Here's a post on a few of the latest events in the ongoing Team Prenda saga -- with the key one being that Blair Chintella has filed a response
to Prenda local lawyer Jacques Nazaire's attempt to block
a variety of discovery efforts designed to suss out more details on the Prenda scam. The response doesn't even respond to the attempt to seal all future filings because of you mean, mean Techdirt commenters, but does drop this rather incredible bombshell:
To give another example, regarding the most recent domain registered to
“Alan Cooper” – dangerousxxx.com – GD produced a technical support call
wherein a male voice identifies himself as “Alan Cooper.” Exhibit GD2.
However, a same voice identifies himself differently in multiple other phone calls:
|GD7||"John Steele" & "Associate on the phone Paul."|
Yeah, if you haven't figured it out yet, it certainly appears that there's now yet more evidence -- and probably very very strong evidence -- suggesting that John Steele pretended to be both Alan Cooper and Mark Lutz at times. This was already shown in a variety of evidence, using addresses and email addresses, but this just adds yet another layer of proof. Remember those messages about how "this call may be monitored for customer services purposes?" Yeah, it would appear John Steele may have forgotten such things can be sought in legal filings. In case you haven't been following all of this, I won't go back over all of the details, but a key accusation against John Steele was that he's been the puppet behind many of these companies, while he's insisted that it was really "Alan Cooper" (who denies having anything to do with anything) and "Mark Lutz" (who appears to be playing along).
The filing highlights a variety of other evidence, much of which we've seen and discussed before showing John Steele pretending to be Alan Cooper. Then it gets even better. Despite Jacques Nazaire claiming to have little to no connection to "Prenda," it turns out that the metadata on his filings showed that they were "authored" by... Paul Duffy, the "sole" partner behind Prenda. While it's possible that Nazaire was using a "template" motion that he obtained from Duffy, it still highlights how it's laughable that Prenda is not associated with the case.
Meanwhile, in yet another Team Prenda case, one of their many local attorneys -- like Nazaire -- has finally realized what Brett Gibbs discovered a while back: the core of Team Prenda (John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy) appear to have no problem throwing the other "red shirt" attorneys they sign up to actually file their cases under the bus
when necessary. Lawyer Daniel Ruggiero, who handled a bunch of Prenda cases in Massachusetts, has made a motion to withdraw
, noting that he can't trust anything Team Prenda tells him.
There are several things that have come to light regarding Plaintiff and its related owners,
officers and lawyers since counsel agreed to file and represent Plaintiff in this case.
say...? He then points the court to Judge Wright's order revealing the details of the Prenda scam, and suggesting that he, too, had no idea that Mark Lutz was supposedly in charge of AF Holdings, and that given everything that's gone on, he doesn't trust Lutz at all:
Once I became aware of the "on goings" of AF Holdings and the others mentioned in his
decision, I reached out to speak with someone about it. I received a phone call from
someone who claimed to be Mark Lutz. It is my understanding that Mr. Lutz is the
owner of Plaintiff, but to be honest, I have no idea what to believe.
He further notes that with everything that has come out, he can't act as AF Holding's lawyers because he can't trust Team Prenda to be truthful:
impossible for the undersigned to file pleadings on behalf of the Defendant where there is no
reasonable basis to conclude that anything that Plaintiff tells counsel is truthful.
Finally, there was a small setback in the ongoing defamation lawsuit that Duffy has filed against Alan Cooper. The judge refused to dismiss the case under Minnesota's anti-SLAPP law, basically arguing that the filing wasn't sufficient, but Cooper and Paul Godfread can file an amended response that hopefully is accepted. The court also is moving forward with considering sending the case back to the local St. Clair County
courts rather than keeping them in the federal courts. You can read the background of all of this here
. This is a bit surprising and unfortunate, as Prenda's argument that the inclusion of Hansmeier's Alpha Law Firm means there's no diversity necessary to move it out of a local court is highly questionable, in part because Duffy added Alpha Law Firm in a manner that clearly violated the rules (filing the amended complaint without first asking the court to do so, and even lying to the court clerk about whether the original complaint had been served) but more importantly because the addition of Hansmeier's firm was clearly solely
for the purpose of blocking the transfer to the federal courts, because none of the so-called "defamatory" statements were about Alpha Law Firm.
Much of that ruling seems more focused on procedural issues, so hopefully that gets worked out quickly.