Mutual 'Friend' Of John Steele And Alan Cooper Implies That Cooper Was 'Off His Meds' When Accusing Steele Of Identity Fraud
from the the-plot-thickens dept
Beginning in late 2011, Alan began exhibiting unusual behavior on various occasions when I was visiting the property. Alan began acting erratic, frequently threatening to hurt others.The full filing (linked above and embedded below, also shows these text message exchanges, poorly photographed. Here's just one of them.
On several occasions, Alan bragged that "If I pissed him off, they would never find my body, just like the others"
Due to Alan's strange behavior, I began to minimize my contacts with him unless others were around. Although I still consider Alan a very good person and a friend to this day, on some days he acted like a completely different person and extremely agitated. I later found out from Alan that the days he had acted very unusual were the ones in which he had not taken certain antipsychotic medication his doctor had prescribed.
Almost immediately I became aware that Alan's mental state had further deteriorated and felt very uncomfortable to be alone around him.
On approximately August 13th of 2012, I went to Mr. Steele's property to prepare it for a potential buyer. My girlfriend was with me on this trip. Alan came out of his cabin and was clearly in an extremely agitated state. Before I could even speak with him, he began threatening to hurt me. Due to the manner in which made the threats were made, his comments about past violence, I felt in fear for my life.
I immediately called John Steele and told him what happened and that I could not show the property under these conditions. I contacted the Aitkin County police department to report what had happened. Due to Mr. Steele's request, I did not follow through with filing charges.
Alan has sent me a variety of bizarre text messages, accurate copies of which are attached in Exhibit A hereto. In these text messages, Alan threatened to shoot me, indicated that he was removing wood from Mr. Steele's property, explained that he had some mental disorder(s), and apologized for his bizarre behavior.
Although Alan requested in his texts that I go to his doctor that was treating him for his mental illness.
Alan indicated that if I entered the property he would shoot me. Although Alan stated he would only shoot me in the foot, I felt out of an abundance of caution not to trust his assurance that he would only shoot me in a non-critical part of my body.
In the same filing, Berry states that in hanging out with Steele and Cooper, he was involved in many conversations with them -- and while he doesn't seem to have full details, he suggests that Cooper was knowingly helping Steele out on various legal projects, including a "porn company."
On several dates, I had occasion to be present when Mr. Steele and Alan would speak about various matters. Normally this occurred while we were sitting around campfire located between the two cabins.It is not difficult to see where Steele is trying to go with this. He's working on a character attack against Cooper, arguing that he's mentally ill and "off his meds" while also suggesting that he was a willing participant in Steele's legal activities. It would be interesting to see if there's any other evidence to support this, because at first glance this seems quite sketchy (even beyond the typos and odd sentence structure such as sentences that are not complete). Second, almost none of it is conclusive. It's all just vague hints and statements that present little actual evidence relevant to whether or not Cooper actually was helping out Steele. Vague claims of "this guy seems crazy and off his meds" seem unlikely to sway Judge Wright given everything else he's seen. Even if we take Berry at his word, it suggests that Steele put someone he knew to be unstable in charge of one of his key "companies."
Alan and Mr. Steele seemed to have a very good realtionship and Alan would routinely ask John how he wished he could help Mr. Steele for all the things Mr. Steele did for Alan, such as allowing him to live on the property for free.
It was clear from their conversations and references to Mr. Steele's legal work that Alan was involved working with Mr. Steele. Alan did not seem upset about this relationship, and in fact often made jokes about not having to worry about ever buying beer again due to his assisting Mr. Steele.
I remember Mr. Steele at various times asking Alan to assist him with certain paperwork and I never saw Alan objecting to this assistance.
On at least one occasion. I recall Alan asking John, "How's my porn company doing?"
Furthermore, the statements by Berry actually support the argument that Steele was really the guy behind the scheme, and that Cooper was a mere figurehead. The fact that he asks "How's my porn company doing?" and all of the references in which Berry claims Cooper is doing work for Steele, if true, could actually add more evidence to the claim that Steele was pulling all the strings and using Cooper.
While the other documents aren't quite as entertaining, they may have a greater impact. Rosing presents the "legal arguments" she wanted 25 minutes to make during the last hearing. It basically says the judge can't do very much, and even when he can "sanctions are not appropriate," because nothing was done wrong. Rosing also complains about the way the court is handling the case, including the fact that, during the first Prenda hearing, the judge allowed a lawyer in the crowd, Jason Sweet (who has fought Prenda multiple times), to speak up and make a point about how Brett Gibbs represented himself in the past. As our post by Ken White noted, this "Perry Mason" moment was highly unusual. The rest of the filing argues that nothing that was done is actually sanctionable activity, including pushing back against the claim that Gibbs did a bad jobs in determining if someone was likely guilty of infringement. As Ken White notes in his writeup about these filings a lot of this is irrelevant, since it only matters if Judge Wright relies on the things that Rosing objects to.
Rosing then moves further along the argument chain, noting that even if there are sanctionable activities "it wasn't us!" It's not quite throwing Steele and Hansmeier under the bus, but it comes close. There are also some procedural complaints about being summoned to California on short notice (along with the jurisdiction questions), but, really, the crux of the argument is that Prenda Law had no idea what was going on under its banner. They also challenge the point about Prenda's refusal to show the cases as related based on another ruling that said they weren't related. There may be some legitimate complaints in there, but the "we had no idea" argument probably won't be that helpful to Paul Duffy, seeing as he's officially the only principal of Prenda Law and has been clearly involved in many of the cases. I could see the court going easy on the paralegal, suggesting she was just dragged into this, but earlier evidence does suggest that she was involved in pushing AT&T and possibly other to fork over names, even the court had already said that Prenda had to put its subpoenas on hold.
Separately, Rosing shows how Duffy and Prenda have been dropping all the various Prenda related cases just to be safe, as an apparent sign of good faith or something.
All in all, Rosing may get a little somewhere with this filing, and may help her individual clients -- Paul Duffy, Andgela and Prenda itself as a corporate entity. But it's hardly a slam dunk, and should have little impact on John Steele or Paul Hansmeier who are represented separately. I'll be curious to see if anything else comes out of the Berry filing, which seems like a pure joke at this point.