John Steele's Claims About Alan Cooper Contradicted By History

from the damn-that-historical-record dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about John Steele’s attempt at the character assassination of Alan Cooper, his former home caretaker who accused Steele of forging his name on various documents concerning shell companies associated with Prenda, the law firm Steele worked for. As part of that filing, Steele tried to suggest that Cooper was a willing participant, and that Steele was merely helping his “friend” get introduced into the porn copyright trolling business. As we noted, Steele’s story directly contradicts Cooper’s story, which certainly suggests that one of them is not telling the truth in court. That’s generally a bad idea. As more people look into Steele’s claims, they don’t seem to hold up under scrutiny, suggesting that if one of the two has a credibility problem, it’s probably Steele.

First, the John Steele affidavit in that case, which the character assassination filing cited repeatedly, has finally been filed. Oddly, the affidavit is signed and notarized three days after the filing by Steven Goodhue which quotes it. Not sure how that time twist works, where you file a document quoting another document three days before it’s been written, but, hey anything’s possible.

But in those two documents, Steele lays out a clear timeline for his interactions with Alan Cooper and the porn copyright trolling business. In the Goodhue filing, it states clearly:

Steele described the litigation and his business to Cooper. At some point in early 2011, Steele and Cooper discussed how a friend of Steele’s was exploring opportunities relating to purchasing and marketing adult content. Cooper expressed interest in learning more about these opportunities and Steele offered to help him learn more.

Later in the filing, they say that while Steele and Cooper discussed setting up Cooper with a shell company, nothing happened there. Instead, Steele claims that the first time he actually involved Cooper with his porn copyright trolling efforts was even later in 2011, when he “offered to introduce Cooper to Mark Lutz.”

In Steele’s declaration, he suggests that he made the intro and then had little knowledge of what happened after that.

My understanding is that Alan took me up on the offer and participated in a limited number of transactions in 2011 with Mr. Lutz’s companies. I am not aware of any post-2011 transaction in which Alan participated.

Okay, so we have a timeline and a suggestion of limited knowledge. The timeline states that they didn’t even discuss these ideas until 2011 and all that John Steele did was introduce Cooper to Lutz and that’s it.

So, here’s where Steele’s story falls apart. As we’d discussed in an earlier case, some GoDaddy records were filed which show John Steele registering domains in Alan Cooper’s name in 2010. Ruh roh. Specifically, they show the email address “” registering a variety of domain names in Alan Cooper’s name. And, in case you’re wondering, there’s no doubt that’s Steele’s email address (rather than, say, Cooper pretending to be Steele) because that same email address was used to register Prenda’s website. And there’s plenty of evidence that it was actually Steele doing this beyond the email address. The physical address used is an address in Arizona which is the home address of John Steele’s sister, Jayme, namely 4532 East Villa Theresa Drive, Phoneix, AZ 85032. And the GoDaddy documents show that the address was originally the address of Prenda’s office in Chicago. And the GoDaddy support logs show that someone named John called because he was having trouble logging into the account and made them send the info to

Oh, and you might recall that in the case before Judge Wright, opposing lawyer Morgan Pietz had filed a document about yet another Prenda shell company called VPR Internationale:

Further, a residential address in Phoenix apparently co-occupied by Anthony Saltmarsh and Jayme Steele has also been linked to several Prenda straw men and sham entities, including Alan Cooper…. Prenda previously represented VPR Internationale in various copyright infringement suits…. According to the Nevada Secretary of State, all officer positions at VPR Inc. are held by “Alan Cooper,” and the address given for Mr. Cooper in each instance is 4532 East Villa Theresa Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85032…. Similarly, an Internet search of that same address revealed what appears to be an archived WHOIS record for an Internet domain name registration of which lists “Alan Cooper” as the registrant, technical contact, and administrative contact, but using as the email address of record, and 4532 East Villa Theresa Drive, Phoneix, AZ 85032 as the mailing address of record. Exhbit T. According to public database searches on Anthony Saltmarsh and Jayme Steele, both of them resided at 4532 East Villa Theresa Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85032.

Indeed, as some have been pointing out on Twitter, Nevada still has a listing for VPR showing “Alan Cooper” in all executive roles, using Jayme Steele’s address… and that was set up in 2010.

So, Steele claims he and Cooper talked about this stuff in 2011 and the extent of Steele’s help was an intro to Mark Lutz to help out with AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, but the paper trail shows Steele using Cooper’s name to set up a number of other websites and companies in 2010, well before he claimed to have even discussed Cooper working “in the business.” Ooops.

Yes, it’s looking like Steele has the credibility problem here, rather than Cooper.

Oh, and perhaps someone more familiar with how the 5th amendment works can fill in the details here, but the various points made by Steele in this particular case appear to be the identical issues to which Steele pleaded the 5th in front of Judge Wright in the Central District of California. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to plead the 5th in one place, and then respond to the same questions elsewhere. I would imagine that might come back to bite Steele as well. In the meantime, however, we get to watch him keep digging as he really does seem to think he can talk his way out of things, despite the piles upon piles of evidence that appears to contradict what he’s saying.

