Postle claims he’s the real victim
The Mike Postle saga has taken several twists and turns in recent months, but March 18 could have been a red letter day in the ongoing poker scandal that just keeps on giving.
the attorney-less Postle requested more time once again
Originally scheduled to be in court February 10-11, Postle was granted more time in a pair of anti-SLAPP cases filed by Todd Witteles and Veronica Brill. The new date for Brill’s hearing was today, but the attorney-less Postle requested more time once again. He wanted six months. He was granted 33 days.
This request was accompanied by evidence that the HONR Network had been contacted on Postle’s behalf. They are a group founded by one of the parents of a child murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting to assist people who have been attacked online by conspiracy theorists and financial opportunists.
Brill tweeted her disgust:
It is being claimed that Postle is the victim of “defamation, harassment, doxing, and death threats.”
Attorney quit in January
In October 2020, buoyed by Judge Shubb’s June decision to dismiss the case against him, Mike Postle filed a defamation lawsuit for $360m in damages. He claimed that, prior to the events specified in the lawsuit against him, he enjoyed a “positive reputation” as a person and poker professional. Seeking damages and injunctive relief from ESPN, PokerNews, Upswing Poker, PokerNews via iBus Media, Crush Live Poker, Poker Coaching, Run It Once, Joey Ingram, Haralabos Voulgaris, Daniel Negreanu, Todd Witteles, Veronica Brill, and others, his lawsuit made the following claims:
Claim 1: Defamation – Libel Per Se (for negligent, reckless, and/or intentional publications of defamation) for $300m in damages
Claim 2: Defamation – Slander Per Se (for false and defamatory statements to poker and gambling communities and general public) for undetermined damages
Claim 3: Trade Libel (for publishing false and defamatory statements on the world wide web to disparage Postle’s personal and professional reputations) for $30m in damages
Claim 4: False Light (for engaging in a campaign to damage his reputation and portray Postle as a bad actor in poker and gambling communities) for $30m in damages
Claim 5: Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage (for interfering with existing prospective business relationships with various casinos) for undetermined damages
Claim 6: Unfair Competition (for maliciously defaming Postle and interfering with prospective economic relationships) for undetermined damages
Claim 7: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (for engaging in campaign of extreme and outrageous conduct to destroy reputation) for undetermined damages
Postle retained the services of attorney Steven T. Lowe to represent him in the initial filing of the case. On January 14, however, Lowe filed a petition with the court to be relieved as Postle’s counsel, explaining that Postle had failed to comply with their agreement and that he hadn’t been able to reach Postle since November 3, nor could he confirm any contact information.
Witteles and Brill made anti-SLAPP filings
The day after Postle’s attorney filed his petition to be released, Todd Witteles took to Twitter to announce some further revelations:
SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suits are retaliatory lawsuits designed to intimidate and silence opponents and critics who have spoken out in the public sphere. Anti-SLAPP laws are designed to provide for early dismissal of these meritless lawsuits.
Using California’s Anti-SLAPP statute as the basis for his arguments, Todd Witteles’ attorney had already filed a motion to strike Postle’s complaints on two grounds:
1. Postle’s complaint and causes of action are invalid because of Witteles’ right to free speech under the US and California Constitutions.
2. Postle cannot establish a probability of winning the case.
On January 13, Brill filed her own similar Anti-SLAPP based motion to strike Postle’s complaint on three grounds:
1. Postle’s complaint referenced conduct protected by Brill’s right of petition or free speech.
2. Brill’s statements about Postle pertained to an issue of public interest.
3. Postle is not likely to prevail on his claims.
Postle seeks further continuances
Postle requested a postponement from the court, saying that he was still interviewing potential attorneys who specialized in defamation issues. The court granted his request, rescheduling the hearing for March 18.
it has been difficult to retain a law firm with sufficient resources and staff to take on this litigation”
Then, on March 9, Postle requested a further 90-180-day postponement, citing jurisdictional limitations for prospective firms who might have taken the case. He claimed that “it has been difficult to retain a law firm with sufficient resources and staff to take on this litigation, resulting in a search far outside of the greater Sacramento area.”
As such, he has still been unable to secure new counsel.
Postle also claimed that on September 27, he received a death threat and now feels like he would need to be represented by someone who had experience with cyber-harassment and a “comprehension of the scope of abuse.”
Postle granted a 33-day continuance
At today’s hearing, the Sacramento Superior Court judge expressed concern about Postle’s diligence as it pertained to finding counsel. When asked directly by the judge when he was likely to have found representation, he responded: “I plan to have someone secured within the next couple of weeks.”
Having initially requested a six-month postponement, Postle asked the judge for a continuance of 90-120 days so that his counsel could have time to familiarize themselves with the details of the case.
Postle had already been given the grace period of an additional 30 days
In response, Eric Bensamochan, on behalf of Todd Witteles, reminded the judge that his client’s motion was filed back in December so Postle has already had ample time to prepare and find counsel. Marc Randazza, on behalf of Veronica Brill, pointed to the legal requirement that motions of this nature be heard within 30 days of being filed and that Postle had already been given the grace period of an additional 30 days when he lost his lawyer.
The judge’s final ruling was to grant Postle a 33-day continuance until April 20. Unfortunately, another adjournment is par for the course in this seemingly eternal drama.