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LIVE FROM LOS ANGELES: Summary Judgment Hearing in DeCrescenzo Forced-Abortion Lawsuit

StanleyMoskCourtWe’re in Los Angeles this morning for a crucial hearing in Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. DeCrescenzo is suing over the abuse she says she suffered while a member of Scientology’s “Sea Org,” including, she alleges, being forced to have an abortion by the church at 17.

The hearing comes less than two weeks after DeCrescenzo filed explosive new evidence gleaned from thousands of pages of documents that Scientology was forced to turn over after the church appealed all the way to Supreme Court to try and keep the material hidden. Please see our story about the contents of those files, which describe Laura’s struggles as a homesick 12-year-old working 98-hour weeks for pennies an hour.

There were also documents which bolstered Laura’s assertion that the church knew that she had not wanted an abortion when she found out she was pregnant in February 1996. She was told by supervising Sea Org officials that she needed to do what was best for “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics,” and she felt pressured to terminate the pregnancy.

Laura submitted that evidence because today, she’s trying to convince Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian that Scientology’s strong methods of persuasion and control kept her from filing her lawsuit in a more timely fashion. She left the Sea Org in 2004, but she remained a member of the church until the summer of 2008. Only then, after she learned that her parents had left the church, did she begin to criticize Scientology itself. She left the church for good in January 2009 and then filed her lawsuit in April 2009.

But Scientology argued that Laura should have filed her lawsuit regarding her treatment in the Sea Org within four years of leaving the Sea Org. Judge Sohigian agreed, and dismissed the lawsuit. But Laura appealed, and an appeals court sent it back to Sohigian, telling him that he should have considered evidence that Laura was still being manipulated by Scientology after she had left the Sea Org.

Scientology should not benefit, the appeals court argued, if it took active measures to convince Laura that she should not sue within a timely fashion.

Is the stunning new evidence that Laura filed enough to convince Sohigian this time around that she filed her lawsuit in time? We’ll be anxious to find out. We’ll be adding live updates at the bottom of the post.

A logistical note: This story will pop up at 7 am Eastern, our standard time for a new morning post. But that’s only 4 am in Los Angeles, so please be patient as we get with the swing of things out here. We expect the hearing to get going at about 9 am Pacific, which is noon in New York, 5 pm in London, and 3 am in Sydney. Also, we do not yet know what the rules of the court are regarding equipment, but as soon as we do, we’ll let you know when you can expect new updates.

PS: We were traveling all day yesterday, so we were unable to respond to a slightly misleading story about Leah Remini posted by RadarOnline that was then copied all over the place. Despite Radar’s claim for an “exclusive,” it was two weeks ago when we first reported that Remini’s deposition in Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against Scientology leader David Miscavige was postponed along with the deposition of former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis and others.

It’s not true, as Radar implied, that Scientology’s attorneys made this happen. Actually, a hearing on jurisdictional matters was moved from October 18 to December 11, giving both sides more time to gather evidence, which included rescheduling the depositions.

And no, Leah Remini’s deposition has not been postponed “indefinitely.” In fact, new dates on all of the depositions were being worked out this week, and as soon as we know them, we’ll certainly let you know.

We can only marvel that out of all the explosive news that rocked Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit in the last week, the only thing the mainstream press got out of it was that Leah Remini’s deposition had been slightly delayed. Someone, please get them the smelling salts.

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on October 23, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

If you’d like to help support The Underground Bunker, please e-mail our webmaster Scott Pilutik at BunkerFund@tonyortega.org

 

NEW POSTS WILL APPEAR BELOW HERE

11:50 am

Hey, we’re in place in Sohigian’s courtroom, and we’re sitting next to Allison Hope Weiner. Judge Sohigian is dealing with another matter right now. So far we have a somewhat jackleg Internet connection, so we’ll just see how long we can go.

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11:55 am

There are about 40 seats in the courtroom here, and most of them are taken with folks in fancy suits. We recognize several of them, but this time Scientology’s attorneys are all over the place and not just in one group.

Sohigian now calling up another preliminary case.

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12:03 pm

Judge Ronald Sohigian has a few wisps of grey hair on his balding pate. He wears glasses, and has a fine roman nose. He’s a little George C. Scott and a little Uncle Junior in appearance, but he’s got a stern, baritone voice that says, “don’t even think about questioning what I’m about to say.” He’s tapping away at a computer right now, fashioning a written order, he said. So far, we’ve gotten the impression that he likes to get things done, done fast, and doesn’t put up with nonsense.

We saw that this morning some of our readers looked around online and found some negative reviews of the judge.

Right now, he seems to be making a very reasonable schedule change for a couple of attorneys. So who knows.

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12:15 pm

Yet another preliminary case. Both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys are on the phone.

Oh, we see that Bert Deixler is here. We didn’t see him when we first came in.

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12:21 pm

He’s schooling an attorney for showing up (telephonically) in a lawsuit that centers around a lease dispute, and the attorney doesn’t have a copy of the lease to refer to. Gotta side with Sohigian on this one. You don’t want to come to this guy’s courtroom unprepared.

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12:29 pm

And Sohigian calls yet another preliminary matter. Bert Deixler goes out for a break. Heck, we wish we could join him.

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12:33 pm

Some kind of insurance case is before him, and Sohigian is taking the opportunity to describe his entire judicial philosophy and how his court works like no other.

We might appreciate his lengthy dissertation more if we hadn’t just experienced the pleasure of LA freeways and missed breakfast to get here on time.

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12:43 pm

There’s definitely a smaller Scientology team here than there was in Texas. No Gary Soter, no Moxon, no Yingling. Warren McShane is here along with about six attorneys.

Not sure what to make of it, that a case that’s gone to the US Supreme Court and involves allegations of a 17-year-old girl being forced to have an abortion would call for a legal team less than half of what showed up for a harassment suit in Texas.

Of course the answer is, David Miscavige is personally a defendant there, but he isn’t here.

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12:54 pm

Sohigian’s tap-tap-tapping away at another order, this one apparently in a case where no one bothered to show up.

There’s more and more squirming going on in the peanut gallery. We’re getting the sense that observers and lawyers alike are in some astonishment that Sohigian is typing away at some preliminary matter that could clearly be done at some other time.

The dude is in no rush.

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1:03 pm

Oh, wait, Gary Soter is here. He was sitting right behind me. I just didn’t see him. He just went out to stretch his legs or something.

