John Steele To Court: You Have No Evidence That I've Done Anything Wrong

from the oh-yeah? dept

And, the next filing in the big Prenda showdown has been filed, and it's John Steele's response to the Order to Show Cause (OSC) for why he shouldn't be sanctioned for a variety of misdeeds. Not surprisingly, Steele builds on the previous filings from Paul Hansmeier and from Paul Duffy and Prenda Law. But the crux of his argument: "Judge, you've got nothing on me. There's no evidence I did anything wrong."

Ridiculously, he argues that there's no jurisdiction over him, because despite Brett Gibbs' detailed testimony of how Steele (and Hansmeier) basically ran the entire litigation campaign, that Gibbs' testimony: "lacks specificity regarding Steele's involvement in the subject cases or any California cases, and is otherwise inconsistent or contradicted by others." Amazingly, in support of this, he points to lawyer Jason Sweet's "Perry Mason moment" during the March 11th hearing, in which Sweet noted that Gibbs had claimed to be counsel for AF Holdings. This is really throwing Gibbs under the bus. Sweet's statements were not meant as an exoneration of Steele or Hansmeier (by any means), but rather to show that Gibbs wasn't completely a puppet, but a willing participant in a scheme that was mostly managed by Steele and Hansmeier. Steele goes on to take other Gibbs' comments completely out of context to pretend that Steele had nothing to do with the case (or other cases).
For example, although Gibbs claimed he was supervised by Steele and Hansmeier at Prenda Law, when pressed for specifics about the degree of supervision he received, Gibbs only offered that Steele and Hansmeier gave him authority to file certain cases here. See Dkt 108-5, at 77:8-24. Gibbs' further testimony has revealed he had significant autonomy in handling the cases. See Dkt 108-5, at 77:25-78:4 (claiming Steele and Hansmeier "gave me certain parameters [pursuant to] which I could settle the case myself.");
First of all, that is not the "only" thing Gibbs "offered." He also noted that Steele had the ability to use his email address and made it pretty clear that Steele was calling the shots. As for the "certain parameters" claim, that was Gibbs noting that Steele and Hansmeier gave Gibbs very limited autonomy within the context of controlling pretty much everything else. That's so obvious from the context that it's almost amazing Steele would try to bullshit a judge who clearly knows better.

On various other points, Steele dumps the blame on Gibbs (and a little on Hansmeier). And then we get to the Alan Cooper question. On that point, everyone has been consistent: Steele was the guy who got Cooper's signature. So how does Steele try to avoid being blamed for "fraud on the court" over that? First, he repeats the statement made by others that Cooper's signature is meaningless, since the copyright holder wanted to assign the copyrights, no matter who signed on behalf of AF Holdings. And then he completely avoids the question of whether or not he faked Cooper's signature, by saying, basically, it doesn't matter because it's not a sanctionable offense anyway (what....?) and then takes a dig at Cooper's "credibility." Uh, yeah.
The Court stated: "First, with an invalid assignment, Plaintiff has no standing in these cases." Dkt 48, at 9:8. Apparently re-articulating the same concern, the Court added: "Second, by bringing these cases, Plaintiff's conduct can be considered vexatious, as these cases were filed for a facially improper purpose." Dkt 48, at 9:9-10. As both Gibbs and Prenda/Duffy/ Van Den Hemel noted in their Responses To The OSC, the Court is mistaken about the law in this regard; the signature of the assignee is irrelevant to the validity of the assignment, so long as the assignor signs. See Dkt 49, at 25:9-26:19; Dkt 108, at 11:24-12:9.; see also 17 U.S.C. 204(a). Lastly, the Court stated: "the Courtm will not idle while Plaintiff defrauds this institution."; Dkt 48, at 9:10-11. However, even if the Court were to discount the evidence submitted impugning Cooper's credibility and blame Steele for this "fraud,"; it hardly rises to the level of fraud upon the court recognized by the Ninth Circuit, i.e., "a fraud perpetrated by officers of the court so that the judicial machinery cannot perform in the usual manner its impartial task of adjudging cases that are presented for adjudication." In re Intermagnetics Am., Inc., 926 F.2d 912, 916 (9th Cir. 1991).

Regarding any other alleged fraud the Court may consider, as Section III above makes clear, except in rare circumstances not present here, this Court is not empowered to sanction Steele or anyone else based on conduct occurring entirely outside of the subject cases and the Central District. Based on its prior statements, the Court may have erroneously felt otherwise before.
I'm sorry, but if anyone believes that the evidence to date impugns Cooper's credibility more than Steele's credibility, they haven't been paying attention. At all.

