Scientology leader David Miscavige is trying to extricate himself from the lawsuit, which alleges that he masterminded a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment of Monique and her husband, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, who was once Miscavige’s top lieutenant in the church. Miscavige has argued that he has only a limited role as ecclesiastical leader of Scientology, does not care about the Rathbuns, and has no connection to the state of Texas, where the lawsuit was filed.
But Jeffrey tells us that Leah Remini has agreed to testify that David Miscavige actually does rule every aspect of Scientology, and that he is obsessed with Marty Rathbun, who defected from the church in 2004.
While watching the docket in Monique’s lawsuit, we noticed today a reference to a transaction fee for a subpoena that listed Leah Remini’s name. We then called Jeffrey, who confirmed that he had talked to the actress and that she had agreed to give the deposition — which is happening one day after Jeffrey is scheduled to depose former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis in Austin.
The Church of Scientology International has moved to quash Davis’s deposition, but Jeffrey says he is asking for a court appearance to have it reinstated. He says the church was notified last night that Remini has agreed to testify in the lawsuit.
We put in a request for comment with Leah Remini’s family, but have not received a response.
Monique Rathbun filed her lawsuit on August 16 and received a temporary restraining order which prevents Miscavige from surveilling or harassing her. That TRO is still in effect as a hearing on a temporary injunction was moved back to deal first with a disqualification motion and now jurisdictional issues. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 18 at the Comal County courthouse in New Braunfels, Texas, but we suspect that it will be moved to a later date.
Monique is suing on grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference of her employment contract, and invasion of privacy after four years of surveillance by church private investigators, and also harassment by a Scientology intimidation squad that showed up outside her house for 199 straight days in 2012. In her original complaint, she also said that a sex toy was sent anonymously to her at her workplace, and flowers were sent to a female co-worker with a forged suggestive note from Monique — both were pranks that she blames on Scientology.
Monique’s legal team — attorneys Ray Jeffrey, Marc Wiegand, and Elliott Cappuccio — have already survived one attempt by the church to have them disqualified from the case. Our account of that battle we reported yesterday.
Even before Leah Remini’s involvement, it was pretty obvious that Miscavige is taking this case very seriously. A legal team of 15 attorneys showed up at the Comal County courthouse for hearings on September 12 and 13, and high-level former Scientology executives tell us they believe Miscavige’s concern over how badly the case has gone for the church led him to cancel a huge event that Scientology had planned for October 6 in Clearwater, Florida.
Now, Remini’s agreement to cooperate in the case may really agitate Miscavige.
It’s pretty clear that Remini is unhappy with the church leader, and she has not hesitated to bring him unwanted publicity. As we reported on July 8 when we broke the news that Remini had left Scientology, it was Miscavige’s appearance — without his wife — at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in a castle outside Rome that first put doubts into Remini’s mind about him and his leadership of the organization. When she asked why Miscavige, Cruise’s best man, was there without his wife Shelly, she was told by then-spokesman Tommy Davis, “You don’t have the fucking rank to ask about Shelly.” (Remini was unaware that Shelly Miscavige had vanished months earlier. She hasn’t been seen by church members in more than six years, but we think we know where she is.)
After the wedding, Leah wrote up a critical report about Miscavige, but that only landed her in a three-month “thought modification” session of intense interrogations at Scientology’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. After that, we’re told, she gradually pulled away from the church, and finally made her decision to leave after meeting with Miscavige in October, 2012.
Remini made it pretty clear how she feels about Miscavige when she reported Shelly Miscavige as a missing person to the Los Angeles Police Department on Monday, August 5. We broke that story Thursday morning, August 8, but by that afternoon, the LAPD reported that it had made contact with Shelly and closed the case, calling it “unfounded.”
As we pointed out at the time, it was our belief that Shelly Miscavige has been kept out of view at a small mountain compound above Los Angeles, where she works with maybe only a dozen or so other workers, completely cut off from the outside world. And although Remini and other Scientologists (in and outside the church) would like to know why Shelly — a woman who used to help run the worldwide church — has not been seen at any church events since 2005, a missing-person report was not really an instrument that would answer those questions. The LAPD merely confirmed that Shelly was alive and wanted to preserve her privacy.
Remini then appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she confirmed that members who leave Scientology are then cut off by their former friends who want to remain in good standing in the church.
And on Dancing With The Stars, last week Remini was heard telling her dance partner, Tony Dovolani, that she believes the church is hoping that she’ll fail, so it can show its members that leaving the organization is a bad idea. Actor Jason Beghe told us he thinks Remini is correct, and that Scientology would like to see her fail.
And now, Remini has agreed to testify in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit, which should bring major press attention not only to Remini’s decision to testify, but also to Monique’s lawsuit, which alleges surveillance by the church which Scientology has justified in court as necessary to protect its “orthodoxy” and “trademarks.”
Remini has really danced her way into a fine controversy here. Is David Miscavige ready to rumba?
Posted by Tony Ortega on October 2, 2013 at 19:00
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