In a follow-up to the publication by online ‘zine RounderLife of the initial legal response by alleged poker cheat Mike Postle, this writer has been able to establish an ongoing link between Postle and RounderLife that had previously only been assumed. The outlet, which has published numerous pro-Postle features, had been previously connected to Postle, yet claims had emerged asserting that Postle was nothing more than a former associate of the operation.
This writer has now obtained documentation showing such claims to be false. Also, the initial legal response published by RounderLife turns out to be a document subtly edited from its original form and is likely not in its entirety the document submitted to other parties in the case.
Postle, who officially represents himself, included his contact information (as required) in his filing, yet neglected to black out certain elements that show both that editing has occurred and that he is still closely associated with RounderLife, up to and including the possibility that Postle is himself the author of the site’s pro-Postle content. (Important author’s note: Since RounderLife has, in the last hour, removed evidence of Postle’s self-doxxing, we will remove it as well. Postle has claimed to have receive death threats. This piece will remove the phone number and address, though responsibility for publishing that rests solely with RounderLife and Postle himself.)
However, here is how the same personal data appears in a separate version of the same filing, as obtained by this writer:
This writer would have blacked out the street address and phone number, had it not already appeared in the version published by RounderLife. However, the changed email — from email@example.com to a more anonymous Yahoo address — is of particular relevance to the site’s supposed honesty and to Postle’s ongoing relation with it, and thus must be reported.
Boilerplate issues linger
However, there’s far more to this story. The edited version as published by RounderLife includes at least one other surreptitious change: Postle, as of now, may be “officially” representing himself, but his filing was possibly created by a Sacramento-area attorney, Owen Hughes. (UPDATE: It appears Hughes may not be a licensed California attorney after all, but is possibly just a client in a separate legal case being handled by William Portanova, who previously “represented” Postle in interactions with regional media. Please see ADDENDUM below. — hh)
Here’s another image grabbed from the edited version of the filing as published by RounderLife:
And here’s the same document from what was likely the original version of this filing as obtained by the writer:
The ninja-edit version as published at RounderLife still retains the now-nonsensical phrase “by and through his undersigned counsel”, as seen on Line 3, which in context now adds confusion to the matter. Also, it is beyond the scope of this piece to wonder if the falsifying of the document represents a possible legal tort, though it does offer one possibility as to why Postle failed to sign the filing. (UPDATE: Due to information obtained following this piece’s initial publication, it is unlikely any such tort occurred. Multiple errors were instead made within both versions of Postle’s filing, but appear to have been forwarded to RounderLife for publication.)
And, yet, this tale still isn’t done. Curious about who Owen Hughes is, and how he came to be involved in this matter? If Hughes is another attorney, then it is very likely that Postle was referred to Hughes by Wiliam Portanova, the Sacramento-area criminal defense attorney previously associated with Postle.
However: Of interest is that Portanova represents this “Owen Hughes” in an ongoing case, United States of America v. Hughes ( 2:20-cv-00321), in which Hughes was accused of violating the False Claims Act. Also, the Postle filing has borrowed significant swaths of legal boilerplate verbatim from Portanova’s initial legal defense of Hughes, used here in crafting Postle’s response. What remains unclear is whether this Owen Hughes could be one of several “Owen Hughes”-named attorneys scattered across the US who could have helped craft the document, or whether Hughes is just another Portanova client with no other connection to the Postle matter. (This reopened question also has nothing to do with the subtle doctoring of the response as published by RounderLife. UPDATE: The new information referenced above appears to make clear that the filing was re-edited not by RounderLife, but by Sacramento attorney Portanova or an associate thereof.)
If in doubt about the boilerplate issue, check out some sample paragraphs. From the arguments section of the Hughes case:
And now, from the Postle filing:
That’s some fancy lawyerin’. Or maybe not so much.
ADDENDUM: As noted above, it is possible that Sacramento attorney William Portanova is himself responsible for the creation of Postle’s defense filing. Here are the details as I’ve just posted on Twitter:
Someone pointed out that Owen Hughes might not be a licensed California attorney. On rethink, this might be a possibility, but then it means that it was William Portanova (or an associate) who crafted Postle’s response. 1/n
Portanova bills himself as a criminal defense attorney and not too long ago stated that he was -not- representing Postle in the civil case. 2/n
That said, I would expect Portanova to reemerge in the matter if the State of California decided to press criminal charges against Postle. Meanwhile, I’m going to make an update to the KAP story reflecting this possibility. 3/3
UPDATE: An important follow-up to this piece is in the works. The update is available here.