lundi 24 février 2014

Homophobic blogger Douglas Handshoe: "Bashing can be beautiful for its own sake."

Doug K. Handshoe, copyright violator 
Douglas K. Handshoe, is a Mississippi accountant and blogger who has targeted Charles Leary, Vaughn Perret, and their Nova Scotia business Trout Point Lodge for years. He has said he's "not homophobic at all."

On Friday, February 14, 2014, Justice Kevin Coady of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Canada, released his decision on Trout Point Lodge et. al. versus Douglas Handshoe. The Nova Scotia Courts then published the eighteen pages of well-articulated reasons at http://www.courts.ns.ca/decisions_recent/documents/2014nssc62.pdf. The judge summarized some of Douglas' publications about his legal opponents:
Handshoe seems to have completely embraced his fervent anti-gay sentiments, and put out on Twitter last month the statement that "bashing can be beautiful for its own sake" while discussing gay donors backing of Mississippi political candidates.
Indeed, even the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals referred to Handshoe's anti-gay invectives as "grotesque" and "reprehensible."

Back in April of last year, Doug wrote about how he's actually the victim of "harassment" from Canada. Huh? He also made sure everyone knew that he would teach those Nova Scotia judges a thing or two, because they've been "beclowned."
I guess you did some educating, right Doug? An additional $390,000 worth! You really taught those Canadian judges a lesson!

Looking at the Valentine's Day decision, it seems like Mr. Handshoe dealt with more than one Nova Scotia judge, and that he actually appeared and defended. No technical default this time. Oh yeah, and now Douglas is on the line for infringing copyright, not just defamation. Unless something has suddenly changed, the SPEECH Act doesn't block copyright judgments, Mr. Doug. In fact, looks like Canada-U.S. treaties mean that each country's copyrights get national treatment. Uh oh.

Trout Point Lodge pointed out on its blog that one of the sponsors of the SPEECH Act, U.S. Senator Leahy, has written about how important copyright is to "free speech." Imagine that. In a speech to the Media Institute, Leahy said:

Our Constitution is the source of another example – the protection of intellectual property.  The only place in the Constitution as initially ratified that specifically mentions a “right” is in the intellectual property clause, which authorizes Congress to provide authors with the exclusive right to their works. 
Copyright protection is not inconsistent with free speech.  It actively advances the goals of the First Amendment by supplying the economic incentive to create and disseminate ideas.  Justice O’Connor famously wrote that copyright law is the very “engine of free expression."
The opposite is also true.  Allowing unfettered theft of copyrighted works, whether online or in the physical world, is a disincentive to speech.  This is most often thought of as a problem for the music or movie industries.  But the news organizations represented here also know that if their work cannot be protected and monetized, they have to cut reporters and editors, and our democracy suffers from fewer sources of quality news reporting and ideas as a result. 
I will continue to promote the Internet but also want to protect the rights of creators in their works, so that there is more expression available for all of us to consider and consume.  This protection for copyrighted works must exist in both the physical and the digital worlds.






Other voices on Douglas K. Handshoe of Mississippi

  • "what a judge calls an “outrageous and highly reprehensible” homophobic Internet smear campaign from a Mississippi blogger." Toronto Star
  • "online attacks are relentless, nasty and homophobic" MSN Canada News 
  •  "A Mississippi blogger owes the owners of a Nova Scotia fishing lodge almost a million dollars after targeting them online in a homophobic smear campaign that tied them inexplicably to a corruption scandal." Daily Brew, Yahoo! Canada News
  • "the principals behind Trout Point Lodge in Yarmouth County have won a defamation case against an anti-homosexual blogger in Mississippi involved in “a misguided attempt to destroy” the businessmen and their East Kemptville inn." Halifax Chronicle-Herald
  • "reprehensible homophobic comments" "grotesque" Judge Walker-Elrod, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal
Examples of hate speech published by Douglas Handshoe on Slabbed.

vendredi 24 janvier 2014

SLAPP? Douglas Handshoe, Anne Marie Vandenweghe et. al. apparently unsuccessful in Louisiana court

Real Malice received an interesting email from an anonymous source.

