John Steele, Silent In Court, Keeps Talking To The Press; Says New Lawsuits Are Being Filed
from the oh-really-now? dept
We had noted that Team Prenda (under new names) appeared to still be up to their old tricks, filing lawsuits and trying to get names to shake down with settlement demands. And you might have thought that with the big Judge Otis Wright ruling against them they might settle down. But, no, John Steele insists that Livewire Holdings — the main shell company at the center of the fight — is still filing new cases.
In an extended interview with AVN news, Steele goes even further than his earlier comments promising an appeal and complaining about Judge Wright:
“The hearing regarding me in March was 12 minutes long and there was no evidence or testimony admitted. I have never had any ownership interest in AF Holdings, Ingenuity13, or Prenda Law and no evidence otherwise was ever presented. I am not an attorney in this matter, and have never practiced law in California. In fact the first time I heard of this case was when Mr. Gibbs told me he got an Order to Show Cause in February 2013 regarding this case.”
He continued, “I would also comment that the attorneys representing myself, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, and the others were not allowed to make argument nor were we allowed to present witnesses. And normally with orders regarding sanctions, the Court will point to evidence, testimony, or something to explain the sanction. In this order, there is nothing.”
Again, this is pretty funny on multiple levels. The claim that he didn’t even know about the case until February is almost laughable, especially considering that Gibbs noted that he took regular instruction on this very case from Steele. Furthermore, it’s well known that Steele reads the various anti-copyright trolling blogs regularly — and they’ve been following this case for quite some time. As for the claim that they “were not allowed to make argument,” again, that’s not true. Their lawyer told the Judge that they were pleading the fifth.
In another interview, with the LA Times (where the reporter appears to have spelled about half the participants’ names wrong), Steele gamely predicts that “There’s going to be a lot of egg on people’s faces” after his appeal. We’ll see about that.
But… back to the AVN story. Steele goes back to attacking the opposing lawyer, Morgan Pietz, Judge Otis Wright and (of course) the EFF. He then claims (incorrectly, mind you) that copyright holders are “winning the vast majority” of these kinds of trolling copyright cases. He’s pretending that this is still about copyright trolling, not massive fraud on the court for which he’s almost certainly about to be investigated by federal prosecutors for possible racketeering charges and tax evasion, because a federal judge has suggested that both areas need to be investigated. His only response to all of that is to say that the Illinois State Bar investigated him already and was okay with his actions. We’ll see about that as well.
But the really amazing part is that, after insisting that he has nothing to do with these lawsuits, he tells AVN that Livewire Holdings, the master shell corporation involved in all of these shenanigans, is filing new cases this week:
For his part, Steele told AVN that it is his understanding that Livewire Holdings, one of the entities identified by Judge Wright—by way of an actual Prenda relationship chart included in the order—as being a member of the Prenda family, “is filing multiple new cases this week.”
“Hopefully,” he added defiantly, “the pirate that got away in this matter will be caught and brought to justice down the road.”
I’ve said it before, but Steele really reminds me of people I’ve known who think they’re a hell of a lot smarter than they really are. They think (1) that they’ve discovered a brilliant loophole that no one else could possibly figure out and (2) that they can talk their way out of anything. In Steele’s case, each time he opens his mouth, it’s likely he’s digging himself a slightly deeper hole. He’s hired expensive lawyers. You’d think they’d tell him to shut up already, because he’s doing his own case a lot more harm than good. Of course, if it’s true that Livewire is still filing new cases, after a federal judge has called them out on this behavior (and ordered his ruling be given to every court involved in any litigation involving Livewire and all of Team Prenda), that may come back to haunt him even more.