Sohigian continues to write the Great American Novel at his computer.

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1:09 pm

Yet another preliminary matter. Parties here this time, at least. Some kind of bankruptcy case with a dispute over a lawyer’s fees.

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1:22 pm

Going to yet another preliminary matter. Allison is keeping us both alive with candy Lifesavers.

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1:31 pm

Judge Sohigian now explaining to yet another attorney how things work differently in his courtroom. “We do not reserve dates here,” he says, and once again talks about the calendars posted on his “westerly wall.”

Not being familiar with the ways of Judge Sohigian, we’re certain that we’re missing some great judicial leap forward here, but can only stand in awe as he soldiers on from the bench.

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1:44 pm

Judge Sohigian working out some trial dates with some attorneys. We’re still waiting.

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1:51 pm

Just based on what we’ve seen so far and how some very experienced attorneys seemed a little lost in front of Sohigian, we get the impression that he has come up with a very different way of handling his calendar, and of typing up orders as he goes along. He obviously considers it a superior system, and assuming that his court is as swamped as any other, we really can’t blame him for trying out a logistical framework of his own design.

We’re keeping in mind: It was Sohigian who ordered that Scientology turn over Laura’s pc files to her, and he wasn’t swayed by the church’s insistence that those records were protected by clergy-penitent privilege.

So the big question is, now that Sohigian has seen what’s in those files, will he be persuaded that Laura had reason to file her lawsuit in June 2009 and not earlier?

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1:52 pm

And we’re on!!! Here we go. Attorneys getting into place.

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1:54 pm

John Blumberg and Kathryn Saldana for Laura. Robert Mengells for RTC, Bert Deixler for CSI.

Judge seems surprised that so many people are here to watch. He asks if he forgot another case or something.

Deixler going first. We’re here to resolve two very narrow issues…did evidence dissuade her from filing her lawsuit…

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1:57 pm

Bert Deixler: The evidence in the case is I think undisputed that there were no representations by defendants that she should not file a lawsuit.

(Scientology never told her not to file her suit, he’s saying.)

As Deixler goes on like he’s arguing over a broken lease or something, we can’t help remember that this is the guy who went to the California and US Supreme Courts to say the material in Laura’s pc files was “deeply religious” material. And that material turned out to be things like her homesick letters about missing her mom — at 12 years old.

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2:00 pm

Bert Deixler now criticizing Laura based on what she said in depositions.

Now he’s bringing up the issue of threats or intimidation, which would be a reason that would allow her to file late. But he says what she describes in her declaration are “protected free speech” and things that aren’t threats or intimidation.

Bert is saying that Laura is relying on Laura being solicited for Scientology books after she left he Sea Org.

Now he’s getting to the freeloader debt. “It is a religious obligation that one meets after departing the Sea Organization.” Wow! A religious obligation!

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2:02 pm

Bert says he’s basically pretty unimpressed by Laura’s declaration. Well, golly. Who could have seen that coming.

He’s saying that what she’s submitted does not meet the test that the appeals court set for this hurdle.

Sohigian: Will you please flesh out the argument that some of this are constitutionally protected speech, and that they wouldn’t qualify? Can you say how these wouldn’t be applicable to the time bar?

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2:04 pm

Bert now referring to the Headley case. Saying that the Headleys argued that they were worried that they’d be banished if they criticized the church or something. And Bert said that the court found that a church can do that, banish someone.

Sohigian: That’s not what I’m asking. Is it your contention that the only excuse for the time bar is the commission by the defendant of actionable behavior? And that behavior that is not actionable can not be the basis for an exception?

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2:07 pm

Bert Deixler: Yes, the behavior that a previous case said could affect the time bar can’t be constitutionally protected behavior, and I thin that’s the case here.

They’re done.

Now it’s Laura’s side’s turn.

Blumberg: The way we read the court of appeal opinion is that Laura’s association with Scientology during her formative years and as a young adult, and in that context, her participation while a member in the Sea Org — basically, if you brought action against the church you’ll never see your parents again, you’ll be harassed — these are the things she believed would happen if she filed a lawsuit.

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2:08 pm

Blumberg: Secondly, I think there is a clear difference between Constitutionally protected activity and activity that could be applied to an equitable estoppel.

Sohigian: Let me just ask you about the first leg, the early experience point. Your contention is that experiences she had before she left were so powerful that they themselves constituted an estoppel?

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2:12 pm

Sohigian: While she was in the organization, she was told that if she leaves or contemplates actions adverse to the organization…dire consequences would ensue. That’s your contention?

Blumberg: Yes, but also the things that happened between 2004 and 2009.

Sohigian: What is it that you’re saying about those 2004-2009 events? Are you saying those things subjectively so weakened her that she was subjectively incapable earlier filing of the lawsuit? Or are you saying those events objectively … had so much weight their effects lasted after she left the denomination and that constitutes the estoppel? Or are you saying something else? … What the defense saying is that it’s not inequitable behavior if it’s constitutionally protected or non-actionable. Let’s get back to the parameters for estoppel….

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2:18 pm

Now they’re looking at the appeals court ruling again, still trying to define terms.

Laura’s attorney now citing some case law.

Blumberg: That is our position, the constitutionally-protected activity is not the shelter behind which they can hide.

Sohigian is taking apart the case law he just cited. Doesn’t think it really applies in Laura’s case.

Sohigian: I’m asking you about a case in which a potential defendant tries to persuade someone not to sue by assurances of compliance…and tries to say, don’t sue me now. In our case, your theory is that Ms. DeCrescenzo was forced to abort hat would have been a viable infant, she was, you’re going to say in trial, in essence enslaved. You’re going to say to trial she was forced to have abortion because pregnant women have a reduced work capacity, and they want her to work like an automaton and wouldn’t have time to care for herself during pregnancy or to take time off to care for an infant for breastfeeding. That would all have been known to Ms. DeCrescenzo that that was what she was subjected to. So what was it that keeps the other side from saying that we didn’t do anything to keep her from suing since she knew all that?

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2:21 pm

Sohigian: Threats to excommunicate, to disassociate, the church can do that as free speech. What’s your argument against that?

Blumberg: Our argument is that Laura was brought up with the idea that if she filed a complaint against the church she would be spied on, her family would be broken apart … and even if those are constitutionally protected activities, that still shouldn’t allow them keep her from filing sooner.