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Companies: prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “John Steele's Claims About Alan Cooper Contradicted By History”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Should have stuck with the silent treatment...

Actually if Steele is telling the truth, and given the other details, that would make him look even worse(how that is even possible at this point is beyond me), because it would suggest that while Steele was using Cooper’s name on various documents, site registrations, and listing him as an officer in various shell companies, he only actually suggested that Cooper get involved over a year after he started doing so.

I really hope this little tidbit is pointed out to the judge, as watching Steele squirm like a worm on a hook as his own lies come back to bite him never gets old.

DannyB (profile) says:

John Steele affidavit

When a court gets an affidavit from John Steele, can the court safely assume that all statements in the affidavit are untrue?

It’s like all copyright maximalists. Consider statements such as:
* “pirate mike”
* all techdirt readers are pirates
* techdirt is only about piracy (and not other kinds of dirt like patents, trademarks, broken business models, legacy industries (not just hollywood) wanting to turn back the clock, destroy the internet, etc)

Anonymous Coward says:

Your honor,
Alan Cooper is in reality an artificial intelligent machine sent from the future to destroy me, my reputation and my company so that I cannot use my legally obtained wealth to finance a resistance against him taking over the Earth. In order to ruin my credibility he registered websites with my email address and then coerced me into including him in his porn company that he founded and let me run.

out_of_the_blue says:

Result of Mike's lawyer fetish plus hatred of copyright.

THIS is an anomaly, kids: has no other application than to this particular bunch of thieves. That a college “econmoics” graduate goes on with this day after day, leaving so much else unmentioned, is the real hoot. — Heck, even most of the fanboys are skipping this crap.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up same place!
ZOMG! Yet another item on Prenda Law! A staple in the soporific “At The Bench” series. Mike sez (short version): “Wow. Wow. Wow. … The story is gripping.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Result of Mike's lawyer fetish plus hatred of copyright.

Cathy, you’ve ADMITTED that you can’t be bothered to read the articles here, so why pretend otherwise?

A brief glance at the front page reveals a variety of subjects including patents, international trade agreements, and DOJ misdeeds.

As for anomalies, a brief search of the internet using your favorite search engine will reveal that copyright trolling and (gasp!) lying in court by the aforementioned trolls is much more common than you’d think.

Prenda is a particularly egregious (and entertaining) example.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Result of Mike's lawyer fetish plus hatred of copyright.

“THIS is an anomaly, kids: has no other application than to this particular bunch of thieves.”

“This particular bunch of thieves” being copyright trolls in general.

Need I remind you of Righthaven?

But rest assured that the anomaly is being correct. Perhaps that is what pains you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Result of Mike's lawyer fetish plus hatred of copyright.

“That a college “econmoics” graduate goes on with this day after day, leaving so much else unmentioned, is the real hoot…”

Ok, I actually have to agree here.

I haven’t seen any mention of the release of Linux Mint 15 anywhere on Techdirt.

Also, I am pretty sure that haven’t had a Wayland article since, like, forever.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: How does he not realise?

I’ve seen this sort of thing before. People who think that they’re smarter than everyone else and that they have a way to “beat the system” often seem to think they can talk their way out of everything… so they just keep talking and often have trouble seeing themselves talking into even more trouble.

Wally (profile) says:

The 5th...a bit more of an enlightenment for all

The 5th Amendment in a criminal case is only ever put in place when pleaded, to protect your rights against having extra charges added on during the trial because of your testimony. Basically it only applies when you committed a crime yourself while witnessing the totally separate and unrelated crime the accused is charged with. This also invoke the 14th Amendment’s double jeopardy clauses. The double jeopardy clause in a criminal case prevents you from being tried for the same exact crime in a different district from which the charges are exactly the same. This may be why Prenda was so prone to trying to carbon copy each of their copyright trolling filings.

Pleading the 5th in a civil matter is a bit different however. IT does not hold exactly the same protections that Prenda is relying on. The 14th (double jeopardy) Amendment clauses included in the 5th cannot protect you from being sued by multiple people in differnet districts for the exact same reasons.

The only thing with Prenda on these subtle differences is that they are getting their tactics and knowledge bases mixed up. They pleaded the 5th during a civil matter that when not looked at carefully, looks like a criminal case. In this way, when they plea the 5th, they are still subject to the court’s questioning their tactics.

That being said Mike, since Prenda pleaded their 5th Amendment rights while being questioned about their litigation tactics in a civil matter, they have essentially stated that they would not talk about their tactics lest they seem criminal. In a criminal case, pleading the 5th with a side of double jeopardy clause only means they did not want to incriminate themselves further than what is already gathered in as evidence….while throwing each other under the bus.

The thing is that when Prenda pleaded the 5th at the time their case under Justice Wright was a civil matter and their litigation was being questioned by the defendant in that case. They basically tricked themselves into thinking that a court’s questioning a litigation was tat of a criminal case…..this explains why they are NOT protected in other federal district courts, but stupidly keep on blabbing on and on in other districts about their tactics. What they Peaded the 5th, it didnothing to protect them in the civil legal sense and did not prevent Federal Court Justice Wright from writing up a very nasty litigious referral. Double jeopardy clauses do not apply in civil cases and since every person they have perused is in the legal civil sense….they are not protected one bit from the same charges from cropping up against them from a defendant’s attorney’s.

