So the great affair is over but whoever would have guessed
it would leave us all so vacant and so deeply unimpressed
It's like our visit to the moon or to that other star
I guess you go for nothing if you really want to go that far.
~ Leonard Cohen ("Death of a Ladies' Man," from the album of the same title, 1977)
"I will not start the fight, but I will finish it!"
~ Leonard Coldwell, everywhere on the Interwebz, constantly
I published a very abbreviated version of this post -- just the above graphic, no text -- when I first received the news on May 19, via email and supporting PDF, that not-doctor Leonard Coldwell, ex-b.f.f. of imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, had, through his attorneys, voluntarily dismissed his civil defamation case against me (and several other defendants). [Case number 15-CVS-2791, filed in the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division, Guilford County, North Carolina]
For more details about this suit, see this post (under "Cosmic Connie and the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad lawsuit").
On the following day I temporarily removed the present post for a couple of reasons, though not before receiving a comment suggesting that the picture of the dismissal was fake (see comments). I assure you it is real. Okay, so I did embellish it with a picture frame and Lady Justice, but the document itself is real. I have since received a print copy of said document in the mail, unframed and un-embellished, directly from the lawyer's office. But you don't have to take my word for it, Florian (and any of you other doubters). If you want to verify its reality for yourself, feel free to contact the attorney in question, William F. May of the Greensboro, North Carolina law firm Culbertson & Associates (also known on some Google sites as May & Culbertson Attorneys at Law), whose contact information is on the Notice of Voluntary Dismissal document. Or contact Mr. Coldwell himself, if he hasn't blocked you.
Make no mistake, though: I am not gloating about this. I do not feel that I have "won," mainly because, due to my inability to afford a lawyer and my reluctance to go forth without one, I never really got into the fray. All I did was file a couple of motions on a timely basis, pro se. I first filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Ignoring that motion, the Plaintiff's attorney apparently tried to plunge ahead into discovery -- evidently not giving a flip that discovery works both ways and that his client would have shriveled under real discovery. He even subpoenaed Google for my personal account information, and I was obliged to file a motion to stay discovery pending resolution of the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (That second motion did manage to get Google's legal department off my back -- not that they were ever really on my back, because Google doesn't even necessarily respond to subpoenas, of which it receives thousands per year. Here is more information about that subject.)
However, my motions were never calendared (by me), and consequently were never heard or ruled on (by the Court), and the Plaintiff's voluntary dismissal makes them moot. The attorney, when I asked him for a reason for the voluntary dismissal of Leonard Coldwell's defamation suit against Schmidt et al., simply responded that a "non-waivable conflict of interest" had "developed" between the Plaintiff and the law firm, and that the firm of Culbertson & Associates will not be representing Mr. Coldwell with regard to any matter going forward. Make of that what you will. I did not and will not ask Mr. May for details.
But I am not complacent. While it may seem like good news, the truth is that I won nothing. And "without prejudice" means, of course, that Coldwell is perfectly free to turn around and file another sham lawsuit, which I will also be obligated to deal with. On the other hand, neither did Coldwell win anything, except some more legal bills and, possibly, more fodder for lies or distortions, should he foolishly choose to exploit this case the way he did his sham suit last year against Jason Jones (Salty Droid) and Omri Shabat (Glancingweb), whom the suit mistakenly named as being one and the same person. (In fact, Coldwell was exploiting the failed Droid/Glancingweb case even in the service of bragging about this 2015 North Carolina case, falsely stating on Facebook that Jason had been hiding from service for well over a year. Nothing could be further from the truth.)