He points out that after she leaves the Sea Org, they got her a job and that conveniently keeps her under the influence of the church…

Sohigian: Whose convenience is that?

Blumberg fends that off. And keeps going. Will the church have been successful in keeping people from acting because of their influence, he asks. If that works then they will practically forever be immune.

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2:24 pm

Sohigian: You used the word ‘never’ or something like that, in other words you impute to the defense conduct that they would dissuade a member for all time.

Sohigian saying that Laura seems to be taking the position that she could any time file a lawsuit, forever, because of this lawsuit, and that there is no time bar at all. (Sohigian saying that’s what the church side could complain about.)

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2:25 pm

Sohigian seems to be arguing that the way Laura’s side is arguing this, it goes too far the other way — that there would never be a time bar against filing a lawsuit.

Blumberg: Calls that a straw man argument, an extreme position, and something the court could decide was reasonable or not.

Sohigian: How would the court decide that?

Blumberg: Motion for summary judgment, your honor.

Sohigian: Well, here we are!

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2:30 pm

Blumberg now referring to the court of appeal ruling, that it said in the court of appeal’s mind, this may constitute an estoppel which is allowable by law, and up to trial judge to decide if Laura’s argument is reasonable.

So Blumberg saying look, you have the facts to make a decision about this case. But Sohigian punking him a little, saying that if he decides this, what would keep someone else from arguing an even longer delay.

Blumberg again is explaining that the appeals court has asked the trial judge, Sohigian, to make this decision based on the facts in the case.

Sohigian now reading from appeals ruling, which refers to Laura being “brainwashed,” and the influence that the church had over her even after she left the Sea Org.

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2:35 pm

Sohigian still reading from the appellate ruling. Now asking for Blumberg to address when the effects she was under came to an END.

Blumberg seems a bit mystified about this. Laura’s team is trying to make the point that in 2008 Laura was still under the influence of Scientology, explaining why she filed her lawsuit late. They just want Sohigian to agree with that.

But Sohigian is saying, well, when did that influence stop? Could she have filed in 2010? 2011? How is he supposed to judge when she was no longer under that influence?

They’re now looking through Laura’s recent filings. Sohigian wants Blumberg to find something in the appeals ruling that answers question.

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2:39 pm

Kathryn Saldana finds the passage that they were looking for, and Sohigian now reading from it. They’re now looking over the ruling.

He’s helping the court reporter get some of that language down properly.

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2:41 pm

Every time Sohigian reads from the appellate ruling, it seems to bolster Laura’s argument. But then Sohigian keeps asking Blumberg to answer questions about it and how the law fits this case.

We’re a little confused about what he’s doing. Bert Deixler, on the church side, is just waiting patiently. Hard to tell what he thinks of all this.

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2:44 pm

Sohigian: He’s asking again, when did the influence END. Laura’s case has been that the influence hadn’t ended when left Scientology, and then only a few months later filed her lawsuit. But Sohigian wants to know how much longer could she have waited?

That seems like a weird question. But now Blumberg steps up.

Blumberg: July, 2008.

Sohigian: What happened then?

Blumberg: The realization that her parents would support her and not abandon her if she filed a lawsuit against the church. That’s when the clock actually started, he’s saying essentially.

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2:47 pm

Sohigian: Well, if that’s the case, what kept Laura from asking her parents earlier if they still loved her — we’re paraphrasing.

I think what Sohigian’s saying is that if he rules that the influence ended when she stumbled on her parents’ computer and saw ESMB, what would keep the defendants (the church) from deposing her and asking why she didn’t ask earlier how they felt about her?

Is Sohigian asking that Laura’s mistake was not being more curious about her parents earlier?

He’s complaining that this would be a result based purely on effects and not a rule. Blumberg now trying to deal with that.

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2:51 pm

Blumberg says Sohigian’s question seems to be, was Laura unreasonable not to ask her questions earlier? And he’s saying that falls under the same influence — that Scientology taught her not to ask questions like that.

Sohigian has them go back to the appeal ruling again. He’s reading from it.

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2:56 pm

Sohigian is back to asking Blumberg to explain and justify the appeal ruling.

Deixler has an outburst about the appeals court already deciding something. Sohigian asks him to hold on, but seems to agree with Deixler.

Blumberg: If the court believes on the evidence submitted that it needs no more than to rely on what’s on paper, then the court has the authority to make that determination now.

Sohigian: I’ll hear you for a little more then come back after lunch.

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2:59 pm

Sohigian: Your view is, because action accrued in 2004, that absent estoppel, the limitation period would have begun to run in that year, but there is at least a triable issue regarding the existence of the estoppel, but the argument does not make an argument that this is unlimited or that the time never begins to run in which to file a lawsuit, because the dates of expiration of the effects of the intimidation would have been around July 2008. And Ms. DeCrescenzo was actually filed in April 2009. That’s the way you organize your arguments that you are not promoting an unlimited period to file.

Blumberg agrees.

Then what Blumberg is now addressing and what Deixler had pointed out earlier appears to be a bit of a flub in the appeals order.

BREAK FOR LUNCH

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4:36 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, Spackle. The 9th floor cafeteria made a decent burrito.

Back in session.

Blumberg now talking again. Says he had a chance at lunch to reconsider what the judge had been asking him.

Blumberg: I guess it comes down to whether someone’s reasonable belief can be adduced from reading paper rather than through testimony, etc. And having considered that question I’m leaning very strongly that perhaps it needs to be a live proceeding.

Hm. interesting suggestion by Blumberg.

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4:39 pm

Back to Bert Deixler: It is in our judgment an issue that can be decided right now because of the lack of evidence.

There is no evidence that she ever considered a lawsuit before the time that she filed one.

Bert refers to case law, and Sohigian does think it’s important, so he’d gone to chambers to retrieve it. (That’s where his printer is, apparently.)

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4:44 pm

We’re looking at Lori Mills v. Forestex. Some people who owned a house sued a siding contractor. Similar issue of a time-barred complaint.

We’re hearing about a woman’s attempts to get her siding fixed.

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4:51 pm

Sohigian is still reading from this Mills case.

Sohigian: Is the Mills case one of those continuing reassurance cases, false sense of security cases, as distinguished from a case where the contention is, there was such an intense coercive or influential environment…that it is not that the plaintiff was lulled into a false sense of security, but that she was virtually paralyzed and didn’t recognize that legal rights could be asserted?

Hm, that’s putting Bert on the spot.