On the question of hiding the ownership of various shell companies, Steele, amazingly, argues that "the evidence" shows that the Court is wrong to suggest that the folks from Team Prenda own/control the various shell companies:
Disturbingly, the Court's apparent conclusions about the relationships between the persons and entities named in the March 14, 2013 OSC wholly ignores evidence to the contrary. Compare, e.g., Dkt. 69-1, pp. 21:18-2, 38:22-39:15, 40:8-12 (regarding who owns AF Holdings) with Dkt 108-5, at 114:5-8 (I do have the picture, and I know who the client is. We have talked about the client, and the client has been running everything. Yeah, I know who the client is”); see also Dkt 108-5at 19:15-18 (suggesting Prenda law is "controlled by Mr. Steele.")

However, Steele cannot be sanctioned for any of these alleged misrepresentations made to this Court regarding the relationships among the parties and entities named in the Court’s March 14 OSC because Steele has taken no actions nor made any representations to this Court of any kind, nor is there any evidence before this Court that he acted or was otherwise involved in anyone else's alleged misrepresentations to this Court.
This part strikes as the most incredible part of it all. The entire purpose of the April 2 hearing was to answer questions about this very point. And Steele chose not to respond to any questions. And now, in this filing, he's basically claiming "nope, I had nothing to do with it" without presenting any evidence to the contrary. Incredible.

I get the feeling that Judge Wright is not going to react well to this particular filing, which (like Hansmeier's before it) makes statements that clearly are at odds with what nearly all of the evidence has suggested is happening, without providing any actual evidence to support their claims.

Meanwhile, despite not being willing to talk to the court, Steele apparently has no problem talking to some in the press, and has told Xbiz that he "never even heard of the case" until two months ago. That seems rather difficult to believe given Gibbs' statements concerning Steele's involvement in his cases. I would imagine that someone involved in the case will quickly make Judge Wright of Steele's sudden willingness to "talk" and the details of his statements.

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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 11:46am

    This isn't going to go over well

    I really hope the judge throws the book at him over this. Steele had his chance to defend his actions in court, and chose not to take it, and now he's trying to plead his case via legal filings, where he can't be questioned?

    Yeah, hope the judge tells him flat out 'You had your chance to explain yourself, you chose not to, you're out of luck'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Rikuo (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 12:32pm

    Okay...can someone explain to me then what was the point of Steele taking the Fifth? Doesn't this violate his "I wanna stay silent" claim?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    doeknob, 10 Apr 2013 @ 12:46pm


    The difference is that these are legal arguments, not testimony and not evidence. Ken (popehat) had touched on the difference in his postings.

    As for invoking the fifth and talking to the press...yeah...don't know about that one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Rikuo (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Okay I think I understand, thanks. So to put it in perspective, someone who's been arrested and then taken the Fifth could still make the argument that the warrant is invalid, for example, without needing to say it wasn't them who is guilty?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Judge Otis lay the smack down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:07pm

    CFAA Anyone?

    "... that is not the "only" thing Gibbs "offered." He also noted that Steele had the ability to use his email address..."

    That has GOT to be a cause for action.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Ron (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:15pm

    Wire Tap

    I wonder if the government have their phones tapped legal or otherwise to gain evidence of criminal conduct?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Lincoln Hawk, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:18pm

    jackasses gonna jackass

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    anonymouse, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Does the judge not have the right to ask for an investigator to dig through all the evidence for him , seize documents on his behalf and provide a report on all the questions he has asked. Seems like the steele and hammershite that were supposed to answer via fillings have not done so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Stuart (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:27pm

    When will the judge rule

    I was wondering how long will take the judge to rule. Wish this train wreck would end soon with big crash for them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Glen, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:27pm

    The way they are throwing each other under the bus is beyond awesome. If you get them in the same room, world war 3 is gonna break out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:29pm


    Here's to Judge Wright turning green and hulk-smashing the crap out of him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Doesn't impersonating someone via electronic mail violate the CFAA? That alone has got to be worth more jail time than fraud on the court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Matthew (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Only a matter of time now...

    Seems like it's only a matter of time now before one of these people turns coat fully and starts working with a federal prosecutor to get amnesty for themselves and send the rest down the river. Probably already happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:37pm

    dig if you will the response

    this is what it sounds like
    when lawyers lawyer up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:43pm

    oh dear

    storms coming annie!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    S. T. Stone, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:50pm

    How many buses does Prenda Law have?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Ken points this out at Popehat much more articulately, but at this point Steele doesn't really care anymore if the Judge is furious reading his wildly underwhelming response. He's playing the appeal game, and trying to get arguments on record for the eventual appeal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 2:50pm

    So, Steels is trying the AJ defense.

    Seems like a strong plan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 3:09pm

    OMG!! I can't wait until they are summarily executed!! Let's all get together and pee on their corpses. Yeah, TD!!!!! We fucking did it!!! Thanks, Ken and Mike!!! U R my heroessssss!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Jay (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 3:14pm

    John Steele

    I know that it's been a while but John Steele done went full retard on this one...

