber wrote Mar 14, 2013 @1:26 pm:

    The ones who do show up get to throw the other ones under a bus.

    Yep. This is a Prisoner Dilemma variant, missing the condition of no possible communication prior to the decision to betray or be silent.

    OTOH, any communication conceivably could become evidence in some later proceeding.

  76. Tony says:

    Over/under on how many times the fifth will be pleaded in this next hearing?

  77. Malc says:

    @Blast Hardcheese at this point there is no presumed guilt, just a "I smell something fishy, and I want these people in my courtroom to answer the questions that I have, and because of the magnitude of the stench that I smell, I'm not going to be terribly accommodating about whether or not showing up is convenient". This is actually no different from any other order to show up in court, whether it is a summons or a subpoena: your guilt or innocence is irrelevant, but your appearance is required; once you appear, the issue of guilt/innocence may then be addressed.

    To those wondering if not appearing may be a better option, the answer is "no". Failure to appear WILL result in them being unable to practice law AND will kill the current scam; appearing leaves that door open, and is the only way to stand even the smallest chance of preserving any of the active scam cases.

  78. Aaron W says:

    The odds of them saying anything substantial regarding the OSC or the Prenda lawsuits are slim to none. They'll take the fifth, since the judge brought up the possibility of criminal referrals.

    Regarding not showing up for the hearing on the 11th, they'll probably plead poverty, and that it was impossible/overly difficult to travel to LA on such short notice. They'll point out they sent an attorney, who offered to get any of them on the phone if the judge requested. I doubt the judge wants to leave them obvious grounds for appeal, so he'll probably let it go.

    In other words, bring popcorn, but don't expect fireworks this time around.

  79. Tsagoth says:

    My guess is they won't show. They're going to be sanctioned either way, and if they turn up it could go a lot worse for them.

    I expect Gibbs will file a brief on Monday that Alan Cooper[AF] was unavailable to be served because Steele told him that Cooper[AF] is on the island of Nevis as a guest of the undefined trust and has no known return date. In an odd coincidence, Aisha Sargeant (sp?) and Lutz will also just happen to be on Nevis for business reason to do with the unnamed trust. Since no one but them knows the name of the trust, there will be no way to make contact with them.

    Steele, Duffy and Hansmeier will announce they are suing Heather for malpractice and so request an extension of time while they seek more competent counsel.

    The plan will be to stall and drag their heels until they can get clear of Judge Wright at which point they will start filing appeals with everybody to get his judgements reversed.

  80. nlp says:

    @Dave Crisp, Judge Wright cannot bring charges for criminal behavior himself. He will write a letter to the US Attorney in Los Angeles, outlining the events and offering such facts as he has. The US Attorney will then conduct an investigation and decide whether to bring charges.

  81. AlanF says:

    Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I was at Monday's hearing and thought it was the best entertainment value in town. (I kept turning around to see Ken's face as he alternated between silently laughing and his jaw hanging open in amazement.) Now, you can bet that I will be attending the hearing on the 29th. There should be some great fireworks!

    Ken, since the festivities start at 10:30am, and are unlikely to finish before noon (at least if anyone bothers to show up), is Judge Wright likely to continue through lunchtime or call the usual 90 minute break?

  82. Orville says:

    @nlp Even if the judge can not bring criminal charges I believe there are other sanctions he can apply. I have no idea how heinous those sanctions are but I suspect they will hurt a lot.

  83. P Smith says:

    "I suspect that if the Penda Law people show up and try to contest the allegations, they will want the real Alan Cooper to show up so they can cross-examine him."

    "Doesn't failing to show up at the hearing where the witness was made available function as an effective waiver of the right to cross-examine?"

    "I am also not a lawyer, but didn't Prenda Law have their attorney there (Gibbs) who was there originally to present their case?"

    Gibbs was there purely on his own account (together with his own counsel).

    The various Prenda principals who failed to appear were represented by their counsel (Heather Rosing), who invited the judge to talk to them by phone. Presumably the judge would have permitted her to cross-examine the real Alan Cooper if she had thought that was in her clients' interest. But AIUI Cooper's claims are the subject of litigation between him and Steele elsewhere anyway.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone else notice that Wright referred to "Brett L. Gibbs" in his previous orders and now it's just "Gibbs."