Deixler: The court of appeal has asked to focus on whether there were representations to her not to file suit… and therefore Mills case applies.

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4:53 pm

Sohigian: Why do you say “representations”?

This seems to throw Deixler off a bit.

We have to hand it to Sohigian that he’s gone after attorneys on both sides on their arguments. On Laura’s side, he’s implied that they’ve asked for something too open-ended. On the church’s side, he says they’re relying on case law which is about a person not filing earlier because they were lulled into a false sense of security, which really doesn’t seem to describe Laura D.

Interesting.

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4:55 pm

Bert Deixler: The representations point is addressed by Mills. Bert goes on trying to equate the elements in the Mills case with Laura’s.

He’s saying again that there was nothing in the period 2004-2008 that was “untoward.” Freeloader debt, not “untoward”? Wow.

Anything further, judge asks.

I’ve heard all the argument. I need to make a decision, he says.

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4:58 pm

First he’s going to make a ruling on evidentiary questions.

Evidentiary objection documents, he’s referring to.

Sohigian: Is there a way I can deal with the objections you really want ruled on…or do you want me to go through each objection?

For example, plaintiff’s set of objections is 37 pages. (I’m assuming these are on depositions that were previously done?)

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5:03 pm

Sohigian seems to be asking a strange question that has all of the lawyers befuddled.

While they’re waiting for him to rule on the summary judgment ruling, he’s asking them if they want him to go over every objection that was made in evidentiary matters (depositions, we’re assuming). But how can they answer that before a ruling?

It’s really seemed to throw them.

They’re taking a short break to deal with it.

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5:07 pm

Answer to a reader question: No, Laura D. is not in the courtroom today. Just her attorneys.

Lawyers back in the courtroom. Allison tells me she thinks Sohigian is going to rule against Laura, but he expects it to immediately go on appeal.

We’ll see.

Waiting for the judge to come back in.

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5:19 pm

Still waiting for Sohigian.

At the break, we saw him in the hall. He’s a short guy. Hard to tell that when he’s up there behind the bench.

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5:24 pm

Here we go. Sohigian back in the courtroom.

Blumberg saying they waive oral argument. Same for defense side. But Sohigian says that’s not what he’s asking.

He’s asking if they want him to RULE on all the objections in the evidence.

I’ll just rule on the objections, he says. What, are we going to be here all day before his ruling on the summary judgment?

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5:27 pm

Starting with plaintiff’s evidentiary objections.

Gary Soter just got up and left. We don’t blame him.

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5:28 pm

“Objection one. Overruled.”

“Objection two. Overruled.”

“Objections three. Overruled.”

Just shoot me.

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5:31 pm

Objections 11 through 14 involve words…

“Thetan. Engram. Clearing the Planet. OT Data.”

I do wish to say that I examined the material and recognize that these are special terms.

He’s overruled every objection so far, so we’re not sure why he’s taking the time to remark on these at this point. But hey, a little funny.

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5:35 pm

“23 overruled. 24 overruled. 25 overruled.”

This was apparently a deposition of Laura taken by Bert Deixler. Her attorney had been objecting about Bert’s use of Scientology terms? Hard for us to know without the deposition in front of us.

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5:37 pm

Tikk points out that these are objections that Laura’s attorneys made in the Warren McShane deposition. OK.

We’d like our lawyer readers to tell us, is this customary for a judge to sit and go over these, one by one, in court? Especially when we’re all waiting for a ruling?

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5:39 pm

50, overruled, 51 overruled, 52, overruled…

Sohigian: I think what I’ve done is overruled every objection made by the plaintiff.

We think you’re right, judge.

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5:42 pm

Now, defense evidentiary objections.

Objections to Shannon Kimoto and Christie Collbran declarations. Then another set of objections to Robert D. Levine. Then third one, objections to Laura’s declaration.

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5:43 pm

Objection to entirety of Kimoto and Collbran declarations.

Overruled.

Now to DeCrescenzo.

Objection one. Overruled.
Objection two. Overruled.
Objection three. Overruled…

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5:46 pm

We’ll say this — Sohigian does seem pretty familiar with the material. He’s definitely read these declarations in detail.

He’s overruled every objection to Laura’s declaration so far.

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5:54 pm

He’s giving us another law lesson.

Now, the last set of objections, to Levine — he’s the expert who wrote on mind control.

“Mr. Levine has not been a stranger to Metzger law firm disputes with Scientology,” Sohigian says.

He says a federal judge (Headley case?) called a Levine declaration one of the most worthless she’d ever seen and struck it.

In the Headley case, what had happened was that professor Levine had reviewed some deposition transcripts, and Judge Fisher felt that was … what did he say? Not sure.

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5:59 pm

Sohigian: The main thrust of Mr. Levine’s testimony was that the plaintiff was shaped or manipulated by the Scientology group so she couldn’t make decisions, couldn’t decide what reality was. Levine says she was in the grip of this organization.

It looks from the record as if Levine has not examined the plaintiff. The record appears to indicate that he hasn’t had a conversation with the plaintiff, and so the defense position is, you just can’t treat that as an adequately founded expert opinion for a number of reasons.

Defense is asking to exclude Levine. Now he asks Blumberg to comment.

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6:04 pm

(Sohigian notes that objections to Levine go on for 54 pages. But maybe he shouldn’t accept it at all.)

Blumberg says Levine’s declaration was made as a hypothetical argument, based on what Laura had said in her declaration.

But Sohigian says if you read Levine’s words, he doesn’t sound like he’s discussing a hypothetical situation.

(OK, the Bunker here wants to insert an editorial comment: Now you see why we never get bogged down in arguments about “mind control” or “brainwashing.” It’s a waste of time. We notice that Ray Jeffrey and Ted Babbitt haven’t bothered with so-called mind control experts. We found Levine’s declaration fascinating, but we tend to stay away from that stuff. OK, back on the record.)

Sohigian and Blumberg now sparring over the word “hypothetical.” This is such a waste of time. Just punt on the Levine declaration and get to the ruling, Blumberg.

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6:09 pm

Blumberg still trying to save the Levine declaration. Well, what else can he do. So Sohigian starts to drill down into it.

Warren McShane can’t take it. He goes outside for a break. Damn, we wish we could go with him.