Apparently the legal efforts of Douglas Handshoe, Anne Marie Vandenweghe aka Boudreaux, and others to have the Louisiana Civil District Court strike down the Daniel Abel defamation lawsuit against them did not work so well. Reports indicate Chief Judge Piper Griffin said that the Abel lawsuit was not a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation aka SLAPP. So much for SLAPP Happy Nut Jobs. She also reportedly denied the Vandenweghe claim of failure to state a claim and lack of personal jurisdiction. Real Malice cannot wait to see that Court Order. If true, this mean mandatory fees for Mr. Abel.

Not sure of all the details yet or when this happened. More information to come . . .  Why has Mr. Handshoe not mentioned this outcome on Slabbed, especially given his recent comments about the alleged bias of federal judge Suzie Morgan?

Anyone else have any details?

Douglas K. Handshoe . . . Copyright Troll

Douglas Handshoe Copyright Troll
It is amazing what one finds searching the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. Douglas Handshoe, CPA and homophobic blogger, who has hurled allegations of copyright trolling at others across the Internet for years, has himself issued a copyright takedown notice to Google concerning this very blog.

Hypocrite.

Take a look http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512c/notice.cgi?NoticeID=986375.

The DMCA Take Down Notice concerns the photo seen here to the left. Unfortunately for Doug, he does not own the copyright to that photograph, which reporter Val Bracey published on archive.org under a Public Domain Creative Commons license. See https://archive.org/details/JeffersonParishSteveTheriotVersusNola.comAnonymousCommenters

In yet Mr. Handshoe swears under penalty of perjury that this photograph is his. Isn't that a crime? You decide. http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01760.htm

What is the matter Mr. Doug? Don't like seeing your picture on a blog like this?

DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google

May 24, 2013
 
Sender Information:
Douglas K. Handshoe, Slabbed New Media, LLC
Sent by: [Private]
Slabbed New Media, LLC
US
Recipient Information:
[Private]
Google, Inc. [Blogger]
Mountain View, CA, 94043, USA

Sent via: online form: Form
Re: Infringement Notification via Blogger Complaint
Google Form: copyright DMCA Complaint of alleged copyright infringement
1. Complainant's Information
Name:
Company name: Slabbed New Media, LLC
Full legal name of the copyright holder: Douglas K. Handshoe, Slabbed New Media, LLC
Country of residence: US
2. Your copyrighted work
Location of copyrighted work (where your authorized work is located):
My photograph which appeared on copyrighted
newscast, which I republished with permission on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYFMWlK_ymU
Description of the copyrighted work:
My photograph which appears in the
copyrighted video shown on the following website as follows:
3. Allegedly Infringing Material:
URL of the allegedly infringing material in our search results:
(1.)
http://real-malice.blogspot.com/2013/05/breaking-news-regarding-famed-slabbed.html
(2.)
http://real-malice.blogspot.com/2013/03/good-n-handy-doug-handshoe-coverup-fred.html
(3.)
http://real-malice.blogspot.com/2013/03/bloggers-lies-betrayed-no-more-hands-to.html
(4.)
http://real-malice.blogspot.com/2013/03/federal-court-says-no-to-international.html
Sworn Statements
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. [checked]
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. [checked]
Signed on this date of:

Signature
[Private]

dimanche 9 juin 2013

Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal decides against Handshoe to expand the record: Another defeat for the fabled Slabbed legal team

Perusing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system turned up that on May 31, 2013, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, now considering a case of first impression under the federal SPEECH Act in enforcing a $427,000 Canadian defamation judgment against Douglas Handshoe, has granted the Plaintiffs' motion to expand the record on appeal, a remarkable move.

 
The significance of this Order lies in the fact that the new materials now allowed into the evidentiary record on appeal include a total retraction of false allegations appearing in the Concrete Busters lawsuit against River Birch Landfill (now dismissed in its entirety, with prejudice) that Trout Point Lodge was a shell company used in criminal racketeering. Those allegations were dismissed voluntarily, and the Smith & Fawer law firm representing Concrete Busters plaintiffs identified Douglas Handshoe's Slabbed blog as their sole source. The lower court referenced that Concrete Busters lawsuit in its decision, but the dismissal came well after it made its SPEECH Act decision in favor of Handshoe.