    I like his style.

  85. Jon says:

    Well, he was "Brett Gibbs" at first reference (line 28, page 1).

  86. LTMG says:

    Does Judge Wright have the authority to ask the U.S. Marshals Service to find and deliver at least (a) through (e) on the 29th?

  87. riesling says:

    The next important date here is not March 29, but March 18 – that's the day Gibbs has to file all the proofs of service with Judge Wright, including proof that Alan Cooper [AF] was properly served – or a clear explanation of why service could not be performed.

  88. GamerIrv says:

    OO and popehat lurker. Just wondering, is this upcoming hearing something that can be tailgated or is that just not done?

  89. Joe Pullen says:

    After reading this, I may just understand Ken's desire to install womb to have Judge Wright's baby.

    Order on Ex Parte Application for Order:

    ORDER by Judge Otis D. Wright, II: The Ex Parte Application is DENIED 81 . These persons and entities are ORDERED to appear on March 29, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., TO SHOW CAUSE for the following: 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. 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; 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,

    Sniff, wipes tear away with tissue.

  90. IANAL says:

    > This seems to counteract presumption of innocence.

    IANAL, so get one if anything written herein is ever of more than abstract, theoretical interest to you. In this case, the judge appears to believe that the court has evidence of their guilt. The presumption only applies if the proof is insufficient to establish their guilt. Presumably the judge believes they are guilty already based on the evidence already offered to the court and is giving them a chance to prove their innocence. If that presumption applied no matter what the evidence was, it would be pretty silly, after all. It's more of a tie-breaker rule when the evidence could go either way. The judge appears to believe that he has them dead-to-rights. My opinion is that this is a smart judge who isn't going to put up with any nonsense.

    In short, if they are unable or unwilling to answer his questions, he will almost certainly sanction them for whatever misconduct the believes has already been established in the record. And his statements in court indicate that he's inclined to sanction them for several different things. Their best hope at this point is not to implicate themselves in any further wrongdoing. I question whether they can manage even that.

    I'm not sure what their next move is. Perhaps they will try to throw the non-existent guy under the bus, claiming that their identities were stolen by him? Perhaps their own counsel will withdraw at the last minute and they'll seek further delay? An out-of-country "emergency" and/or Gibbs filing a declaration that he was unable to serve them for some lame reason? Requesting a stay of these proceedings while they appeal? Mind you, I seriously question whether they *can* appeal anything at this point, but I also seriously question whether something like that would stop them from trying it anyhow.

    It's also interesting to note that I saw a filing in another case–I believe it was on Fight Copyright Trolls–from AF Holdings claiming that the filing of a document from this case was improper because they're not the same company. I should love for that judge to find out about this order (and this judge to find out about that filing…)

  91. Joe R says:

    As a non-lawyer, I have a few questions about the case.

    1. As pointed out above, why doesn't the court have an interest in the role Aisha Sargeant may have played in setting up (at least?) one of these shell companies?

    2. Neither Lutz nor Peter Hansmeier (Paul Hansmeier's brother) filed for exemption, were represented, or were even served apparently regarding their appearance for the 3/11 hearing. Are they sanctionable as a result, or does this just mean that, assuming they are served, they will have to show up at the 3/29 hearing? (It sounded like there was an implication in the ex parte application that the references to them weren't specific enough as to form the basis for serving them, which would be a fairly ironic response relative to Judge Wright shooting down their method of discovery of infringers.)

    3. Gibbs apparently represented Paul Hansmeier at the deposition, and is having to serve everyone with the orders to appear before the court. Does this imply that Gibbs is still legally compelled to represent the others in some way, or is it voluntary/outside the scope of the law (i.e., owes the others money/favors)?

    And as a comment, I think it's pretty clear that the Alan Cooper [of Isle, MN] who showed up on 3/11 and is only referred to in the original order (from 3/5) isn't at all the same as the Alan Cooper of AF Holdings LLC who is referred to in both orders (second being from 3/14), so his appearance wouldn't be necessary.

  92. Matthew Cline says:

    I'm curious as to why the judge didn't order the trustee of the unnamed trust to show up.