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6:15 pm

OK, judge, we get it. You weren’t impressed by Robert D. Levine’s declaration. So instead of arguing with Blumberg about whether it was a “hypothetical” exercise or not, why don’t you just strike it from the record? What are your problems with the way some professor wrote his analysis of the evidence worth spending all this time on? Scientology turned over 18,000 PAGES of evidence that showed how a 12-year-old girl was manipulated to work 98-hour week at pennies an hour so that she would ignore her homesickness and her mother’s desire to see her. That’s what you’ve been asked to rule on.

Tory Christman just walked in. She’s in for a treat.

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6:18 pm

What would be your response to Levine’s declaration in Judge Fisher’s case, Sohigian asks.

Blumberg says he didn’t read it because it was a case with a different set of facts.

Well, apparently Blumberg argued well enough that Sohigian is not going to throw out the Levine declaration entirely. But now he’s going to rule an the 54 pages of objections. Oh joy!

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6:20 pm

As he goes through and overrules objections in the Levine declaration…

A summing up: Both sides have made their arguments about the church’s motion for summary judgment. Sohigian has apparently made up his mind about it. But he is not going to tell us his ruling until he first deals with hundreds of pages of objections to specific pieces of evidence that had previously been entered into the record.

He knows that however he rules on the church’s motion, it will be appealed, and so he wants to get the evidentiary issues done while we’re all here.

So we wait and wait as he says “overruled, overruled, overruled…”

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6:22 pm

And after all that, he overruled every single objection to Levine.

Now, on to the substantive ruling.

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6:25 pm

Sohigian: This case was filed in 2009. It has been to the appellate course once, and it’s back here. Something he ruled was reversed. When that happens sometimes counsel files to take off the judge, but that didn’t happen. He still has it.

Plaintiff alleges that she was employed by the Church of Scientology and lived and worked at the facility here in Los Angeles. Became pregnant, was forced to have an abortion through threat of her job, housing, and husband. She alleges she was told she would be subjected to freeloader debt, she claims that she was told she was owed that because she got Scientology training and services. She alleges CSI had a policy of forcing female employees to have abortions if they became pregnant. One of the reasons was to get more work out of them. She says she was under the influence of the defendants’ organizations. And either she or the lawyers or both use this term “brainwashing.” I think what she’s referring to is a comprehensive high-pressure indoctrination and coercion so as to dominate an individual…

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6:30 pm

Sohigian: She says that she was taken from her family. In her second amended complaint a host of legal theories. Action based on forced abortion, common law forced abortion, third cause is for deprivation of liberty, fourth cause is for false imprisonment, fifth for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Sixth is for labor violations. Seventh is for violation of business code.

Moving papers filed a year ago (Scientology’s motion for summary judgment). Oct 25, 2012. The delays that have ensued since then are not pertinent to this case. They stem from evidentiary concerns, extraordinary appeals to CA Supreme Court, US Supreme Court.

Church moving on theory that Laura’s claims are time-barred.

Says he’s gone through every objection item by item. Comprehensive objections and individual objections. I think I’ve discharged my obligations with respect to that.

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6:33 pm

Sohigian: I’m going to talk briefly now about the methods that I used to reach a decision.

Our law is that the movants (church) has to prove that there is no disputable triable issue of material fact for a summary judgment…

In the first place, I’m required to use a three-step process. Discussed in a large number of cases on appellate level.

1. Identify issues framed by pleadings. 2. Movants have reached burden. 3. Opposing party has shown that a triable issue of material fact exists.

Obviously, if step two is not carried out, you don’t have to go to step three. But i got to all three steps in this case.

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6:35 pm

Sohigian: Aguilar 2001 case he’s citing now. Also Selzor (?) case in the same volume.

I’m denying the motion for summary judgment.

Based on declaration and deposition of DeCrescenzo, there is a triable issue of material fact.

W O W

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6:37 pm

Sohigian: The central issue is, with respect to the time-bar issue, is the triable issue of material fact in regards to an estoppel.

I find that there is a triable issue of material fact, he says.

What a poker player. Sohigian was hammering Laura’s case all day. And now he’s found for her based on HER testimony.

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6:45 pm

Sohigian: There is a foundation in this record in which there are triable issues of material fact concerning… plaintiff was, in effect, a child in this Scientology. She started out by volunteering at only six or seven years old — and there may be question whether that’s really volunteering when she’s so young. She got involved at 12 in Sea Org, she moved away from her family. She lived in the Scientology facility in Los Angeles. This Sea Org is evidently a kind of a missionary activity or an office for a propagation for the faith, or something like that. This leaving and going with this organization, at that time she was just about beginning junior high school student. What they got her to do was sign some kind of a paper saying she would work for them basically indefinitely. There’s a number on the paper, a billion years. And that’s when she was 12. When she was 25 she left. When she went into that organization, she didn’t communicate in the standard way with her parents and other family members. Her mail was opened. There was someone present when she communicated with her family members. They did this evidently to make sure she didn’t say anything negative about the organization. She has given testimony that she was apprehensive about whether she was going to be punished. Part of the training was that she wouldn’t say anything negative about the Sea Org or Scientology, and if she did do that, she’d be declared treasonous. Then she’d be given base duties, extra duty. She was also told that she had to report anything that came out of the family, statements or behaviors, that was contrary to Scientology…

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6:49 pm

Sohigian: So here you have a 12-year-old youngster who didn’t regularly interact with her family. And she would have to undergo a “check,” apparently a set of interrogations. (He’s talking about a “sec-check.”) And there’s evidence that you sort of had to pass this test to be able to leave. And the persons that give this test have to be sure that you’re not going to leave permanently. So in this time, middle and late adolescence, there is evidence to show that she went a couple of years without seeing her parents. And this period of time elapsed because she wasn’t let out.

(Clearly, the judge was deeply impressed by Laura’s description of her life in the Sea Org. He’s trying to sound neutral about it, but he was evidently impressed by what she described and how the evidence supported her story.)

When she was in this Sea Org, she had to make out a questionnaire — a life history questionnaire. He goes through some questions…

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6:53 pm

Sohigian is bringing up specifically the question about asking the Sea Org member to admit to homosexual acts and detail them. Yeah, great questionnaire, Scientology.

Now he’s talking about her incredible hours. And even when she wasn’t on the clock, she had to stay around the Scientology facilities, or go with an escort.

In 2001, she went to the RPF. He explains to the court reporter that it stands for “Rehabilitation Project Force.” Damn right, judge.

How her hours got even worse then, with lights out at 10:30. He’s relating it to his own days in the service! Wow.

