Debbie Cook's hearing today, Friday, March 9th..

Smurf

Gold Meritorious SP
How Much Evidence Will The Church Of Scientology Be Forced To Turn Over?


Today's hearing on a lawsuit, brought by the church of Scientology, was less fireworks and more legal building blocks. This was not the "Law and Order" of the last time the two parties went before a judge and allegations of abuse were lobbed about.

The judge delayed a March 23rd court date for 45 days. The attorneys for the church had filed a motion for summary judgement. Basically, they wanted the judge to rule quickly on claims former leader Debbie Cook and her husband violated a non-disclosure agreement by sending off an email, criticizing her former bosses.

Cook's attorney argued that the church wasn't turning over evidence and this will give the parties time to work out. Maybe.

The judge also told the church's attorneys that, when it comes to discovery (read: evidence Cook is demanding), they should play nice. Cook's attorney, Ray Jeffery is asking for church leaders to testify about how his clients were viewed during their time at the church and after they had left.

Here's where it gets tricky.

At today's hearing, the church's attorneys seemed to mention that some of the discovery (read: evidence) that Cook was asking for was privileged information because they are a religious institution. The last time I ran across this argument was when I was covering the State of Texas's case against the Fundamentalist Sect of the Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

Texas raided their compound after claims of abuse. A lot has been written about this. During the subsequent trials, the church claimed the Department of Public Safety and State Prosecutors could not admit church records into trial because... well... they are a church.

In that case, ultimately, the records were allowed. It will be interesting to see how much the church will be able to legally withhold because that information is a "church record."

Jeffery is asking for videotapes. He told me after the hearing that the church property where his client was staying when she signed the non-disclosure was totally wired. That's reasonable. What high profile places doesn't have security cameras? He thinks it will go towards the harassment and intimidation. We don't know because, so far, the church has not turned over the tape.

Wayne Baungardner told me after the hearing that their case is a test case.

"If we win this case, they will be in a very bad position. Pretty everyone who signs has been under the same duress that we've been under. This will be a test case that will determine the degree of transparency of the church of Scientology."

Jeffery added it will also determine if people will come forward. "People are afraid," he said.

As for the $100k that the Cook's took? "I worked there for 29 years. We averaged less than $10k a year (salary). At my time of head of flag, I was responsible for $1.7 billion in revenue."

Baumgardner said they didn't want the money.

"I left check on table and left. I went out. They stopped us at the gate. They wouldn't let us leave."

But will that be on the video they want the church to turn over?

http://radio.woai.com/pages/michaelboard.html?article=9878106
 

Smurf

Gold Meritorious SP
Mike Board interviews Debbie's attorney after today's hearing.. Ray talks about the cult's violating the court rules of procedure by refusing to turn over evidence.

Mike also tried to interview the cult's attorney, George Spencer, but he declined to comment. OSA's propanda tool, Louanne, is commenting.

http://radio.woai.com/player/?mid=21893554
 

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
At today's hearing, the church's attorneys seemed to mention that some of the discovery (read: evidence) that Cook was asking for was privileged information because they are a religious institution. The last time I ran across this argument was when I was covering the State of Texas's case against the Fundamentalist Sect of the Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

Texas raided their compound after claims of abuse. A lot has been written about this. During the subsequent trials, the church claimed the Department of Public Safety and State Prosecutors could not admit church records into trial because... well... they are a church.

In that case, ultimately, the records were allowed. It will be interesting to see how much the church will be able to legally withhold because that information is a "church record."

Thanks Smurf -- good reporting! I'm keen to see the progress of this "church records" line of defence. Essentially they can argue that everything is a church record, but the normal bystander would not agree this is a reasonable argument. Perhaps secrets of the confessional could/should/would be kept confidential, but this so-called church has no remorse in revealing the secrets of their parishioners (or at any rate, many of their parishioners believe they could be threatened in this way).

It is particularly interesting to me to see the extent to which this "church" seeks to protect itself (collect evidence?) through videotaping, even of confidential counselling sessions. Surely it is the only "church" to do so.
 

Free to shine

Shiny & Free
Village Voice reports: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/scientology_tol.php

Scientology: Told to Chill in Texas, By Tony Ortega Fri., Mar. 9 2012

​After a flurry of court filings in the Church of Scientology's lawsuit against former church executive Debbie Cook, there was a showdown of sorts this morning at the Bexar County, Texas courthouse.