    @P Smith:

    Presumably the judge would have permitted her to cross-examine the real Alan Cooper if she had thought that was in her clients' interest. But AIUI Cooper's claims are the subject of litigation between him and Steele elsewhere anyway.

    IANAL, but from my understanding the defamation litigation can't be about anything in the lawsuit Cooper filed, so I don't think that the judge would rely on that lawsuit to sort out who the AF-Cooper is.

  93. xbradtc says:

    INAL,

    Presumption of Innocence applies to a defendant in a criminal proceeding.

    Here, we're not discussing criminal proceedings, but rather, the judge is compelling attorneys, as officers of the court, to justify their behavior. These attorneys have only found themselves under the court's gaze by having chosen to enter the arena, as it were.

    I don't know what the standard is for sanctions from the bench against attorneys, but I'd guess it is "a preponderance of evidence" rather than the criminal level of "beyond reasonable doubt."

  94. Merissa says:

    Uh oh.

  95. MarkH says:

    Gibbs was there purely on his own account (together with his own counsel).

    Gibbs was there purely on his own account (together with his own counsel).

    The various Prenda principals who failed to appear were represented by their counsel (Heather Rosing), who invited the judge to talk to them by phone. Presumably the judge would have permitted her to cross-examine the real Alan Cooper if she had thought that was in her clients' interest. But AIUI Cooper's claims are the subject of litigation between him and Steele elsewhere anyway.

    Thanks very much for the answer.

    I suppose what I am getting all confused about is why is Hibbs there if he is there only to represent himself. I thought he was the lawyer who filed the original suit with the court. Then he appears to have decided he wanted out, but has Prenda (or whoever the actual client is) formally assigned a new attorney for the original case?

    Sorry, but this whole thing of lawyers representing the lawyers who filed the suit is confusing. :)

    Another part I think is odd is that I thought that some of the Prenda attorneys attended the first hearing (unofficially). I think it was John Steele. If so, he is able to attend hearings at the court when he isn't "requested" to be there, but then can't find time when he is made part of it.

  96. Waldo says:

    I'm guessing they don't show. Whatever sanctions Judge Wright orders, they fight those on lack of jurisdiction, etc. Live to fight another day.

  97. Ken says:

    The danger of not showing is that he could issue a bench warrant for them this time.

  98. MarkH says:

    Oh, I see what confused me. Partly it is the lawyers representing lawyers, but the other part was that Steele was in the audience in a Florida suit regarding Prenda (although he is apparently not an attorney in Florida). But he did manage to show up there in the audience.

  99. Jim Tyre says:

    MarkH,

    Steele was not at Monday's hearing. (He was at a different hearing in a different case in a different state at a different time completely.) The folks with whom I was sitting have met Steele, they would have recognized if he had been there.

  100. MattS says:

    Matthew Cline,

    I believe that the lawsuit that P Smith was referring to was the identity theft suit Alan Cooper of Mn filed against Steele.

    Dan Weber & G Thompson,

    IANAL, but I am fairly sure that what will happen on the 29th if Prenda Law doesn't manage to produce an Alan Cooper that isn't the Alan Cooper of Mn that what will happen is that the Judge will take that as proof that the Alan Cooper of AF Holdings is a fiction no matter what excuses that the offer for his absense.

  101. MarkH says:

    @Jim Tyre

    Steele was not at Monday's hearing. (He was at a different hearing in a different case in a different state at a different time completely.) The folks with whom I was sitting have met Steele, they would have recognized if he had been there.

    Thanks, I saw my mistake earlier. It was the Florida Prenda suit in which Steele appeared in court although not a member of the Prenda legal team. I got that confused with the first hearing before Judge Wright in California.

  102. Dr. Wu says:

    I am envisioning the courtroom scene from "Heavy Metal": Alan Cooper as Hanover Fiste, Steele as Captain Stern telling his lawyer "I've got an angle," and Steele's lawyer telling him "The best we can hope for is to get you buried in secrecy so your grave don't get violated."

    Seriously, what level of sanctions and/or criminal charges would be sufficient to attract the notice of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in Illinois? A $5,000 fine isn't even likely to be an inconvenience to the Prenda team, but being disbarred might slow them down a little.

