Accused poker cheat Mike Postle has received an extension from a California Superior Court judge as he continues to battle attempts to pay roughly $55,000 in court costs associated with his failed $330 million libel suit targeting 12 separate defendants.
Postle was forced to drop his case after his original lawyer quit and he couldn’t find replacement counsel. Judge Shama L. Mesiwala ruled earlier this year that Postle owed former defendants Veronica Brill and Todd Witteles more than $27,000 each in legal fees. Postle, however, allegedly ignored subsequent requests for payment. Lawyers for Brill and Witteles then filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Postle last month. The filing is the first step in identifying and seizing any of Postle’s assets to pay the judgments.
Postle faced an August 17 deadline to oppose the petition. On August 13, Postle petitioned the presiding U.S. bankruptcy court for more time. In the filing, obtained by Poker.org, Postle repeatedly attacks Brill’s attorney, Marc Randazza, while also claiming Postle never received timely notification of the involuntary-bankruptcy petition.
Bad blood between Postle and Randazza
In defending himself against the bankruptcy filing, Postle declared that the petition by Randazza and Witteles’ attorney, Eric Bensamochan, was “punitive, made in bad faith, and filed out of spite.” Bensamochan, though, is mentioned nowhere in Postle’s brief. Instead, Postle declared that the filing was driven by enmity between Randazza and a former quasi-legal aide to Postle, Alexandrea Merrell.
Merrell and Randazza also have previous bad history. Merrell represents the HONR Network, a group formed to combat the disinformation and false conspiracies of right-wing pundit Alex Jones, who claimed repeatedly that the Sandy Hook (CT) massacre never occurred. Randazza has defended Jones on 1st Amendment grounds.
That pre-existing enmity between Merrell and Randazza triggered Merrell’s discovery of Postle’s defamation lawsuit. She then aided Postle’s ultimately unsuccessful search for replacement counsel. When that fell through, Postle had little choice but to drop his case. By dropping the lawsuit, Postle was left liable for Brill’s and Witteles’s expenses under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.
‘Bizarre’ Postle filing
Witteles’s attorney, Bensamochan, termed Postle’s filing “bizarre” in a statement to Poker.org. Bensamochan added, “Mr. Postle seems to convolute what he perceives as mistreatment by Mr. Randazza and the fact that he filed a frivolous lawsuit, and, as a result, was ordered to pay both Mr. Witteles’ attorney fees and Ms. Brill’s. I am eager to see him file his schedules and fully disclose all of his debts and assets.” Bensamochan confirmed that Postle received the extension until mid-September.
Postle declared he may have 12 creditors, including (as reported separately) at least two credit-card companies. Postle also claims that since the poker community raised at least $27,000 for Brill’s defense, Randazza has been paid and that he shouldn’t be ordered to pay.
Postle then wrote, “Mr. Randazza is aware that I have no assets. I was a professional poker player, unable to work for the past year and a half after his client [Brill] defamed me and claimed that I was a poker cheat. His client also brought a case against me, which was dismissed. But his client continued (and continues) to defame and harass me. …”
Postle also claimed that Randazza’s continued contacts are “personal” and beyond the scope of the case. Randazza is allegedly “being reviewed” in another court for threatening Postle with a separate libel action. That involved earlier heated exchanges between Merrell and Randazza. Randazza has admitted to some of the language used but vehemently denied using certain vulgar and sexist terms to describe Merrell, prompting his libel threat against Postle.
Featured image source: YouTube/Doug Polk