Leading up to the hearing, Scientology's attorneys had been pushing for a fast resolution to the case, asking for summary judgment from the court in what it calls a simple contract dispute. Debbie Cook, on the other hand, was asking the court to slow things down so she could get some discovery out of the church, including a deposition, videotapes, and other evidence she needs to prove that her 2007 non-disclosure agreement was signed under duress. The church argued back that none of that discovery was necessary as the case was so simple and its position so strong.

This morning, Bexar County District Judge Cathy Stryker told Scientology to cool its jets.

She pushed back a hearing on its motion for summary judgment from March 23 to May 7. In the meantime, the church will have to answer Cook's request for a deposition by naming a church official who can be made available for it. And, by next week, the church should have to begin answering some of Cook's other requests for information.


"It was a good day for us, and they didn't seem to leave the courtroom very happy," Ray Jeffrey told me this afternoon by telephone.

"It was a real dog fight. More than I thought it would be," he says. "They had about eight people on their side. I was down there by myself with Debbie and Wayne. I'm not sure how many were lawyers and how many were Scientology folks. I know a couple of them were Sea Org folks from California."

(Jeffrey and I both laughed about this. Earlier this week, the church complained in a court filing that it would be burdensome for Scientology to be expected to send someone from its Flag Service Organization in Florida for a deposition in Texas -- those of us familiar with the church know that in fact it flies its executives and operatives all over the country at the drop of a hat.)

"The judge ruled that we are entitled to additional time to get discovery. The other side argued vociferously that we don't need any discovery, that the case is so cut and dried no additional information was necessary. She didn't buy that. She continued it to May 7," she says.

He added that the church has until Wednesday to send a list of topics they agree to and the name of a church official who will be made available for deposition. "If they respond in a way that's unacceptable to me, I'll have to go back to court and complain about it," he says.


This morning's hearing lasted about an hour, and I asked Jeffrey if there were any moments that stood out.

There was a humorous exchange when, he says, he was trying not to go into too much detail with a judge who had only received the case that morning. (In Bexar County's scheme, the case has been heard by three different judges for its three separate hearings.)

"The judge was obviously not familiar with the case, and when it was mentioned that it had received media attention and that there were reporters in the courtroom, she looked at me and said, 'What is this case about?' I told her I'd be happy to give her some background. Spencer then jumped up and said judge, you should just read our motion for summary judgment. But she didn't buy that," Jeffrey says. She allowed him to give her some background on what had happened at the remarkable February 9 hearing, when Debbie Cook stunned the courtroom with testimony about incarceration and abuse of church executives at Scientology's California international headquarters.

"She just wanted some background on what the heck the case was about," he says.

At another point, Jeffrey says, Scientology's attorneys argued that they needed the case to be hurried because they were losing the benefit of the agreement that Cook signed, which required her to be silent about the church.

"I pointed out that they were the ones who withdrew the injunction, and all that's left is a lawsuit about damages. They already lost the benefit of the bargain if that's what they think they're entitled do under the contract, her silence. They withdrew that when they withdrew their request for the injunction," he says.

Judge Stryker apparently agreed, and set things back, giving Cook time to begin getting evidence she needs on her side.

I asked Jeffrey if he or Cook recognized all of the people who seemed to be in the courtroom on Scientology's side. He said they didn't know who everyone was.

"There was one fellow in a trench coat, none of us knew who he was. Someone asked him his name, and he said they didn't need to know his name," Jeffrey says.

Spooky!

John P. 2 hours ago

"Your honor, I object! Permitting the defense to actually mount a defense of any kind would infringe on my client's constitutional right to do whatever they want, whenever they want."

Mr. Spencer must be embarrassed to show up for work these days. But with 8 goons from the Church of Scientology showing up, including Mr. Mysterious Trench Coat Man, one wonders if the surveillance will be restricted to Mr. Jeffery and his clients in the future. Perhaps David Miscavige is thinking Mr. Spencer is not working hard enough on his behalf. All we need now is to see Mr. Spencer's father escorted into the gallery by a couple of people in odd-looking pseudo-naval uniforms.

t1kk 2 hours ago

I know I'm beating a moot horse, but ordering discovery while a summary judgment motion is pending is like ordering two families to pay in advance for a wedding they're unsure will take place. Depositions eat up attorney fees fast. Texas is bass ackwards. Still, good on Ray Jeffrey, and I hope he's got his bullshit detector set for 11 because he's about to find out just how uncooperative Scn can be when it needs to drag its feet.