  103. Chris R. says:

    Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

  104. z! says:

    I would look at this hearing as "You say the dog ate your homework. Show me the dog and the chewed-up papers."

  105. mojo says:

    I hear Argentina's nice.

  106. Whitespiral says:

    I want this whole case explained in a 3 hour special show of Handle on the Law. Hearing with Bill's voice would be a blast!

  107. gramps says:

    Had the Prenda crew taken the time to assess their adversary, The Honorable Otis Wright, II, they might have taken a different approach to all this. Of note in his bio (wikipedia) is a 3 year stint as one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, with a chaser of 3 years in the reserve, then a stretch with LASO during which he got his law degree… The USMC time alone should have alerted them to the idea this was not a man to be trifled with. This is not your basic Ivy League legacy.

  108. Incongruent says:

    Argh, two whole weeks.

  109. Shay says:

    Of note in his bio (wikipedia) is a 3 year stint as one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children

    Damn. I knew there was something I liked about him.

  110. BNT says:

    Joe R,

    As pointed out above, why doesn't the court have an interest in the role Aisha Sargeant may have played in setting up (at least?) one of these shell companies?

    My understanding from the deposition was that Ms. Sargeant was working for a company that sets up trusts. In other words, saying "Aisha Sargeant set up the trust" seems roughly equivalent to saying "the bank teller put the money in my account." She's probably not responsible.

  111. htom says:

    Uncle Sam's Misguided Children — No better friend, no worse enemy. There is something about the cadence of the order that had the ring of a Drill Instructor giving a royal reaming … in the presence of a lady.

  112. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Raul – Ohai!

    As to 6881 showing up, they were allegedly paid by the trusts. One would be curious how much they were getting as it has been wondered out loud if it was a per bath payment or per settlement payment. One would also be curious to see the paperwork behind 6881 as tracking down information about its existence has eluded many searchers.

  113. Anonymous says:

    Last time around the short delay was bad for them, because it left them with little time to get their stories straight, line up representation, travel, etc.

    This time, it seems like the two weeks grace period is in their favor, but Wright has once again invited Pietz and Ranallo to appear for John Doe, and we saw from the invitation of Alan Cooper of Minnesota and Jason Sweet's tolerated interruption of the hearing that Wright appears sympathetic to anyone able to help him get to the bottom of this.

    Prenda has pissed off tens of thousands of individuals, every lawyer they have opposed, a number of judges (although none as severely as Wright) and all the major ISPs–they even sued AT&T and Comcast, accusing them of civic conspiracy and aiding and abetting their subscribers:

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/porn-copyright-troll-sues-att-and-comcast-says-they-side-with-pirates/

    They have played fast and loose and made so many enemies–many of whom potentially possess evidence that contradicts their sworn statements and Gibbs' testimony–that the next two weeks could see an avalanche of filings and notices of appearance from third parties documenting months and years of Prenda's contempt for the court system. The published accounts of the key issues covered in Monday's hearing, plus the forthcoming transcript, will tell them exactly where Prenda's weak points are and how to attack them.

  114. Anonymous says:

    There was a question about the role of Aisha Sargeant.

    Reading the deposition, it sounded as if that was the person filing the papers in St. Kitts. It's likely that she is merely a clerk in a small company that specializes in filing incorporation papers. Probably a very well paid clerk, working for people that are very, very well paid for setting up shell companies that are tax dodges or hiding illegal activities.

    The fact that her name was offered up many times in the deposition suggests that she has no real knowledge and only superficial involvement.

  115. Anonymous says:

    I would not assume that Aisha Sargeant is anything but another layer of obfuscation and a figment of Steele's imagination.

    So far the "documentation" provided as proof of AF and Ingenuity's very existence is pretty thin. Hansmeier "can only speculate whether or not there are trust documents." He does not posses, but claims he has seen maybe four pages of documentation relating to AF's incorporation. He doesn't have copies "anymore" and doesn't have copies in his email. And he is the "expert." The one or two documents that have made it into the public record may be just as legitimate as the copyright assignment agreements bearing an Alan Cooper's signature appear (not) to be.

