Former attorney John Steele was sentenced this week to five years in prison for his role in the Prenda Law porn-trolling scheme, putting an end to a years-long legal drama wild and stupid enough to be prime-time TV.Steele pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal charges of fraud and money laundering and then cooperated with authorities in the investigation into his former legal partner Paul Hansmeier. That cooperation weighed heavily in Steele’s favor at his sentencing, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.US District Judge Joan Ericksen said federal guidelines recommended a sentence of 10 to 12-1/2 years for Steele’s “vile scheme” but agreed that given Steele’s extreme willingness to cooperate, his defense attorney’s recommendation of five years was “eminently fair.”
Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial Prenda law firm, is appealing his conviction as well as the 14-year prison sentence. The former attorney will await the result of his appeal in prison. The court further ruled that a $75,000 settlement Hansmeier recently received, will be reserved for the victims of the copyright-trolling scheme.
The U.S. is recommending a 12.5 year prison sentence for Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys of the controversial law firm Prenda. The Pirate Bay played a crucial role in the case, since it’s where Prenda uploaded porn movies to extract settlements from alleged pirates. Hansmeier admitted his wrongdoing but is requesting a more lenient prison sentence of little over 7 years.
Prenda Law’s Paul Hansmeier, infamous for constantly scheming about ways to use the judicial process to shakedown people for money, and pompously overstating his own position (e.g., “welcome to the big leagues”) has now lost his license to practice law.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis office is conducting an active investigation of the principals of Prenda Law, the notorious team of crooked copyright trolls that I’ve …
As you may have noticed, I don’t write about Prenda anymore: my spare time is limited, and I prefer to spend it covering enemies of the society that are still strong and dangerous — unlike fo…
Everyone behind the failed clown school that was Prenda Law deserves what’s happening to Paul Hansmeier. Unfortunately, it appears Hansmeier is taking the most damage from the fallout of Prenda’s disastrous copyright trolling… or at least he’s the one doing most of his suffering in public.
Of course, it’s his own fault. Rather than get out of the trolling business, Hansmeier doubled down. He swapped porn stars for wheelchairs, pursuing small businesses for Americans with Disabilities Acts violations. Fronting as a public interest, Hansmeier’s “Disabilities Support Alliance” is every bit the serial litigant Prenda was.
Now, it’s falling apart. As is Hansmeier himself. He’s currently facing possible disbarment for his participation in Prenda’s fraudulent behavior. He just lost one of his lawsuits against a Minnesota landlord for bogus ADA violations — one out of more than 100 lawsuits he’s filed against small businesses in the area. If Hansmeier’s asked to cough up legal fees, one wonders where he’ll find the money.