Also now in the record is a document filed in the district court by Chief Judge Louis Guirola that makes allegations of possible fraud against Handshoe and his lawyer Bobby Truitt. The lawyer for Trout Point Lodge, Vaughn Perret, and Charles Leary told the 5th Circuit that he can't vouch for or deny those allegations made by attorney Daniel Abel, but the May 31 Order makes it clear that the Court of Appeal will now take up evidence that could be very damaging to Handshoe's case.  

That information about IP addresses is relevant because it would mean that Handshoe knew the district court was looking at Slabbed while deliberating on his $427,000 fate. If intentional acts were done to influence the court, including inserting allegations into the Concrete Busters suit, there could be consequences well beyond loosing the appeal in the Fifth Circuit. If the case is returned to Judge Guirola, it's an open question as to what he would do about the fraud allegation.
Finally, as the Order states, Jack "Bobby" Truitt, Handshoe's lawyer, never filed a response to the motion, even though the Court of Appeal set a deadline for doing so. That's one famed legal team, for sure. Bon sang!

It makes one wonder if Mr. Doug has any legal team left after his disastrous showing in Judge Susie Morgan's courtroom, his loss on attorney's fees & an appeal bond, and now this decision . . . 



lundi 20 mai 2013

BREAKING NEWS on the "famed" Slabbed legal team: Blogger Handshoe's Baldwin Haspel legal team loses on motions to sanction the attorney who is suing Handshoe for defamation, more

On May 9, 2013, Doug Handshoe, CPA, was openly gleeful that federal judge Susie Morgan had issued an Order telling attorney Daniel Abel to show cause why he had issued a subpoena to Jefferson Parish regarding former Assistant Parish Attorney Anne-Marie Vandenweghe's blogging activities. Handshoe even put up a countdown clock on Slabbed, leading to the minute the hearing was scheduled to begin.

Abel was suing Handshoe and Vandenweghe for defamation in federal court. "We’re going for his license to practice in federal courts as Danny Abel has a history, habit and pattern of disobeying the Louisiana and Federal Courts," stated Handshoe. Handshoe was defended in the lawsuit by New Orleans' own Baldwin Haspel, a firm that may now be wondering what they've gotten themselves into with Handshoe, an adjudicated defamer and inveterate blogger, who will even openly and notoriously break federal court rules to continue blogging and tweeting.

A conspiracy theorist, Handshoe has for years accused Abel and his two business associates of involvement in federal crimes related to the criminal investigation, indictment, and guilty plea of former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard. All three men are gay. Broussard, in fact, was never indicted or sentenced for any crimes relating to Abel, his partners, or their businesses, including Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia. Abel is self-represented. Handshoe has repeatedly accused the trio of being members of organized crime, racketeering, and money laundering, among many other unfounded allegations. No one except Handshoe and Vandenweghe have made such claims, and various publications on Slabbed are fervently anti-gay and homophobic.

Judge Morgan had for months not acted on Abel's motion to remand the case to Louisiana state court after Vandenweghe revealed in her first court filing that she now resided in Harahan, Louisiana not Pass Christian, Mississippi. In the mean time, both Vandenweghe and Handshoe tried their best to have the case against them dismissed, revealing their legal strategies in extensive court filings. Last week, Judge Morgan suddenly indefinitely cancelled oral argument scheduled for Handshoe's attorneys, and denied his attempt at getting sanctions against sole practitioner Abel. That was defeat number one for well-reputed firm Baldwin Haspel, followed by a reprimand from the judge after she found out that Handshoe was tweeting and emailing from inside the courtroom during oral argument, which is against the law. He was seated at counsel's table next to his Baldwin Haspel attorneys while breaking the law. Morgan actually reconvened the hearing to advise Handshoe and his attorneys about Handshoe's rule-breaking conduct, apparently after her staff discovered the online publications.


Judge Morgan had allowed Abel to voluntarily dismiss the federal lawsuit (which had been necessitated by Vandenweghe and Handshoe both living in Mississippi) without prejudice, which meant he is free to file against them anew in Louisiana state court. Abel in fact has told the federal court he plans to sue in state court soon. 