    Since Steele appears to be the one responsible for manufacturing AF's non-existent Alan Cooper, why should Aisha Sargeant, the corporations, or trusts be real? If Hansmeier was not initially aware of the magnitude of the fraud, i.e. Steele took charge of organizing the shell companies and decide to just make them up, but Hansmeier had believed they were legit until things reached the point of no return, Hansmeier may be in a position where all he has to feed opposing counsel and the Court is Steele's BS, and he must have figured out it stinks so bad he better obstruct, obstruct, obstruct and hope nobody forces him to show Steele's hand.

    Given how this is unraveling, it looks like maybe the offshore shell corporations themselves are a bluff, that Steele figured he was so clever that his unsophisticated victims (Jerk Off Pros, Pirates, Freetards, Basement Dwelling Pudwackers, to use Steele's preferred terms) would never have the tools or resources to call him on it. I'm sure at the time, before he had met real resistance from opposing counsel and the courts, he must have felt so smug and smart, shaking so many suckers down with a load of made up bullshit. He did take a particular delight in posting on the anti-troll blogs to taunt us for being crazy with our "conspiracy theories." Like Alan Cooper.

    One additional step Wright could take that would be very interesting would be to order comprehensive discovery of all the documentation they have relating to these entities, although I don't know if he has the investigative tools at his disposal to have someone verify the authenticity with the government of St. Kitts and Nevis. That may have to come later, after he is done with them.

    Perhaps John Steele knew an Aisha Sargent at some point in his life, maybe an old ex or someone else he wouldn't mind getting in trouble when he skipped town and left his "pals" holding the bag. Or maybe there is some weird cultural reference in there somewhere. 6881 Forensics, for example, is named after the TCP port that BitTorrent operate on by default. But Aisha Sargeant doesn't ring any bells for me in any other context.

  116. H. Kim says:

    The schadenfreude is strong with this one.

  117. That Anonymous Coward says:

    "although I don't know if he has the investigative tools at his disposal to have someone verify the authenticity with the government of St. Kitts and Nevis."

    They do not require filed records there. The law there requires $25K and the hiring of a local lawyer to do the work.

  118. Spodula says:

    "I gather, based on questions Gibbs' attorneys asked, that Prenda Law's theory will be that Alan Cooper is lying and actually consented to his name being used. (Consider Prenda's credibility in evaluating that assertion.)"

    Surely this will be easilly blown out of the water by the fact that Mr Cooper has already stated the signatures on the documents are not his, also bringing to the judge's attention the fact that if what prenda was saying was true, someone falsely notarised an official document submitted to the court…

    That seems like a loose-loose argument to me.

  119. Spodula says:

    Lose-Lose i mean. Damn first thing friday mornings and their lack of coffee-ness!

    Although saying that, maybe loose-loose isnt that wrong after all.

  120. NEReader says:

    Being in Nebraska, I looked on their website and found that they were suing one guy here. Looking at state court records, they had local counsel, but Prenda Law had a California address on the complaint. That would certainly give a California court jurisdiction over the firm.

  121. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Thanks to everyone who set me straight. I've had a blast (hehe) reading up on this debacle. I'm also having fun with the Global Wildlife saga as well. My dog is getting tired of me telling her 'You are libel!' in a squeaky voice.

    One more noob question: If I understand correctly, Judge Wright's work here is sort of akin to a grand jury. Once he's decided that shenanigans have indeed taken place and refers the whole matter to the US Attorneys, would they need to have separate grand jury proceedings take place before indictment? If so, it seems a little wasteful.

  122. Hasdrubal says:

    Blast: I think Judge Wright is investigating whether they, as officers of the court, were conducting themselves according to the rules of the court. If not, he can issue court related sanctions, and I think refer them to their local bar associations to decide on whether or not they should continue to be officers of the court of not.

    On top of that, if he thinks they might have violated laws, not just the rules of the court, he can refer them to the US Attorney's office for investigation.

    So, it's related, but he's focused on their actions as attorneys and the use of the court system. There's synergy in that, because he might turn up evidence of lawbreaking, but that's not all he's looking for.