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6:56 pm

Sohigian talking about Laura’s sleep deprivation, and little time for hygiene or changing clothes.

Paid only 10 to 50 dollars a week. And during this time no formal schooling. She did take a high school proficiency exam. But didn’t get any other schooling.

She could not freely come and go. (He’s really taking his time. This has got to be torture for Deixler, et al.)

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7:00 pm

Sohigian: She observed when people would escape, they would do a “drill” (a “blow drill”) that would rely on credit card records, etc. So if she tried to leave, she would be tracked down and brought back involuntarily.

Well, she did try to leave and was in essence detained. Then was watched 24 hours. Interrogated. And not just interrogation, but that she was told what to say.

During RPF, about three or four years, she left the facility fewer than 20 times. She did not have access to her identification or money. Never allowed to have more than 20 dollars on her. Her passport was locked up.

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7:02 pm

Sohigian’s recitation is going so long, Katie Saldana has asked for a short break!

So Sohigian asks Bert Deixler if he wants to waive the rest of the recitation. Bert says no! “It’s useful to us, your honor.”

Oh, that had to hurt.

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7:06 pm

Blumberg telling another reporter what the decision was about: That Sohigian has found that he can’t make a ruling today about the truth or falsity of the facts in this case — that’s for a jury to decide at trial.

And after he recites the facts in the record, the judge will then explain to us about the time-bar. So we’re sticking for the bitter end. May be a little while before the judge is back.

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7:10 pm

OMG. Wise Beard Man just walked in and sat down behind us.

THE BUNKER FINALLY MEETS MR. BUNKER

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7:20 pm

Sohigian back in the courtroom. He now is talking about Laura finally leaving the RPF and the Sea Org. She was upset, she was unstable. But she was counseled that she should stay. She was afraid that if she left, bad things would happen. So in April 2004, she wanted to get out of RPF, but SO put her on hard labor ten hours a day. So she drank some bleach as quasi-suicidal behavior.

Now he’s referring to an affidavit she signed when she left the Sea Org, saying at the time that she benefited from the SO.

He points out that when Laura was seven years old, she picketed this courtroom! “Picketing a courthouse doesn’t usually affect judges, but I think it’s meant to affect the public,” he says.

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7:25 pm

Sohigian: Laura believed that the penalties for speaking out against the church would cost her millions of dollars. And she was asked to periodically sign forms about her loyalty to the church. This was an act of surveillance, she says. She also claimed that she was trained to report anybody who took a negative action against the church. So she claims that she was trying to weave her way through this thicket of fears and apprehensions. And this disabled her from acting more promptly, and that all of this was the fault of the defendants.

She claims she remained active in this organization (Scientology) and she was doing that because she was scared, that she would be cut off from her family, declared a “suppressive person.” Her apprehension was that the Scientology organization and its members would smear her. And that she’d seen that happen to other people. She did get a freeloader bill of 0,000, she got calls about it, and she actually paid ,000. This led her to believe that the organization was keeping its eyes on her. She actually went to work for a Scientologist-owned business in order to pay her freeloader bill. You could say this was an indication that she was not as scared as she says she was, but there’s another potential implication, that it’s circumstantial evidence that she was under continuing surveillance.

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7:30 pm

Sohigian saying that Laura, between 2004 to 2008, continued to get calls from church members, which indicated to her that she was being observed and snooped on.

It was in 2008 that she first began to consult information critical of Scientology. She thought if she gave her identity, Scientology would send someone to “handle” her — keep her from speaking out. But in autumn of 2008, she contacted another former Sea Org member, and started to talk about a lawsuit. Then she was visited in January 2009 by church members asking her about ESMB. This was indication in her mind that Scientology was monitoring her online communications. After they left, she found a piece of paper with instructions on how to “handle” her.

She was contacted by a lawyer and then filed a lawsuit in 2009. So my view is, this creates a triable issue of material fact concerning the time-bar defense. It is not conclusive in either direction. I think that under the circumstances I have an obligation to deny the motion for summary judgment in all respects.

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7:33 pm

Asks Blumberg to write an order for it tomorrow.

Sohigian: As has been customary in this case, the lawyers have done a good job. I don’t want anything I’ve said to be interpreted as a criticism of the lawyers on either side.

And that’s it. Wow. What a stunning result.

November 12 status hearing will be the next thing.

Now, will Scientology appeal?

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  • KJP in Portland

    Yes, today, LISA McPHERSON is SMILING, make that BEAMING from above!!!

    • Sarah James

      I think so too:)

  • Candygram

    I have upvoteitis today. I can’t stop. I hope it hasn’t been too much of a hazard. ‘night all! party hardy tony, laura and crew :)

    • Guest

      Candygram, Everytime I see your username, I think of that Land Shark skit on the first year of “Saturday Night Live”.

      You’re that clever shark, aren’t you?

      • Candygram

        Egad. I wish i were. I was thinking of my moniker today. Either it’s system-assigned, or i was drunk. It’s very unlike any of my other names. Thanks for the blind vote of coolness tho :)

      • Miss Tia

        Me too!!! “Candygram” !

  • Aslansown

    Tomorrow I hope we get photos of the greatest SP party ever!

    • Tory Christman

      If you go to Tory Christman on Facebook, you’ll see a few fun ones. :)

      • Aslansown

        Hi Tory,

        I just looked at all your pictures — I don’t see any from yesterday. Is that because my brain is still asleep? 😉

  • gobsmackedby Scieno

    Away all day at work after checking in here early morning. This is wonderful news and wonderful reporting. Always loved fictional courtroom drama, this is much better. Following the judges performance and final reasoning is riveting stuff. I hope Laura D. is sleeping soundly tonight.

    • aurora50

      There were lovely posts, FAR downstream now, from both her and her mom…thanking the Bunker and Tony.

      • gobsmackedby Scieno

        Thank you. I found them. What a joyous, affirming experience in that courtroom, for everyone. For all of those abused young ‘uns, this is a definite message that people DO care.

        • aurora50

          In the courtroom and in homes and offices and apparently hiking trails all around the world! very electric moments of waiting and such an outpouring of celebration at the judge’s decision…and then he kept going with his comments…that was very heartwarming to read, and share with the others here.

          So glad there is the record here on the intertubes for all to share!

  • V4Vacation

    Epic.