Balwin Haspel associates Scott Sternberg and Brodie Glenn then tried to get attorney's fees from Abel by court order, even going to the extent of questioning the judge's prior ruling regarding §1927 sanctions and her decision that Abel could dismiss voluntarily without prejudice. Sternberg is an avid defender of blogger rights and access to public records, however defamation--like publicly accusing people of major crimes and corruption without any proof--is not free speech under Louisiana or United States law. The Baldwin Haspel attorneys claim that Handshoe's allegations were simply opinion or hyperbole, however anyone vaguely familiar with Slabbed would find such a suggestion laughable. Handshoe also claims to be a journalist, and points to coverage of his blog by the Times-Piacyune web site nola.com as proof.

Morgan's decision is legally significant because it means that a special motion to strike under Louisiana's anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) rules does not amount to a motion for summary judgment, at least under federal court rules. To win on such an anti-SLAPP motion, Handshoe would have had to show how Abel's private business was somehow a matter of public interest, and it cannot be so just because Handshoe said it was on Slabbed. 

It is notably ironic that both Handshoe as represented by Baldwin Haspel attorney Sternberg and a self-represented Vandenweghe were opposing Abel's attempts to get at Jefferson Parish public records, as both are prior users of public records laws and Vandenweghe was the Assistant Parish Attorney in charge of public record requests while the Broussard criminal investigation was underway by both journalists and prosecutors. Sternberg has represented two student newspaper editors in cases involving Louisiana public records laws, at Tulane and Louisiana State University.

Judge Morgan today denied Handhshoe and Vandenwege's motions for attorney's fees, blow number three for the New Orleans law firm. It's an open question as to whether Handshoe has paid the firm a cent, as the Baldwin Haspel attorneys seemed desperate to get a fee award, filing multiple briefs to Judge Morgan. The firms advertises on Slabbed's front page.

This setback echoes Handshoe's defeat in Mississippi federal court in February, where Judge Guirola denied he and his attorney Bobby Truitt's attempt to get attorney's fees in another court case where Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret were seeking to enforce a $425,000 Canadian defamation judgment against Handshoe. The federal judge unequivocally denied the motion, and said there was no suggestion that Leary & Perret's appeal to the Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeal was frivolous.  That appeal is pending.

Final page of Judge Morgan's Order stating that Handshoe's legal argument was "inapposite"
In today's opinion, Judge Morgan noted that Handshoe filed a special motion to strike Abel's lawsuit only after Baldwin Haspel opposed the motion to move the lawsuit to state court, and refused to countenance their complaints that Abel had acted in some vexatious manner. Abel had simply amended his lawsuit once to add new allegedly defamatory statements Vandenweghe and Handshoe had allegedly published on Slabbed. He also filed a brief in Morgan's court making a strong argument unmasking Vandenweghe's multiple blogging personalities, a technique known as "sock puppetry." Interim Jefferson Parish President Steve Theriot had publicly accused Vandenweghe of blogging while a Parish employee and on Parish time. Theriot and Jefferson Parish then sued in defamation trying to get information on anonymous online identities publishing on nola.com and Slabbed. Abel has submitted Public Record Requests to Jefferson Parish relating to Vandenweghe's online activities and that prior lawsuit, which was later withdrawn. Abel stated in court filings that Jefferson Parish had indicated to him that it has documents and records responsive to his inquiries about Vandenweghe.

Abel's analysis of writings on Slabbed is similar to what was done to unmask federal prosecutors Salvadore Perricone and Jan Maselli-Mann as anonymous bloggers, a scandal still reverberating through the New Orleans U.S. Attorney's Office. The unmasking was done by Frederick Heebe, co-owner of the River Birch Landfill, and his legal team. Vandenweghe attended law school with Maselli-Mann and her former boss U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who resigned amidst the uproar. More recently, attorneys for Waste Remediation of Plaquemines and Concrete Busters of Louisiana retracted and then dismissed allegations they had picked up from Slabbed that implicated Abel, Leary, and Perret's companies in a criminal racketeering conspiracy with Aaron Broussard and Frederick Heebe. The law firm Smith & Fawer laid blame for such false allegations squarely on Handshoe's shoulders.