  123. John Henry says:

    The place my mind goes is whether anyone settled with Steele, et al based on any of these fraudulent schemes. It seems those parties have suits that they can bring. But they settled to stay anonymous. Is there any novel theory whereby the Does can get recovery while protecting their anonymity? I can think of a few things which are plausible but pure legal fiction. I wonder if there is something obvious.

  124. ShelbyC says:

    Probably a stupid question, but is this the same John Steele that blogs at legal ethics forum?

  125. John Henry says:

    "why should Aisha Sargeant, the corporations, or trusts be real?"

    The reasons I think some of this must be real is that the money has to be somewhere, and it has to be protected. I do believe that there is a trust on an island somewhere and that there is money in the trust. I believe that Steele and Hands cannot touch the money, but that someone they "trust" can.

  126. IANAL says:

    Cooper of AF holding has to show up if Gibbs serves him. Cooper of Minn does not have to show up unless Gibbs serves him as the Cooper of AF holding. If Gibbs does serve Cooper of Minn as Cooper of AF Holdiong, he can continue to argue that he is not Cooper of AF holding when he appears.

    If Gibbs does not server Cooper of Minn as Cooper of AF Holding, then whomever he serves as Cooper of AF Holding has to show up. If Gibbs does not serve anybody as the Cooper of AF Holding, then no one has to show up as Cooper of AF Holding, but Gibbs has to explain why he did not serve anyone as Cooper of AF Holding.

    As noted, since they are under threat of referral for criminal matters, their maximal delaying tactic is to show up and plead the 5th all the way through. In the short term, while the Judge may impose sanctions, they can contest the sanctions and drag that out. In the long term, if criminal charges are later brought by the FEDS in a separate action their defense strategies won't be constrained by having to either substantiate or walk back anything they said in front of Wright. This makes their defense in a potential criminal complaint easier and the prosecution's job harder. The potential criminal complaint is probably a bigger deal in the long run than the potential sanctions by Wright.

  127. Dr. Pete says:

    I must be in the wrong place. I heard about a contest on Craigslist where anyone named Alan Cooper could stay in a cabin in Minnesota rent-free. I don't know how I ended up on the pope's website.

  128. JLA Girl says:

    Interesting. I see that Heather Rosing has now ordered portions of Monday's transcript dealing with the Rule 11 Sanctions. Is it too much to hope some other interested party will order the rest???

    http://ia601508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.docket.html

  129. Anonymous says:

    I am curious, are there any potential liabilities for their attorneys if the fraud is ongoing? As in, can they really level with Rosing and say "yep, we totally defrauded the court, now help us get out of these sanctions so we can get back to work." Or would admitting the fraud to their attorneys to go all in on a defense mean they need to stop? And would their attorneys be legally or ethically obligated to report any ongoing on new fraud that they became aware of?

    Not that I would trust anyone from Prenda or believe a damn thing they said if I were representing them, I'm just curious what the law says, where attorney-client privilege ends, and if these guys can succeed in making themselves radioactive clients.

  130. Malc says:

    For all those who'd cleared their calendars for March 29th, the party is now postponed until April 2nd at 10:00am.

    (Probably in deference to Easter & Passover)

  131. Richard says:

    I think that the whole point of which Alan Cooper needs to show up is being over-thought.

    The reason:
    Gibbs is the one serving notice on "Alan Cooper."

    So if Gibbs serves notice on the Alan Cooper that testified previously, then he's saying that there is no other "Alan Cooper," and that Alan Cooper has to show up and defend his statement that he is not the "Alan Cooper" of AF Holdings.

    If Gibbs serves notice on a different "Alan Cooper," then the Alan Cooper who testified previously is off the hook.

    If Gibbs fails to serve notice to any "Alan Cooper," than he's in even bigger trouble. IANAL, but I think that if Alan Cooper, not having been served, does not show up, and the blame for the failure to serve falls at Gibbs' feet, Cooper can't be held responsible.

    So either Gibbs serves Cooper, and he has to show up, or he doesn't and he doesn't.

    Again, IANAL, but it seems pretty clear-cut to me: Gibbs knows who the right "Alan Cooper" is, he is ordered to serve that "Alan Cooper," and only the "Alan Cooper" that is served needs to show up.

