MINNEAPOLIS — Former Prenda Law attorneys John Steele and Paul Hansmeier both faced a magistrate judge in separate arraignment hearings this month.
Steele and Hansmeier each pleaded not guilty to all charges included in the 18-count indictment, stemming from their law firm's porn piracy program.
Charges included conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to perjure and conspiracy to launder money over a three-year period.
The criminal cases against Steele and Hansmeier likely will be on the slow track because of the sheer volume of evidence that needs to be sifted through pretrial litigation.
Federal prosecutors in Hansmeier’s case told a magistrate judge that through its discovery obligations it provided 6 gigabytes of data to his attorney, a federal public defender.
The federal indictment for Steele and Hansmeier said that the lawyers carried out a scheme where they used sham entities to obtain copyrights to porn films and then uploaded those movies to file-sharing websites in order to lure people to download the movies. Then the pair would sue them for copyright infringement.
Steele and Hansmeier are both being tried on the charges at U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. They were arrested in mid December and were allowed to be conditionally released.
Pictured: John Steele