Schockenawd 2 hours ago in reply to t1kk

I agree, but I guess what's procedurally different about this case from most is that Scientology came at its opponent with a summary judgment motion so quickly. Usually, the parties conduct their discovery first and then move for summary judgment closer to trial. At that point, it's a little harder for the opposing party to argue they need time to do more discovery, because they've presumably already done all of their discovery. Here, Jeffrey hadn't had a chance to do anything yet, so I can see the reasonableness of not stripping Cook of her right to a day court without allowing her to do some discovery first.


t1kk 1 hour ago in reply to Schockenawd

Right, and also it's almost always the defendant who moves for summary judgment because it's the plaintiff who makes (or fails to make) the case. But Scientology's MSJ, by its terms, doesn't require any more evidence than the court already has before it; whatever evidence is produced over the next two months won't bolster that motion. Per reporter Mike Board's twitter account of this morning's proceedings, it sounded like the judge hadn't even read Scn's motion, asking the parties to explain the case to her. Yikes.
 
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Free to shine

Shiny & Free
Again from the comments on Village Voice.

Chuck Beatty 1 hour ago

sorry in advance, I'm such an indoctirnated Hubbard afflicted ex member, I think EARLIER SIMLAR.

I think Michael Flynn.

I think Gerry Armstrong, I think all manner of great judges who spat out their honest assessments of Scientology, for whom our today judges probably won't ever read those earlier judges' thoughts in their findings, but GODDAMN, as an "ex" I gotta give my EARLIER SIMILAR all time thankyou to Gerry Armstrong and Laurel Watson, and ALL of the people with 1980s vintage 'balls' to help lawyers take on the vile "scriptural" crap that even causes these "cases" that the fricking Scientology lawyers.

Lest we all forget, it's all a "legacy" human contribution of the man named L. Ron Hubbard, I wish I could MINDMELD all of history into today's Judges' minds.


Oh, so much history, that falls out of our thoughts when we witness what goes on today.

Anyways, anyone of the late 1960s vintage Apollo heyday of Hubbard's craziest classic behavior, PLEASE take note, and comment your thoughts.

I love Scientology history, and Tony, you and Village Voice, and those who look at the comments, any of you OLDer 1960s 1970s vintage, PLEASE open up, and throw out some thoughts about this recurring pattern, and give us some TRUE Hubbard history.

Hubbard is behind all this convoluted ramifications crap we all look at, and think what the HELL!

Vintage people who knew Hubbard, PLEASE, pipe up!

Chuck Beatty, ex Sea Org, 1975-2003

Larry Brennan 44 minutes ago

Better put the blow drill people on full alert after Miscavige hears how badly this went and takes his scotch-induced wrath out on the OSA/RTC "SPs" who "botched" this case!

I bet trench coat guy and anyone else there from OSA/RTC did not want to make "THE CALL" to the tiny terror.

Gawd but this is entertaining.

But I would be shocked if this case lasts long enough to have a huge impact on getting rid of Miscavige or even most of his abuses.

I hope I am wrong but I got to think they either pull off some sort of "win" on a technicality or settle for big money with big time gag orders.

Still the longer this goes on, the more truth gets out and maybe the more people get out from and withdraw their support from organized scientology.

IMO it is the truth constantly getting out and not legal cases that is causing and will continue to cause organized scientology to lose its staff, its public and its new marks until it eventually dies the death of cash starvation.

The really great thing about a case like this is not whether or not it is won in a legal sense. The great thing is that it is a springboard to so much truth getting out such as by Tony, Tampa Bay Times, all the national TV and much more.

This is just so much win!
 

Rene Descartes

Gold Meritorious Patron
8 Goons and a man in a trench coat.

I am beginning to fear for the lives of the innocent.

Someone convince me please that my fear is unwarranted.