    • Tory Christman

      EPIC WIN for Laura (and we all supporting her, her legal team, etc) EPIC FAIL FOR $CIENTOLOGY.
      I got a great shot of their “legal team” walking away, heads down. Their “We Stand Tall” wasn’t on, today….and rightfully so. Again, this Judge got it…and would repeat abuses done to Laura. I kept thinking: How can these JERKS sit there and continue to support $cientology when SO many abuses are spelled out for them? To any lurkers: WTFU!

  • edge

    Amazing news. Terrific reporting, Tony. Legal smackdowns, dwindling membership, idle orgs, celebrity defections, event chaos, and a mainstream media that is less and less afraid of them. Add it up and we have a Golden Age Of Taking Down The Cult!

  • Tory Christman

    ::::WOW::::!! What an amazing day and night! First, thanks to whomever answered me, hours ago when I asked here how long is this going to go? Someone was kind enough to say they thought most of the day. With that, I packed up, off on the subway–into the courtroom JUST as the Judge was ruling on 53 objections (all denied) YAY! and no summary Judgement: This is going to trial! Oh Laura….I’m SO proud and thankful of all that you’ve done, and your courage. Today was one great day! Also it was fabulous to SEE Tony O in action with his mouse on his tummy, typing away. This is the 1st Judge I’ve ever heard where I feel like he honestly gets it…really gets it. Mark Bunker arrived, Alicine from Media Mayhem was there, too. What a party! Finally we ended the night with drinks and :cheers: for Laura!! A grand time was had by all….both here and there :) Thank you, again, Tony O! Love to you ALL :) And Dave? LOL Oh baby, did I mention “Tick Tock, Tick Tock: Time is on *our* side? Yup…tis. :)

    • Guest
    • Tory Christman
      • Poison Ivy

        Double Royalty!

      • Candygram

        squeeeeeeeee!!!! fangrrrling!!

        • SciWatcher

          Edit: oops, replied to wrong person, moved comment above.

        • Tory Christman

          Candygram….I’m only not answering to this as I’m not sure what that communicates. Perhaps you could translate? LOL Love ya :)

          • ThetaBara

            I’m pretty sure it indicates excited admiration. :-)

            • Tory Christman

              Oh…….thanks, ThetaBara! I would have *never* gotten that from those words. :)

      • SciWatcher

        Now those are smiles of joy that the fake smiles in all the Scilon promos that get sent out will NEVER be apple to replicate!

        • Tory Christman

          Thanks, SciWatcher…that’s SO true. It’s pretty amazing how fake their ‘big smiles’ have gotten and how happy our side is, week after week, month after month. And oh boy there’s MUCH more to come, too!!

          • SciWatcher

            It is LONG overdue!

      • Natalia M

        Love it! I was hoping you’d make a vid tonight about all the excitement <3

        • Tory Christman

          Ya….it’s always fun when the Bunker is in the house :) Hopefully soon I can snag Tony O over, too, to make a video!

          • Graham

            Tory- great that you wore the Tee shirt!

            • Tory Christman

              Ya…it was sort of perfect in the courtroom with the Judge looking right at me. :) Naturally the Attorneys nearly fainted when they stood up and saw it. This was one wonderful day for Laura and ALL fighting to expose the abuses of $cientology. One EPIC FAIL for $cientology. HAHAAHAHA OSA: You F**D up AGAIN!

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        Great video– enjoyed it this morning with Mrs. D.

        You did not mention which restaurant all of you ended up at– but that you would post on your Facebook page. I can’t find that! Where are you on Facebook???

      • And I don’t rent cars!

        Yes and I am repeating Douglas D. Douglas’ question to you. He and I haven’t found you on Facebook, yet. If and when you have the time, could you post it for us in the Bunker? Thank you so much.

        And BTW, I enjoyed your great video with M. Bunker this morning as well! (Douglas D. Douglas sent me the link today!)

        What a hoot yesterday must have been for you! And it was for me as well – to read how you got to the courtroom (with the help of Tony Ortega’s readers) just in time to hear the Judge overruling all those pages of objections, for you to see Mark Bunker meet The Bunker (Tony) for the first time, and THEN to go out for dinner and drinks with those two. Not only that, but you thought to post a video of you and M. Bunker (WBM) for us here in the Bunker. Thanks for EVERYTHING!

        Could yesterday be any more exciting and fun – even for those of us here in the Bunker and from around the globe?! PHEW…

        By now, I’m sure you know how much you are a much beloved “celebrity” around these parts and strangers like me (whom you have never spoken to nor met) will write to you as if we have known each other for years. As I started writing this post I realized we never met, yet I feel like I’ve known you like… forever! After all this time, it’s lovely to finally “meet you” this way – even if I’m a day late in getting caught up in The Underground Bunker’s 3000+ comments from yesterday!

        Oh, BTW – people here call me Cars.

         

        P.S. Thank you for ALL that you do in helping people to get out of the cult and in educating the “never ins” about the horrors of it all – and, at the same time, spreading joy and laughter wherever you go!

        • Tory Christman

          Thank you, Cars, SO Much!!! Yes…it was quite amazing that due a few here at the Bunker, I changed from “darn, I missed it” to “Hey—I bet I CAN Make it”..and went! What a fantastic day and night, all around. :) You are most welcome and thank you, too!!

    • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

      A big cheer came up from the bunker when Tony announced your arrival, Tory. You are royalty in these parts!

      • Tory Christman

        awwww…..sweet. In my view—we’re all royalty and I SO much appreciate each one of you! Thank you, Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

        • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

          Thank you, Tory. Your comment and y’all’s video is a perfect end to an amazing day!

        • Poison Ivy

          Speaking of Sir Burlwood, before I say goodnight, may I present you, Tory, with:

    • ShoopZilla

      Did somebody say tick tock? I need to add Tony and Mark.

      • Tory Christman

        Hey great job, ShoopZilla :)

        • ShoopZilla

          Thanks Tory :-)

      • Poison Ivy

        Beautiful – but where’s your sig?

        • ShoopZilla

          I did this last week and didn’t go back to “sign” it before reposting it tonight.

          • Poison Ivy

            Well, we’ll know it’s yours by the style and quality (love your eye for layout as well!)

            • ShoopZilla

              :-)

            • ShoopZilla

              I’m thinking I might enlarge the background and add more cult-killers.

            • Poison Ivy

              Yes!

            • ShoopZilla

              I doubt I’ll find anyone posing as perfectly as Tory is in that photo, though. It’s like she’s turned her back to the cult and is looking up right at slappy.