  132. Ken says:

    I appreciate everyone updating me on the information I previously used to update the post.

  133. orvis barfley says:

    brilliant to put the notifications in the hands of gibbs. makes him responsible for answering the question regarding cooper's identity.

    i'm betting another reason steele absolutely cannot appear is that he has a mystique running with his employees/partner that must be maintained, regardless, or the jim-jonesian hold he has over them will burst like a pricked balloon, and words will be said.

    it's pretty clear to me that he's surrounded himself with vulnerable people and plays them accordingly.

    oh, yeah. nolo lego mindo hero.

  134. orvis barfley says:

    another thought. (hoo boy).

    putting gibbs in this position tests his allegiance. if gibbs toes the steele line, then that answer any questions regarding leniency for him. if he does a creditable job, then that announces to steele that he has a problem.

    i would put all involved persons not named john steele in protective custody if possible.

  135. Dan Weber says:

    The minutes of the Monday meeting seem to be up, but RECAP doesn't have them yet. Document #89 at http://ia601508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.docket.html

  136. SPQR says:

    But Ken, are you absolutely sure that you know that the hearing was rescheduled to April 2nd?

  137. Anonymous says:

    @orvis barfley

    I like the way you think. If Gibbs makes a move that shows he's going to rat out Steele, or if Rosing gets the transcripts and they don't like what Gibbs said, things could get interesting. Remember, they still don't know exactly what was said on Monday, Rosing was there taking notes but almost certainly did not have the context to know who anyone was much less what was important, so we may get some awesome delayed desperate responses.

    Maybe in the next hearing we'll get to hear nasty voicemails from Steele threatening Gibbs, and there will be a dozen more defamation lawsuits filed against Gibbs, his attorneys, and everyone else Steele wants to shut up.

  138. htom says:

    The money has to be somewhere, granted. What better place to hide it than in a non-existent (and hence unfindable) trust? Provide a trail into the bushes that might lead to the trust, put the money in your pocket, and walk away.

  139. orvis barfley says:

    @anon.  "I like the way you think."  bless your heart, but don't give up.  there's hope for you yet.

    yes, i think you're right that things in that group may begin coming apart.  will be interesting to see the results.

    someone speculated that rosing probably had no idea what kind of beehive she was poking, and we may not hear her name again in conjunction with this case.  i bet there's a decent chance of that.

  140. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @John Henry – In a perfect world the people who paid them could get their money back, but they signed a legal document to settle the matter. No one did nothing wrong and in exchange for this settlement we withdraw looking at you.

    Not all settlement agreements are crafted the same, and nearly all of them used in troll cases have NDA's with dire penalties for the Doe. Part of the reason is to not poison the well of cash – who is going to pay you $4000 when this other Doe settled for $1000?

  141. Anonymous says:

    Regarding speculation that these guys have the money stashed overseas and none of it will ever be seen again regardless of penalties assessed, hasn't Hansmeier's deposition put them in a bind?

    According to Hansmeier, none of the money was repatriated to the (presumably) offshore accounts of the mysterious trust. He says it all stays in the attorney's client trust accounts.

    IARDC has rules governing client trust accounts:

    http://www.iardc.org/toc_main.html#IV.C.

    That require them to be maintained at an eligible financial institution, in the law firm's home state, that is FDIC insured or some other type of account that the SEC signs off on.

    That means (unless I'm missing something) there should be an enormous paper trail in the US. That doesn't mean there is, Hansmeier is clearly not the forthcoming type and Prenda's credibility is shredded. But if the money disappeared, given Hansmeier's testimony about it all going through the trust accounts, it seems like they will be so deep in perjury, fraud and tax evasion problems that they will never see another day of freedom to go get the money, wherever it is hidden. It seems like they have, basically, failed to create any plausible deniability of knowledge of the whereabouts of any of the settlement money.

    I have no idea what the "right" way to offshore the money would be if I were in their shoes and trying to become untouchable, but I don't get the impression that these guys got this right, that this aspect of the plan was no better thought out than the rest of the antics that got them here.

    Would be curious if anyone with international finance, financial crime, etc. experience has an informed perspective.

