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The situation: Star Trek Continues star and anime voice actor Vic Mignogna's defamation lawsuit arising out of sexual misconduct accusations has moved into depositions. YouTube legal analyst Nick Rekieta smugly narrates video of the hours-long depositions, while AnimeNewsNetwork is publishing summaries of Mignogna's questioning by the defendants' lawyers.

1. Peters Reveals Axanar Fundraiser Due in Sept., CBS Non-Disparagement 

Photo/Axanar YouTube channel
EPISODE 25 of Axanar: Confidential reveals the timeline for Axanar's coming private fundraiser, prominently mentioning Kate Vernon's character, Capt. Sonya Alexander, as if she's to appear in the short films. But there's no indication she's agreed to that.

Fundraising date. On Axanar: Confidential last night, Producer Alec Peters reveals when and how he expects private fundraising to begin for the two Axanar short films.
  • Only a month. Peters is only giving his $200,000 fundraising effort a few weeks, starting in September, before shooting is scheduled to begin in October.
  • First of four shoots. The October shoot, scheduled at the warehouse Peters calls Ares Studios in suburban Atlanta, is only the first of four planned  shoots comprising the two Axanar short films. In the weeks following the campaign's launch, unless he's counting on other funding, Peters may only expect to raise what he needs for that first shoot.
  • Additional shoots in Los Angeles and other locations are planned in later months, with Peters aiming for a Comic-Con 2020 screening of the Axanar shorts.
  • Ares Digital is key. In last night's livestream, Peters urged past donors to update their contact information in Axanar's recently launched third incarnation Ares Digital database, and prospective donors to add their information since the software platform is the key part of Peters' private fundraiser.
  • No public crowdfunding. Under the terms of his copyright infringement settlement with CBS/Paramount, Peters is precluded from public fundraising.
Why this matters: Peters needs a functional means to raise $200,000 to pay for making Axanar. Ares Digital 3.0 — which launched six months late, and with big problems — has to perform, and in time to meet what's now become an aggressive production schedule. He can't afford unsatisfied donors.

Can't disparage CBS. Meanwhile, for the first time, Peters reveals a new detail about his 2017 settlement with CBS — a non-disparagement clause.
  • Axanar: Confidential #24: The news came in a comment in the previous episode of Peters' weekly YouTube livestream, in which Peters prefaced comments on CBS' handling of the Star Trek franchise: "I want to say this correctly so I don't breach my non-disparagement clause with CBS."
WATCH Axanar: Confidential episode 25 on Axanar's YouTube channel.
Other news from last night's Axanar: Confidential:
  • Auction catalog: A link to the catalog for the August auction of the collection of the bankrupt Trekcetera Museum in Alberta, Canada, is due to be published today on the Axanar website, followed by posting of the auction to be conducted on the Live Auctioneers website.
  • Kate Vernon's appearance in the Axanar short films has never been confirmed yet Peters describes the design of her character's uniform, noting: "You'll see Kate Vernon wearing one."
  • "In talks." Peters continually refers to being in talks with her representation, or that she's reading the script but unlike fellow Trek alumni J.G. Hertzler and Gary Graham, there's been no word from her about Axanar in years.
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2. Peters Deposed in Vegas for Hero Prop Lawsuit

Enterprise photo/Memory Alpha
DEPOSED Alec Peters and Hero Prop's Tiana Armstrong came face-to-face last week in depositions in their lawsuit over the sale of the Enterprise-E model from Star Trek: First Contact.

Las Vegas depositions. Alec Peters travels to Las Vegas for an in-person deposition in the suit and countersuit between him and his company, Propworx, and Hero Prop proprietor Tiana Armstrong.
  • Two days. Each of the principals in the case was deposed for a solid day — Peters on Thursday, and Armstrong on Friday.
  • "Crushed it." On last night's Axanar: Confidential, Peters said:

My lawyer says I crushed it [and] I was the best deposition witness he's ever had, though he's young, but it's good to hear.
  • No word. Meanwhile, Armstrong has made no public comment on the depositions, and is currently traveling out of the country.
Why this matters: The depositions were sure to have covered topics we've been covering, including accusations that Peters cheated the widow of Emmy-winning Trek VFX artist Gary Hutzel out of more than $94,000 in the sale of the original series' Enterprise model used in Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode as well as other props. Other questions likely aimed at defamation claims by and against Peters himself.
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3. Fact-Check: Peters' Claims Against AxaMonitor

Pants on fire. Following delivery of our lawyer's response to Alec Peters' cease and desist letter, and his Las Vegas deposition in the Hero Prop lawsuit, Peters lashed out at me on Facebook. How well do Peters' claims stand up to scrutiny? Let's see how many Mudds each one scores.
  • Review the books. Peters claims, "Carlos Pedraza is a liar. … He is not interested in 'transparency.' If he was he would have accepted my invitation to come to Atlanta and review our books in detail." Our call:
TWO MUDDS — Significant omissions or exaggerations.
While it is true that Peters invited me to Atlanta (at my own expense) to examine Axanar's books, he avoids the fact I am not a forensic accountant; I don't have the expertise to draw valid conclusions from the records we've documented he had cherry-picked for examination. He used the same tactic for the "independent" financial review that's mysteriously disappeared from the Axanar Productions website. Moreover, he fails to specify any falsehood by me.

