Todd Witteles to File Frivolous-Lawsuit Claim in Mike Postle Libel Case

1 year ago
Todd Witteles to File Frivolous-Lawsuit Claim in Mike Postle Libel Case
14 Dec

Todd Witteles, the owner of the PokerFraudAlert poker forum, has announced that his attorney will file an “anti-SLAPP” motion declaring the libel lawsuit filed by alleged poker cheater Mike Postle against Witteles and 11 other defendants is frivolous and a violation of Witteles’ free-speech rights.

Witteles, a one-time WSOP bracelet winner and the owner or co-owner of multiple poker-discussion sites for well over a decade, was one of numerous well known poker names to offer opinions regarding Postle’s guilt or innocence. Such discussion regarding Postle’s win rates -- deemed highly improbable to most onlookers -- has flooded the poker world.

WItteles’ announcement via Twitter came shortly after news emerged that Postle’s attorney in the $330 million lawsuit targeting entities such as ESPN and PokerNews had filed a motion to be removed from the case. If granted, the motion would leave Postle needing to find new representation or take other options in the case.

Witteles’ attorney, Eric Bensamochan, filed the anti-SLAPP motion on December 8, with a hearing on the motion scheduled for February 10, 2021. The motion asserts that Postle’s lawsuit was brought “primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances.” A “SLAPP” lawsuit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) often targets deep-pocketed defendants or anyone who dares to comment publicly on topics of interest, such as the Postle controversy.

Postle’s libel lawsuit, filed in October, named mostly high-profile media outlets and appeared linked to an announced film documentary purporting to tell his side of the alleged cheating scandal. However, news of the departure of Postle’s attorney may impact those plans. Postle’s lawyer declared that Postle broke the attorney-client agreement and has otherwise stopped communicating with his attorney. According to Witteles, none of the 12 defendants have even been served notice of the libel lawsuit.

Witteles’ anti-SLAPP motion offers several basic points, including that Postle qualifies as a “public figure” (certainly within the poker world), and is thus not afforded widespread legal protection against libel or defamation. The upcoming motion also notes that Witteles made only three specific statements of opinion upon which Postle based his libel claims, and that not only Witteles’ PokerFraudAlert forum, but also the internet in general, are protected public forums regarding free speech.

If successful, the anti-SLAPP motion would allow WItteles to recover legal expenses from Postle. It concludes with a broad declaration:

“It is apparent that [Postle] filed this meritless lawsuit in an attempt to better his own public image, with full disregard for the rights of Witteles. This is the exact situation the anti-SLAPP legislation was designed for. The Court should grant this special motion to strike based on Witteles’ well-founded right to free speech, and in the interests of equity and justice.”

If you missed anything connected to the case over the past year, our extensive coverage of the Postlegate scandal can be viewed below:

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Veteran poker and gambling writer/editor Haley Hintze has provided content throughout the gambling world for nearly 20 years. Widely known for her work on online poker's insider-cheating scandals in the late 2000s, she's been a two-time Global Poker Awards finalist and a prior finalist for Women in ...Read more


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