  142. Dr. Wu says:

    Anonymous @ 6:25 raises a good point: if the settlement proceeds appear to have wandered off to sunny Nevis in an informal manner, even the sequester-addled IRS might be able to devote a few minutes to Team Prenda. The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, whose office is a short cab ride from Mr. Steele's, has had considerable success hanging tax evasion charges on Chicago mobsters more eminent that Mr. Steele–all the way back to 1931 and a certain Mr. Capone.

  143. AlphaCentauri says:

    Maybe not telling anyone anything they don't know, but if you click the time next to a poster's name, you will get a direct link to the post. You can copy/paste it from your navigation bar. It may be useful for keeping discussions organized when referring to posts by various people using the handle "Anonymous."

  144. Trent says:

    What follows is just my speculation on the matter.

    Based on how Wright has approached this I believe as noted by others there is a two fold reason for the second hearing. The first is to resolve appeal issues on the issue of short notice, the second issue is I believe he's already contacted the US Attorney (hence the new order 4 days after the hearing) and that the US Attorney will be present at the hearing.

    This will give the US Attorney the ability to have investigators present when all the principals are in one spot. The two week delay also gives them the chance to take what Wright already has found to the grand jury and get subpoena's that they can issue at the hearing to the principals. Because of the ownership trust obfuscation issue the US Attorney will likely go a more direct route and simply use the Grand Jury to get subpoena's for each of the principals bank records (follow the money). Given the stupidity displayed to this point (and the bragging about $10k a month), I'm willing to bet the personal bank records of each (Steele, Hansmeier brothers, et all) will show the disbursement of funds from the lawsuits essentially providing evidence that the principals are the trust, the corps, the client and the lawyers. I don't believe there is even a slim chance they've been off-shoring the money unless they are already independently wealthy.

    It would have been trivially easy for them to maintain separation and not have broken all these rules about client/lawyer, fake corps, identity theft etc and have been legitimate the whole time (I'm not saying the cases themselves have merit). Steele acts like he's a compulsive liar (lies out of convenience) and compulsive liars almost always hang themselves in the end with the details. Think about it, how easy would it for them to have had Steele be CEO of the copyright owner, Hansmeir brothers be the owners lawyers that then hire Gibbs and others to run the cases? Instead Steele uses his house sitters ID, puts no one in charge of the corps, creates clearly suspicious trusts, etc. It screams lying for the convenience and to try to hide the true players when doing so endangers them more than not doing so.

    Also by ordering Gibbs to issue the orders to show he's essentially giving them the rope to hang themselves. Their best bet is to show with lawyers and take the 5th but at this point they've likely already sunk themselves with the unnecessary deception.

  145. En Passant says:

    orvis barfley wrote Mar 15, 2013 @5:21 pm:

    someone speculated that rosing probably had no idea what kind of beehive she was poking, and we may not hear her name again in conjunction with this case. i bet there's a decent chance of that.

    Both Rosing and Waxler are highly regarded certified legal specialists in attorney malpractice law. Any client who would try to pull the wool over their eyes or use them to perpetrate a fraud — well, I pity the fool.

  146. Ken says:

    Yes, Rosing and Waxler are competent and respected. Plus, everyone has a right to send a lawyer to represent them, and that lawyer should do their best, and it's a good thing when they do.

  147. Anonymous says:

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall at the after action reports between Waxler and Gibbs, and Rosing and the rest of Prenda.

    I strongly suspect both attorneys were surprised to learn many new things from an angry judge plus a string of witnesses making damaging accusations towards their clients. They may have been the beneficiaries of a Come to Jesus moment in the wake of Monday's hearing, but my guess is until things went thermonuclear, the Hansmeier deposition would be a good model of how forthcoming they were even with their own attorneys.

    What is the potential liability for their attorneys if they are being paid with what turn out to be ill-gotten gains? Presumably their invoices are paid with proceeds from Prenda's operations, so if Prenda is ultimately found guilty of fraud, why should their attorneys be allowed to profit from that fraud instead of repatriating the money to the victims?

  148. Malc says:

    Just a minor observation: the ownership of the trust/assignment of the copyright is ONLY an issue for the trials. Those are not the main business of the scam, which is the "offer to settle" letters.

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