    You NEVER go full retard...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    crade (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 3:43pm

    Steel: Now just to be clear, Its not that I'm saying I'm not completely and utterly guilty here.. It's not that at all. And if you ask me whether or not I'm guilty.. Well I can't answer that because the answer would incriminate me..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    John Steele, 10 Apr 2013 @ 4:31pm

    I'm a liar and fraud - so what?

    So what if I lied to the judge, falsified evidence, led the Alan Cooper fiasco, among other transgressions. You god damn people are simply idiots, including the judge. I mean, what a fucking peabrain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Violated (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 6:47pm

    Re: I'm a liar and fraud - so what?

    I seem to recall that John Steele was the one who if people denied the claimed infringement he would contract all their family and friends to find someone to point the finger at who did it.

    A clear low-life weasel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In simple non legal language.

    If you are a witness then you are sworn in and have to tell the truth or go to jail.

    If you are an attorney filing briefs you can lie to your harts content with no penalty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 7:21pm


    Squirmy squirmy squirm. That's the best you copyright enforcers can do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: I'm a liar and fraud - so what?

    So, should one start with or is there a better choice?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    Greevar (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That requires a warrant. You can't seize anything without a warrant. To get a warrant, there has to be probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime, which means they have to be accused of a crime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    Greevar (profile), 10 Apr 2013 @ 8:58pm


    There's always the charge of falsifying evidence. That's a crime too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2013 @ 9:01pm

    I tend to think that this will have little effect on Judge Wright's ruling at the end of the day. I believe it's too little, too late, other than to maybe tee the judge off that much more.

    I agree that it looks like this is a setup for appeal and little else. If clearing the books with 'I'm innocent' was the thought, it should have been done in court when the judge offered it. Now it looks just like what it appears to be, an attempt to weasel out of the results of the Prenda team's actions. Actions that pretty much everyone involved with Prenda internally say Steele is one of the two heads. It is further compounded by being out of court where cross examination can't take place, truth finding won't occur, and lies have no penalty.

    You'll pardon that I remain extremely sceptical under the circumstances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Julian Perez, 11 Apr 2013 @ 1:58am

    Look what this evil weasel said in that Xbiz interview

    "I am very confident that once the facts are reviewed by Judge Wright, or the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if necessary, this latest effort funded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to stop anti-piracy litigation will fail," he told XBIZ."

    In other words, he's trying to make it out like this is all the doing of the Electronic Frontier Foundation persecuting him for doing God's Work instead of his own lying to the court about conflict of interest and operation of a large-scale criminal enterprise.

    I find this quote fascinating because in this, there's nothing especially different about an outright criminal like John Steele that can tell him apart from other protectionist scum like Copyhype: they view themselves not as criminals but as people enforcing the law and beseiged by organized conspiracies funded by "Big Tech."

    Look in the mirror, trolls. This guy is you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), 11 Apr 2013 @ 4:16am

    Re: Wire Tap

    Nah, that stuff usually reserved for activists and political opponents.
    You shouldn't expect them to spend time and money on actual criminals, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2013 @ 5:53am

    Yes your Honor. Your right. Your entirely wrong. Oh. You actually read my filings... Of course they addressed all of your questions if only you'd read them again theres a lot more said between the lines, but its all good. [/sic]

    Steele's responses seems to be “Nyann, nya, nyaa, nyaaaan. Ya can't catch meeeeee! And besides it's everybody else's fault anyway. I didn't say anything so what difference dose it make especially since everyone who did say anything are on drugs or wrong anyway.”

    Its not over by a long shot but... The cracks within Prendaa are beginning to show. If a few of the associates or partners would step up and testify they might get some respect for being caught up in an classic money making scheme as hapless followers.

    Since the Prendaa ship has breached its only a matter of time when the rest discover that the lifeboats have been confiscated by upper management and everyone must fend for themselves. Classic animal behavior very common in parasitic office/corporate environments. Its likely a few were working for some false/imaginary promise of future promise/payoff/hint-of-riches anyway. (thats right my boy/girl... stick with us and you'll be sitting pretty for sure!)

    Would be painful to watch if one did not understand the horrible nature of copyright law. Which is enough to nail the figurative coffin all by itself but there is the obvious added nature of Prendaa capitalizing off of vulnerable social groups. (only sex?)

    No sympathy will be wasted on these probable rodents.

    The longer one looks at this very compelling chart the more murky and shady this AF Holdings seems. Apparently an off shore 'undefined beneficiary trust' based in Nevis. (where in hell is Nevis anyway??) Rally. What honest law firm operates an off shore account?

    Why would they need such an operation unless they expected legal challenge to questionable/shady operations. By the structure of the shell firms all pointing to a mysterious foreign account/trust it could be a further indication/evidence that the creators/operators/litigators knew of illegal operations?

    Again, it is hard to see progress unless some warrants or subpoenas are issued. No testimony has been given so its the only way for facts to be collected. This may take a bit longer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    D, 11 Apr 2013 @ 6:22am


    Reckon old OOTB is gradually losing it. Alzheimer's, is it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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