  • Only Axanar. Based on a Facebook post where I state AxaMonitor's aim is to shine a light on mismanagement of the Axanar project, and "ensure future donors have the information they need to make an informed choice," Peters claims, "Carlos also lies when he claims his only interest is Axanar. He has stalked my businesses as well, both the Federal Coffee and Propworx." Our call:
THREE MUDDS — Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions — “mostly false.” My clearly stated goal is that I want potential donors to be fully informed about Axanar; that includes covering Peters' business history — fair game given he points to his purported business acumen as credibility for his management of Axanar. Also fair game because he's the one who has used Axanar to promote his other business, Propworx. Our attorney observed Peters has "eviscerated the distinction" between the two companies, something I've previously reported.

  • Business stalker. Peters alleges, "[Carlos] has stalked my businesses as well, both the Federal Coffee, and Propworx."
UPSIDE-DOWN MUDD — A clear but unacknowledged “flip-flop” from a previously-held position. Peters has previously denied the implication in our coverage that he had a financial interest in the Lawrencville, Ga., coffee shop, always claiming it was his friends' business. Suddenly, he publicly calls it "my business."

  • Cyberstalker and bully. Peters claims, "[Carlos] is a stalker, pure and simple. And when I sue him, it won't just be for defamation (the proof of malice will be easy through his unending pathological attacks) but the suit will be for cyberstalking and cyberbullying." Our call:
THREE MUDDS — Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions — “mostly false.” Stalking, including cyberstalking and bullying, have very specific legal definitions, none of which apply to news coverage of a public figure like Peters. Georgia, Peters' home state, doesn't appear to offer a civil cause of action for stalking, only criminal; he's made no apparent effort to report any such crimes to law enforcement or to seek a restraining order.

As for defamation, our attorney's reply to Peters' cease and desist demand lays out in detail how Peters has no case. Georgia specifically exempts "constitutionally protected activities" (e.g., news reporting) from being classified as stalking.
Go deeper: Learn more about AxaMonitor's fact-checking ratings named after Star Trek's notorious scoundrel, Harry Mudd.
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Short Takes: Axanar-related crowdfunding takes some hits

Point of no return: It's apparent that Axanar surrogate and fan film blogger Jonathan Lane isn't going to reach his $19,500 GoFundMe goal in time to meet his production schedule for his "Axanar universe" film, Interlude.
  • Budget cuts. Despite his early protestations of transparency, Lane and his directors have cut the budget to $13,500, but he won't say what they've cut.
  • Dim prospects. Even the smaller amount may prove difficult to raise in time. The blogger at Monitoring the Trek Monitors observes Lane's fundraiser needs to raise on average more money than it's currently doing.
The Eve of the Dip. The first of the month comes up this week, and we're waiting to see how big a hit the Ares Studios Patreon will take as supporters' credit cards get dinged and some re-evaluate whether they're getting the value they expected from paying Alec Peters' rent, utilities and insurance for the warehouse.
  • Lower rent, same Patreon amount. We've reported that Peters' warehouse rent was lowered by $500 as part of a trade for parking spaces used by a neighboring warehouse tenant. That should've reduced Peters' "ask" to $3,500. However, that isn't reflected on the Ares Studios Patreon page, which still lists $4,000 as the goal.
  • Status. At press time, the Patreon had 248 supporters donating $2,259 a month.
  • Making up distance. It's taken almost two months for the Patreon to make up for its losses on June and July 1.
  • Not moving. Despite his earlier insistence he'd have to move if the Patreon effort failed to raise $4,000 a month, Peters now says Ares Studios is staying put, even if it fails to meet its lower $3,500 goal.
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In Case You Missed It …

Expanse gets fifth season. Five months before its fourth season premieres on Amazon Prime, acclaimed scifi series, The Expanse, has already been renewed for Season 5, according to
  • The show's season 4 trailer premiered at Comic-Con. Watch here.
  • The show's first three seasons aired on SyFy, but the cable network canceled it, leaving it to Amazon to pick up.
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Find Us on Super Geeks

Join AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza every week on the Super Geeks live podcast in the Real Super Geeks Facebook group every Friday at 10 p.m. PDT/1 a.m. EDT. Super Geeks is hosted by George Silsby. 
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