Former Axanar Chief Technologist Deposed

See also: Former Axanar Officer Served with Subpoena

SEATTLE — At the October 28, 2016, deposition of Axanar’s former chief technologist, attorneys questioned Terry McIntosh about producer Alec Peters’ spending habits with donations, Axanar’s digital fulfillment platform, its fan film status and how well acquainted he is with AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza.

McIntosh said the lines of questioning asked were what he “pretty much expected to be asked from both sides.”

Plaintiffs' Questions

The studios’ attorney, Jennifer Jason of Loeb & Loeb, who also submitted the emergency motion to the court October 27, led the questioning for a little more than three of the four-hour deposition, McIntosh said.

Loeb attorney Jennifer Jason led the deposition for CBS and Paramount Studios

Peters' Spending

Jason focused her questions on how Peters spent the money donors contributed to produce Axanar, McIntosh said:

[She asked] did I know that Alec spent Axanar money to pay for his car (tires, maintenance, gas, mileage reimbursement), his monthly cell phone bill, and other claimed expenses that could easily be considered personal obligations unless someone had a generous third-party employer.

Other things were about anything I knew about him using Axanar funds to travel, who was I aware of that was paid (either at the time or in the time since leaving) with Axanar funds, what were my roles and functions at Axanar, how I came to be with the production.

McIntosh's Role

Jason also explored the terms of McIntosh’s association with Axanar Productions, McIntosh explained:

There was a question on what, if anything, Axanar paid for in my case — which is nothing, since I was not compensated in any way for my entire tenure — including the three trips to L.A. where Axanar paid for my airfare and lodging for those trips.

The questions Jason asked about Axanar’s spending on McIntosh, he said, “were posed as, ‘Did Axanar pay for, or reimburse you for — insert a specific kind of expense here’ —and my belief if that they were specifically worded that way as notice that Alec had charged those expenses for himself.”

San Francisco-based Winston attorney Joseph Mornin, also a software engineer, represented Axanar at Terry McIntosh’s Seattle deposition.

Ranahan's Representation

Though he was represented by his own counsel, McIntosh confirmed for Jason that Axanar attorney Erin Ranahan had offered to represent him at the deposition. AxaMonitor had broken the story that Ranahan had moved to represent current and former Axanar personnel who had been subpoenaed, in spite of the potential conflict of interest that posed.

Court documents filed October 27 revealed Winston & Strawn had represented Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett, co-writer Bill Hunt and fulfillment director Diana Kingsbury.

McIntosh refused the offer, and Prelude director Christian Gossett did not return her phone call.

Defense Questions

Axanar was represented by Joseph D. Mornin of Winston & Strawn‘s San Francisco office.

McIntosh described the defense questioning as “rather embarrassing to their case, IMHO, because they mostly centered on Ares Digital and I could tell from the feel of the room that my answers were not what the defense hoped to hear.”

Ares Digital

The defense focused most of its questions on Ares Digital, the technology platform McIntosh had created as a potential revenue stream for Axanar, McIntosh said. Ares Digital was designed to handle fulfillment of donors’ perks from the two crowdfunding platforms it used to raise more than $1 million, intending ultimately to raise a total of $2 million to produce the feature film, Axanar after the earlier 20-minute short, Prelude to Axanar.

« There was a question whether there was a distinction between a fan film and a commercial enterprise and whether they could be one and the same. »Terry McIntosh, former Axanar chief technologist

McIntosh left Axanar before completing Ares Digital, which Axanar producer Alec Peters offered to buy from McIntosh after the resignation in exchange for stock in Axanar’s commercial studio because Peters claimed Axanar was out of cash.

Losing its chief technologist left Peters scrambling to fulfill any kind of perks to an increasingly restless group of thousands of donors.

The Inner Workings

Mornin spent most of an hour learning about Ares Digital, McIntosh said, how the effort fit into Axanar Productions, who owned which intellectual property surrounding the platform, including the domain name.

McIntosh has publicly complained that Axanar does not have rights to the Ares Digital name, and that the version created by his replacement, Bill Watters, used IP from McIntosh’s software without permission. McIntosh said he intends to pursue litigation on those points, adding that Ranahan told him Winston won’t represent Axanar apart from the current copyright suit.

The defense went on to ask “if Alec participated in AD’s creation, and the proposed terms and conversation about Alec/Axanar buying my work. They even trotted out a few screen shots of things that I’ve said in [the CBS/Paramount vs. Axanar Facebook] group post-separation, and from the Axanar groups when still with the production, and after thinking about it on the drive back I still don’t really get what they were on about with that line of questioning.”

The final question on the topic, McIntosh said, “was whether I still had Axanar donor records, which I do, of course.”

Non-Disclosure Agreement

Mornin had started the topic with a question about the “seriously weak NDA that I signed,” McIntosh said, before moving on to the rest of the Ares Digital questions.

Is Axanar a Fan Film?

One of the first questions asked if McIntosh “felt Axanar was a fan film or not. Then there was a question whether there was a distinction between a fan film and a commercial enterprise and whether they could be one and the same,” which left McIntosh confused.

AXAMONITOR ACCUSED Axanar claims plaintiffs’ counsel has leaked confidential information to AxaMonitor.

Plugging Leaks?

It wasn’t a surprise that the defense asked McIntosh how well he knew AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza, whom Peters accused of being the recipient of information leaked by the plaintiffs’ counsel. McIntosh said they had “met once at the time Christian [Gossett], he and I met for beverages and snacks a few months back.”

In a court filing the same day as McIntosh’s deposition, Axanar’s lead attorney used the supposed leak as a means to raise doubt about the plaintiffs’ ability to honor the court order protecting highly confidential materials.

See also: Allegation Plaintiffs Revealed Confidential Information

After that, McIntosh said, “Jennifer of L&L walked out with a big ol’ grin and W&S’ attorney walked out with a bit of a sour puss. … If that says anything I’m glad that I was able to put to rest, on the record, that I’m not your leak for the scandal de jour.”

Expectations Fulfilled?

McIntosh summed up the experience this way:

In all, my feeling is that the counsel for the plaintiffs got exactly what they were hoping to get and the defense was just kind of throwing random things against the wall hoping that I’d be confused or intimidated. I wasn’t.


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