Early in this case, Coldwell boasted about it several times on Facebook. Most of the boasts were soon taken down; I speculate though do not know for sure that this was at the advice of his lawyers. But the bragging lives on, in screen shots. Here are two that were up briefly -- posted on February 6, 2015 -- but were soon taken down:
The first picture, which contains a mug of poor beat-up Bernie O'Mahony of GINtruth.com, is particularly disingenuous, not only because of the way that Coldwell had previously misappropriated and publicly lied about that picture in order to falsely and publicly portray Bernie as a child rapist, but also because Bernie was never part of this North Carolina case at all, as he explained in a recent post. In fact despite numerous threats against Bernie, Coldwell has never sued him and more than likely never will, due to a little thing called jurisdiction. When he's not setting Europe on fire with spurious "'Dr.' C. book tours", Coldwell is in the U.S. for the most part (hiding out in one or both of the Carolinas) -- while Bernie lives in Japan, happily, as he has been doing since 1999, contrary to Coldwell's claims that Bernie is "hiding out" in the Land of the Rising Sun. I am pretty certain, however, that if Bernie were in the U.S. he would find a way to sue Coldwell for those outrageous false claims about child rape.
The second picture, the one with the tiger and the threatening "RUN BITCH" watermark, was posted to Coldwell's buddy Abe Husein's page under Coldwell's former alias "Rudi Kauder." Coldwell has written other ridiculous public posts under that name and once he even sent me a personal threat via Facebook using the same alias. "Rudi's" account has since been deleted.
In addition to the general boasts about the lawsuit, Coldwell spewed several profoundly absurd posts specifically about Jason on Facebook, e.g., the usual nonsense about Jason being "in hiding," and other even wilder and crazier false claims about him. I'll leave it to Jason to share those if he wishes to do so.
While the above two Facebook posts are gone, this one, from March 13, 2015, still exists as of May 31, 2015. You can see how Lenny's little group of sycophants is cheering him on (as always, click on pic to enlarge):
And lest you have any doubt that Coldwell was talking about Jason and me in the above, there's this, also from the same day and purportedly written by Coldwell's half-brother Jens Wilhelm Anskohl, whose fake name Coldwell never can seem to spell the same way consistently (Nicholas? Nicolas? Nicky? Nicki?). (Jens, or Nicholas, or Nicky, or Nicki, or whatever you want to call him, is a good-looking ladies' man (reportedly) who, I think, lives in Germany and Las Vegas. Do you really believe he spends his time writing posts on Lenny's Facebook page? Me neither.) Anyway, this post also disappeared soon after its appearance; either Abe wiped it away or Lenny did so himself.
On a video posted on April 1 (an appropriate day to be sure), Coldwell can be heard telling conspiracy-fringe radio host Jeff Rense about arrest warrants against un-named perps who were supposedly defaming Lenny, and he mentions having spent... well, I can't quite understand him, but it sounds like he's either saying he spent $6,000.00 or $106,000.00 on legal fees last year in order to finally make these arrests happen. It starts at about 36:00, but if you have some time to waste you really should listen to the whole hilarious thing.
Anyway, to be clear: The case that has just been dismissed was a civil case, not a criminal case. Coldwell never filed any criminal case against Salty and me and the other defendants -- not now and not in the past (even though he has been boasting for years that civil and criminal actions against Salty, me, and various other bloggers are in process). So either Coldwell was flat-out lying about that criminal litigation and those arrest warrants, or, perhaps inspired by false hope imparted to him by his "legal team," he was counting his chickens before they hatched, or even before he had a hen to lay the eggs. Granted, there were indications -- things going on in the background that I'm not going to write about yet -- that Coldwell and his lawyers were trying to trump up some sort of wacky criminal case, but that never happened. And Coldwell's lawyer Mr. May assured me that new pleadings his firm had been working on were also rendered moot by the voluntary dismissal of Case Number 15-CVS-2791.
Although I did not discuss arrest warrants with Mr. May, I can assure you that there never were any arrest warrants for any of the defendants in the case that Mr. May was involved in and that Coldwell had been boasting about on Facebook -- so, again, that clearly seems like a deliberate lie from Coldwell. But maybe you are in Lenny's inner circle and you know something I don't. Fine. If you can present me with evidence that there is or ever was a warrant out for my arrest, or for Jason Michael Jones, or for anyone involved with Rational Wiki (the other main defendant), I will be glad to publish it. For now, I think it is safe to assume that once again Leonard Coldwell was lying about arrest warrants being issued for "defaming" him. Now, that's a big surprise.