The U.S. Attorney's Office called off all criminal investigation involving the River Birch Landfill contract in an unprecedented move after Perricone, Maselli-Mann, and Letten's resignations citing "evidentiary concerns." Smith & Fawer has now just dismissed with prejudice the entirety of their lawsuit on behalf of the two competing waste companies, citing the Letten's U.S. Attorney's Office as having "mislead" them with regards to its investigation. 

Today, Judge Morgan termed Baldwin Haspel's legal argument in Abel's case as "inapposite," meaning out of place or inappropriate.

Notably, Handshoe has been completely silent about his losses in Judge Morgan's courtroom, despite his glee in publishing prognostications about Abel's fate earlier in the month. 

Coming soon, more on Handshoe's questionable assertions made to courts in both the United States and Nova Scotia, where he is again being sued in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for copyright violations. 

samedi 20 avril 2013

Attorneys for Concrete Busters amend lawsuit, dismiss allegations against Trout Point Lodge, others

Yesterday, the Smith & Fawer law firm amended its complaint on behalf of Concrete Busters of Louisiana and Waste Remediation of Plaquemines against Frederick Heebe, River Birch Landfill, and others, according to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system of the federal courts. This follows a bizarre move a couple of weeks ago when the law firm sent out a letter retracting allegations of involvement in criminal racketeering they had made against Trout Point Lodge and Cerro Coyote, stating that their information had come from Doug Handshoe's blog Slabbed, and was actually not true. Trout Point and Cerro Coyote--which operate small hotels and vacation properties--are owned by longtime business partners Daniel Abel, Charles Leary, and Vaughn Perret, who during the 1990s owned Chicory Farm and the Chicory Farm Cafe in Louisiana.

This can't be good news for homophobic blogger Handshoe, who is being sued by attorney Abel for defamation, including over allegations of involvement in organized crime first made by Handshoe and then repeated in the Concrete Busters lawsuit. Handshoe was also found liable for $427,000 in defamation damages and costs by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in February of 2012. Enforcement of that judgment in favor of Trout Point, Leary, and Perret is currently before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans.

Trout Point and its chef/proprietors lost a summary judgment proceeding against Handshoe in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi last December. The about-face by Smith & Fawer and its clients is significant because in that decision, the federal court took judicial notice of the Concrete Busters lawsuit's allegations. The court also stated that former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard was a defendant in that Concrete Busters complaint, which was in fact not true, and that Mr. Abel was Broussard's law partner, which Abel has also sworn in an affidavit was never the case. No court filings in that case made such an allegation, which has only appeared on Slabbed itself.

Strangely, a look at PACER revealed the clerk for the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana--where the Concrete Busters complaint is filed--erroneously listed Aaron Broussard, Trout Point Lodge, and Cerro Coyote as defendants in that lawsuit. The error was later corrected, but only after the Mississippi court had made its decision in favor of Handshoe, citing the fact that Broussard was a defendant in a lawsuit also involving Trout Point and Cerro Coyote.

This action against Handshoe was the first disputed case in which a U.S. court applied the federal Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act. Handshoe and blogger Anne-Marie Vandenweghe continued to blog about Abel, Perret, Leary, Trout Point, and Cerro Coyote while the court was making its decision, ramping up publishing about them, seemingly in an attempt to convince the court of the truth of their criminal accusations (which if false would be per se defamatory and actionable in Mississippi). The court's decision states that the court monitored Slabbed, taking note of the large number of posts referring to Trout Point, Perret, and Leary in 2012 alone. The fact that the court relied on the now-retracted Concrete Busters allegations as well as other questionable facts could be significant to the appeal. This is because the court was operating under Mississippi law's requirement that a plaintiff prove falsity in a defamation case, something at times very difficult to do. Abel, Leary, and Perret have always insisted they had nothing to do with the criminal activity alleged over and over by Handshoe. Both the Times-Picayune and Fox 8 WVUE have long ago retracted any erroneous identification of Trout Point Lodge belonging to Aaron Broussard. 

Handshoe says that the retractions were coerced from media as part of a conspiracy and coverup. The Concrete Busters lawsuit, in turn, said Trout Point and Cerro Coyote were "shell companies" used by Broussard and Heebe in a criminal conspiracy, and that Leary and Perret were working to silence a valid investigation through their suits against Handshoe and others, including WVUE. Those accusations have now been officially dismissed in addition to the earlier Smith & Fawer retraction.

