Prenda can’t seem to get through a court case without massive drama, or self-harm. The embattled law firm had another hearing today, where this time it was the copyright assignment docs that were under question.
In Federal courtroom 9W, in downtown Minneapolis’s US courthouse, a somewhat bluster-filled hearing dealt more blows to Prenda law, and their clients AF holdings. Two bombshells stood out; That AF Holdings “CEO” Mark Lutz has gone missing, and that even members of Steele’s family are working against him.
While most of the hearing proceeded as a normal smear-fest for Steele and co, attempting to discredit caretaker-turned- ID theft victim Alan Cooper (a strategy that has largely failed in every other court it’s been attempted in) the revelations about who tipped Cooper off to his name being used really stunned some people, chief amongst them Steele himself.
Cooper was alerted by a text from a “Kim Eckenrud” (spelling unknown) who sent a copy of a document with Coopers signature on with the advice to get an attorney. Kim is John Steele’s mother in law. Steele later tried to dismiss this, saying she’s religious and a frequent poster on anti-troll sites, who disapproves of his porn work. Or it could also be the work of Anonymous Pirates on the Internet, resorting back to the claims of internet bullying that have been echoed in other Prenda/AF Holdings cases.
To underscore this, he had earlier recounted a tale where someone posted a picture of his house and child, with the message “Best caliber to kill Steele’s family? When and Where?“. That was also why he stopped practicing law, because of threats from pirate blogs, he claimed, choking up and having to stop for water. He did seem to be silent about the police’s reaction to it though.
It was not the only bombshell of the day however, as when it came time for AF Holdings CEO Mark Lutz to testify, he was nowhere to be found. It’s reminiscent of a month earlier, when he failed to show up after being order to appear in San Francisco, and no-one knew where he was. Then it turned out he was ‘detained’ at the airport for 16+ hours without being allowed to contact his attorney. This time though, no-one knows where he is. Steele went to pick him up (as they were on the same flight, and produced the boarding pass to the judge as proof) and he wasn’t at home.
While there were no rulings, as yet, it doesn’t look good for Prenda, and the associated principles. The hearing’s order stated that the burden on proof was on Steele&co to prove the documents legitimate, which they completely failed to do, providing zero evidence beyond character assassination via hearsay.Despite Steele then driving around Miami looking for him, he was still missing, and has now missed three different court-ordered appearances.
This has led some to speculate that he’s now not only been thrown under the bus, by his Prenda cohorts, but possibly under some concrete as well (although Steele did refrain for speculating that Anonymous Internet Pirates had kidnapped him)
Additionally, with Steele testifying on issues he’d previously “taken the Fifth” for in California, he may have doomed his appeal in that case, and possibly opened himself up for a contempt motion (by answering he may have nullified his 5th plea, turning it into refusal to answer a question)
All in all, not a good day for Steele and co, and certainly not a performance worthy of the ‘big leagues’.