To answer your question in short…..civil cases do not hold to double jeopardy clauses as it would prevent other people claiming damages from you, from getting compensation for your careless or libel actions.


Lurker Keith says:

Re: The 5th...a bit more of an enlightenment for all

As the meme goes, they’re doing it wrong. They’re doing everything wrong. Justice was just too blind to catch on before now.

They Plead the 5th wrong. & then go on to file the very info (true or not) they refused to give a court. Doing it even worse.

They’re doing “covering their tracks” wrong. facepalm Morons! Even law abiding citizens know not to set up a scam using addresses & accounts that can be traced back to you. Shoot, I don’t set out to break any laws online, but I still use aliases.

I have a feeling their even doing their digging to China wrong, & will probably end up digging into a Federal Prison (or maybe they’re doing it right & wrong simultaneously & will end up in a Chinese Prison). & when they inevitably try to dig the tunnel out, they’ll probably end up in the Warden’s office.

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Maybe someone ought to give Doc Brown and Marty McFly a call and let them know that Steele has found a way to go back and forth in time to see events before they happened.

Steele is so desperate to stave off Prenda’s demise from the copyright trolling lawsuit game and keep that extortion -er- settlement money rolling in at all costs.

The very fact that he keeps forgetting that a lot of entities and historical WHOIS info keeps landing at his sisters Jayme’s house who of course lives with Anthony Saltmrash.

Of course those documents signed by Salt Marsh that were submitted by Prenda to the courts wouldn’t have anything to do with Steele would they.

Everyone notice that only after the Defense Lawyers and Judges started to question the signature of Salt March did it come up that Salt Marsh was a trust?

Amazing that VPR International who we are led to believe is a Prenda client sued over that clients films being pirated, yet the address used to register it is Steele’s sister house again, wow what a coincidence!

It will be interesting when we see these guys in front of the appellate court and listen to their lawyers trying to explain away how Prenda clients are so connected with John Steele in registration and WHOIS records and people he knows.

I still cant wait for the RICO indictment to come down, there is too much here that would make a RICO case a very real threat to the Prenda gang.

A Federal Grand Jury would have to be wilfully blind to not see that all these entities that had pron films supposedly pirated and infringed, were never sold to the public, never made available for distribution till recently.

The fact that these supposed porn companies have various connections to Steele or his family, or former employess is not going to be over looked.

I would like to see Steele Prenda, Duffy, Lutz and Hansmeier
explain to investigators how and why companies that are supposedly their clients have been involved in various litigation cases for thousands of people across many states.

RICO statutes will definitely be in play here with the Prenda gang. With Duffy, Gibbs and Hansmeier and the various State Bars investigation looming and the 3 of them risk the possibility of the loss of their licence to practice and a possible Grand Jury investigation hanging over them I would suspect their could be some cracks in the foundation of solidarity starting to form.

Gibbs, Duffy Or Hansmeier may want to turn witness and save themselves from going to the slammer, I doubt they want to be middle aged former lawyers rattling the bars in their cells.

I would be of the opinion that Lutz will be the first to talk, since he is the new fall guy now that Gibbs is supposedly out of the picture(I doubt that as of yet even) and has signed onto all these entites as CEO.

Duffy and Gibbs would be the next to fall I believe considering Duffy has his own problems can he really afford to start this late over in life and hang on, I doubt it.

Gibbs name is in tatters in my opinion and after all that has taken place in the courts and the reports in the media, if Gibbs handed in a resume who would even look at knowing Prenda Law is on it, never mind the State Bar investigation.

Hansmeier I think will be the last to fall in my thoughts due to his long association with Steele from the Law school days, that being said and under State Bar investigation and his name close to being mud may change that.

The fact that Gibbs, Duffy and Hnasmeier all are facing the possibility of losing their licence to practice an IRS criminal investigation and a possible RICO indictment make for a great batch of potential state witnesses in a RICO case against Steele.

I am sure Stelle must be calling everyone a couple times a wekk to feel them out and make sure they are still onside and hoping that know one is going to flip.

I’d be willing to bet old John Steele is tossing and turning at night and trying to hide assets in friends, relatives and pets names so he isn’t left with nothing when the music finally stops and their are no chairs left for him to sit in.

Anonymous Coward says:

“I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to plead the 5th in one place, and then respond to the same questions elsewhere.”

The doctrine is called judicial estoppel. Some courts have refused to consider an affidavit in which the affiant provides information that he previously withheld on the basis of the Fifth Amendment.

It will be interesting to see how Judge Snow handles the John Steele affidavit.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

Re: Judicial estoppel

Quoting from Wikipedia:

Although, in the United States, it is only a part of common law and therefore not sharply defined, it is generally agreed that it can only be cited if the party in question successfully maintained its position in the earlier proceedings and benefited from it. [emphasis added]

Have Steele and friends actually benefitted in a court case from anything they’ve told the court?

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