In another remarkable twist, Abel wrote a letter to the same Mississippi federal court, attaching as an exhibit the letter from Smith & Fawer. The Mississippi federal judge chose to file Abel's letter and exhibit into the public record available on PACER. The Abel letter refers the court's attention to possible fraud by Team Handshoe. Abel's claim is based on the fact that Handshoe likely knew the Mississippi court was perusing Slabbed while deliberating. Handshoe has not denied the allegations.




Indeed, not everything went Handshoe's way. The federal court flatly denied Handshoe's motion for attorney's fees and an appeal bond, stating that there was no suggestion the appeal of its own decision by Trout Point Lodge, Leary, and Perret to the 5th Circuit was frivolous. This was despite the fact that the SPEECH Act allowed for Handshoe to recover reasonable attorney's fees. Handshoe attorney Bobby Truitt (who also represents Anne-Marie Vandenweghe) was asking for an extraordinary $60,000 in fees on the summary judgment motions. In its initial decision the federal court also agreed that Handshoe was on a "campaign to damage" Leary, Perret, and their business. 

Abel's lawsuit alleges that Handshoe and former Assistant Parish Attorney Vandenweghe conducted their multi-year campaign of defamation in an effort to sway public opinion in the New Orleans/Jefferson metro area at the same time as the federal criminal probe of Broussard, Heebe, and others was underway. This would have benefitted Vandenweghe's own whistleblower lawsuit as well as the criminal prosecutions. He says that Vandenweghe used multiple online personalities, engaging in sock puppetry on Slabbed and elsewhere. Abel has also pointed to an instance where former Assistant U.S. Attorney Salvadore Perricone (posting anonymously) cast doubt on the Times-Picayune's retraction regarding Trout Point Lodge. Perricone had also speculated that Vandenweghe was indeed Slabbed's alter-ego in the context of an article about Vandenweghe's lawsuit against Jefferson Parish, which remarkably just settled out of court this past week before there had been any deposition of Vandenweghe. Abel also claims someone from the New Orleans U.S. Attorney's Office called Trout Point Lodge and then hung up the phone just as Leary & Perret were first seeking to enforce their $427,000 judgment against Handshoe in the Mississippi court about a year ago.

Abel is currently fighting separate motions to dismiss his lawsuit made by Handshoe and Vandenweghe. Vandenweghe went to law school with both former U.S. Attorney James Letten and his top prosecutor former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Maselli-Mann. Both left the Department of Justice after a blogging scandal involving Heebe unmasking Perricone and Maselli-Mann as anonymous online commenters. Perricone had resigend his post a few months earlier. Abel's brief responding to Vandenweghe's motion unmasks some of her multiple online personae using literary and grammatical analysis, similar to the technique used by Heebe to shed light on Perricone and Maselli-Mann's online activities. Abel says he has an M.A. in English literature.

The suggestion is that Vandenweghe's used her position as Assistant Parish Attorney in charge of Public Record Requests, as well as her contacts, to resolve personal vendettas and gain a lawsuit victory, seriously injuring Abel and his partners as innocent bystanders in the proces.

As previously reported, Smith & Fawer client Waste Remediation of Plaquemines is owned by Hank Lauricella, who was a Louisiana state senator at the same time Vandenweghe was on Jefferson Parish Council. Both represented Harahan, the home of both Vandenweghe and Perricone. Smith & Fawer's predecessor law firm also represented Handshoe's business partner Fred H. Goodson in his criminal trial, in which he was convicted for racketeering, fraud, bribery, and money laundering involving truck stop gambling. Lauricella did not seek re-election after his name came up in the same federal criminal probe of video poker in Louisiana, termed "Operation Hardcrust." Handshoe was corporate secretary for Goodson's company Slidell Motel, Inc., a segment of the O'Aces Casino operation ordered forfeit as part of the criminal conspiracy by the federal court after Goodson's conviction. Checks from Slidell Motel were used to make contributions to Louisiana government officials, according to FBI wiretaps.