Look, I know that many of you are probably tired of reading about this. And indeed, I have so many other things to write about on this blog besides Leonard Coldwell. Heck, even Google -- the search algorithms, not their legal department -- wants to steer me away from Leonard Coldwell and towards a much more popular, much more successful, and much more frequently Googled Leonard C, Leonard Cohen. Google is always trying to complete my search term for me when I'm typing, whether I'm signed in or not, and Google apparently likes Cohen a lot better than Coldwell. Me too.
But I stand by every word I've written about Leonard Coldwell and will continue to do so until and unless I receive credible information that will lead me to modify or retract any of the content. On my numerous posts about Coldwell (as on all of my posts), I have provided abundant screen shots and/or links that you can easily follow yourself and make up your own mind about the subject.
What I am trying to say is that I don't want to bore you any more than necessary -- or any more than I already have -- with this particular subject.
But I suspect this story isn't really over, and as I said, I am not complacent. None of us should ever be complacent where potential SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) actions are concerned. Equally as important, we should never be complacent about the continual abuse of our legal system by public figures such as Leonard Coldwell who file frivolous lawsuits to bully and try to intimidate writers... just because they can. Jason Jones said it quite well in last year's memorandum in support of his motion to sanction Coldwell and his then-lawyer, Dennis J. Kellogg of Chicago:
The legal system should not be a weapon wielded by wrongdoers in the face of well-meaning whistle-blowers, stifling important discussion about matters of public concern, though too often, that is exactly how our system is used. There can be few better examples of suits interposed for improper purposes than the present frivolous and unreasonable Complaint brought by Plaintiff...If you haven't read Jason's entire motion, I urge you to do so. It's worthwhile not only for the arguments, backed by case law, but also for the exhibits, which clearly display Coldwell's primary objective of using litigation as a bullying tool. (Coldwell even refers to me in some of those exhibits, e.g., as Jason's "playmate" or simply "the slut.") Despite Coldwell's crowing about the case, Leonard Coldwell's attorney Dennis J. Kellogg filed a motion to withdraw from the case ("for professional reasons") less than three weeks after it was filed, and that motion was granted on March 17, 2014. Coldwell spun that on social media as his having learned that the case was actually a Federal criminal case and therefore he was hiring new lawyers to prosecute it. He also lied that Jason was scared and hiding from him because of the lawsuits, making it impossible to properly serve Jason. And as indicated above, Coldwell continued his lie about Jason being a fugitive from justice when he (Coldwell) was spinning tales about the now-dismissed North Carolina case 15-CVS-2791. His attorney for the North Carolina case apparently even bought that lie for a while, or pretended he did, as Jason wrote about on his February 19, 2015 blog post.
...Much judicial ink is spilled opining about the possible "chilling effect" that a given piece of legislation, or legal precedent, might have on the marketplace of ideas. But as the speech function of the fourth estate has become increasingly diffuse, with modern technologies removing most of the traditional barriers to publishing and public participation, the vanguard in the fight for the free exchange of ideas has moved from the newsroom to the living room. It is the constant threat of frivolous, and prohibitively expensive, litigation that is of principal concern for the individual citizen journalist without access to media lawyer representation.
To my knowledge Jason did not follow up on his 2014 motion to sanction Leonard Coldwell and attorney Dennis J. Kellogg, even though legally he could have. This is probably because Judge Lynn M. Egan's dismissal of the case "for want of prosecution" rendered it moot. "For want of prosecution" basically means that nobody -- neither Coldwell the Plaintiff, nor an attorney appearing on his behalf -- even bothered to show up for the hearing that had been scheduled by the Court. And Jason, having been a resident of Ohio for more than a year by that time, didn't want to have to keep going back to Chicago to attend hearings, which he would have had to do had he pursued the sanctions motion. He has a life, after all. But he did file the motion to sanction Leonard Coldwell and Dennis J. Kellogg in the Court, and it is on public record, so Coldwell's recent claim that Jason was lying about the sanction motion is inaccurate.
At any rate, I just thought I should let you know, in case you were wondering, that yet another lawsuit that Lenny was bragging about has ended -- as another Lenny might put it -- on a deeply unimpressive note.
PS ~ You can view the original Complaint and the Notice of Voluntary Dismissal here.