Rd00
 

anonomog

Gold Meritorious Patron
I'm afraid you might be right Rene.
Satellites have picked up flotillas of paddle boats leaving every major port on the PLANET. Initial courses indicate a convergence in Texas.
 

Div6

Crusader
Doesn't DM have an LRH Birthday Event to EmCee in a few days?
I wonder how that will go down given this pressing PTP?
How will he deliver the event while he micromanages his battery of legal whores?

Recent pictures show him bloated and swelling....could the edema be from his drinking issues? Maybe he should try something stronger.......
 

elwood

Patron with Honors
"There was one fellow in a trench coat, none of us knew who he was. Someone asked him his name, and he said they didn't need to know his name," Jeffrey says.

Spooky!

It's all part of the intimidation process. Too bad no one got a photo of him.
 

Gadfly

Crusader
Doesn't DM have an LRH Birthday Event to EmCee in a few days?
I wonder how that will go down given this pressing PTP?
How will he deliver the event while he micromanages his battery of legal whores?

Recent pictures show him bloated and swelling....could the edema be from his drinking issues? Maybe he should try something stronger.......

How will it go down?

"We are expanding at unprecented levels and rates, never before seen on planet Earth". DM's assistants walk onto the stage with many FAKE graphs showing all stats going STRAIGHT UP!

(mindless crowd of lemmings stand and cheer for 10 straight minutes)

"It is ONLY because we are making such headway into this degraded society that the SPs are getting so loud and vocal. They ONLY make this much noise when we are WINNING"!

(mindless crowd of lemmings again stand and cheer for 10 straight minutes)

"This is a critical point in Scientology's history, and we need every dedicated Scientologist to CHIP IN NOW to fight this FINAL critical battle with the DBs and SPs of Earth. The regges are standing at the (locked) doors".

(mindless crowd of lemmings again stand and cheer, but now for 20 straight minutes)

Such is the never-ending behavior of the exceptionally deluded. :duh:
 

Jquepublic

Silver Meritorious Patron
How will it go down?

"We are expanding at unprecented levels and rates, never before seen on planet Earth". DM's assistants walk onto the stage with many FAKE graphs showing all stats going STRAIGHT UP!

(mindless crowd of lemmings stand and cheer for 10 straight minutes)

"It is ONLY because we are making such headway into this degraded society that the SPs are getting so loud and vocal. They ONLY make this much noise when we are WINNING"!

(mindless crowd of lemmings again stand and cheer for 10 straight minutes)

"This is a critical point in Scientology's history, and we need every dedicated Scientologist to CHIP IN NOW to fight this FINAL critical battle with the DBs and SPs of Earth. The regges are standing at the (locked) doors".

(mindless crowd of lemmings again stand and cheer, but now for 20 straight minutes)

Such is the never-ending behavior of the exceptionally deluded. :duh:

God, it's true. That's exactly how they're playing it internally. Nobody seems to stop and think that these "new" orgs are not expansion as the same staff from the "old" orgs are moving in and the courserooms are still empty, the staff still struggle to survive and those public who still answer the phone for the reg are bound to be pushed, cajoled, blackmailed and bullied to pay pay PAY.

I'm just hoping that because it's the former Captain FSO and because of her email and the press coverage, people in at least have some DOUBT about the BS they're being spoonfed. FFS people, please if you want to apply a Hubbard policy, try LOOK DON'T LISTEN!!
 

Lermanet_com

Gold Meritorious Patron
"There was one fellow in a trench coat, none of us knew who he was. Someone asked him his name, and he said they didn't need to know his name," Jeffrey says.

Spooky!

It's all part of the intimidation process. Too bad no one got a photo of him.

Reminds me of this guy: William Drescher DM's Lawyer. I asked him who he was on the street back while picketing Flag FH in Clearwater in 1996.. his reply then was

"You're worst nightmare"
 

namaste

Silver Meritorious Patron
"There was one fellow in a trench coat, none of us knew who he was. Someone asked him his name, and he said they didn't need to know his name," Jeffrey says.

Spooky!

It's all part of the intimidation process. Too bad no one got a photo of him.

The thing is: no one is afraid of a man in a trench coat anymore. People just laugh at that shit now.
They (scios) just can't seem to come up to present time.
 
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