            • Tory Christman

              It’s true! I don’t even remember where that photo is from. Do you? Either way,
              it IS perfect for this! Thank you, again :)

            • ShoopZilla

              I have no idea, but here’s a reduced size version of the original.

            • Tory Christman

              hmmmmmm those are my old, old glasses and I can tell from my weight, too, that was some years ago. Doesn’t matter: I *love* the TT TT and “Dave” hanging from the clock and me looking at him: PERFECT! :) Thank you, ShoopZilla!!

            • ShoopZilla

              Google is an amazing tool (too amazing sometimes). Anyway, simply by googling the image address I found that the photo is from September 17, 2005 at something called HSSB. Humanist Society of Santa Barbara, maybe? Here’s the link to more photos. http://www.swt.org/temp/forroger/torychristman/

            • Tory Christman

              Sounds right…I did speak to the Humanist Society back then, thank you! :)

    • KJP in Portland

      (((hugs))) you’re our champion!

      • Tory Christman

        KJP in Portland…it was truly an honor to be able to zip down there and get there JUST IN TIME for the big decisions! ((Hugs)) to you, and thank you! :)

    • WhereIsSHE

      So cool that you got there in time for the ruling, Tory!!
      LOVE YOU, Lady=)
      You are always a ray of sunshine=)

      • Tory Christman

        Thanks, WhereIsSHE! I agree….the timing was amazing, the Judge great and the evening dinner with Mark and Tony THE BEST! :)

        • WhereIsSHE

          Here’s to hoping that other people still trapped in the “Truman Show” get out in time to experience real friendship with great companions someday.
          (That had to be one special evening. So glad you got OUT; so grateful for your courage to not only speak out, but to help others find their way back to reality.)
          I hope Tony got enough to eat! He was surviving on LifeSavers this morning=(!!

          • Tory Christman

            Again, thanks, WhereIsSHE :) I agree…..hopefully more and more people SEE their true “leader” (who now says he has n/t to do with ‘the church or RTC” REALLY? REALLY? I cannot imagine staying after *that*. What a weasel! Me too, re SO glad I’m OUT. I love helping others and many of you on-line have helped me for years…so thank each of you. Yes, Tony got plenty to eat and shall have more in days to come :) He certainly deserves it!

      • SciWatcher

        And thank you WhereIsSHE for your help in deciphering all the legalize. All the time.

        • WhereIsSHE

          =)

      • And I don’t rent cars!

        And so are you WIS!

        And, might I add, not only a ray of sunshine but a ray of light that picks up and points out the legal details buried amongst the shadows and dark corners of the Co$’s courtroom shenanigans and “strategies.”

        Thanks for joining us here in the Bunker and helping to educate us and making us laugh, too! You are quite something! And from your posts, I get the impression you are multi-talented with a multitude of interests as well.

        At first, I thought that if I ever needed legal help, I’d like to be in a position to hire you. Now… I think I just want to BE you! (Gosh, hope that doesn’t sound too creepy! Sincerely hope you know what I mean! — If not, it’s meant to be a huge compliment BTW.) :-)

        P.S. Sorry I’m so late in posting this “thank you” for your help but I’m still trying to get caught up on yesterday’s comment blizzard.

        • WhereIsSHE

          {{{{{{{{And I don’t rent cars}}}}}}}} <–that's a hug=)
          BTW…. i LOVE your name here!! It cracks me up all the time!! The "And" at the beginning is the best!

          • And I don’t rent cars!

            Ha! Thanks – for the hug and telling me the “And” in my name cracks you up. There are several layers of irony in my choice of it, although I keep wanting to change the name and avatar (it was my first combo and still is the only one I have and use) as I keep thinking it is no longer appropriate for the Bunker. Especially now that the site has grown from several hundred to several thousand comments in one short year and Tony’s posts are getting legally denser and some of them deal with former, and current, members and their experiences in the cult.

            In any case, just coz I’m so fond of you and your posts, I’ll reveal the next to final layer of irony in my choice of name and avy: Due to long term, chronic health problems that inevitably led to long term, chronic financial problems, I no longer even own a car nor can I rent one! (I have had to rely on pubic transportation exclusively ever since.)

            Next, because of your profession and familiarity with other languages, your great sense of humor, etc., I suspect you enjoy puzzles, mysteries or mysterious things, riddles… that sort of thing. So I’ll reveal the final clue to the last layer that would identify me. Ready…. I’m sure you are familiar with this Latin phrase… here goes: rara avis

            Have fun.

            In the meantime, I’m going back to Tony’s post of today and the Garcia case. I suspect I’ll find you there, once again helping us out in understanding another complex legal issue. :-)

            • WhereIsSHE

              LINDSAY LOHAN!! Is that YOU?!!! (I kid, I kid;)

              I like the clue.
              You are a “rare bird” (meant in the most complimentary of fashions=)

              *I haven’t thoroughly read Tony’s post yet today. Shhhhhh;)
              Just got back from a tennis match.
              But from a cursory glance, I’d say Scott did a lovely job of explaining the basics of federal court subject matter jurisdiction, which is not an easy task to accomplish, and particularly in the space of a Disqus comment box!

            • And I don’t rent cars!

              *I promise I won’t tell if you don’t tell I haven’t read the comments yet!
              Clue about clue: Don’t look for the translation nor the meaning of the Latin phrase. Simply pick one of the two words in the phrase, then compare the word you picked with my username.
              P.S. If this isn’t fun anymore, just tell me.
              P.P.S. I bet you are wicked good tennis player!

            • WhereIsSHE

              p.s. Sorry to hear about the history behind your “name”. But, I must tell you this: i love that, whether you intended to convery this or not– you “own” it.
              In other words, you could have selected more passive languge and called yourself “And I CAN’T rent cars”.

    • http://www.tingleff.org/jensting/muslinger/ Jens TINGLEFF

      Very cool you could be there (and the other critics). Drinks after a court victory is the kind of thing I had in mind when I donated to Underground Bunker last night :)

      • Tory Christman

        Thank you, Jens….for helping Tony! Yes, drinks made the ending even better. What a day and what a night!! :)

        • edge

          A drink to the Bunker, and to Laura and everyone else fighting the cult! Let’s start a pool too…what’s the over/under on Davey skipping graduation again this Friday?

          • WhereIsSHE

            I’m not a betting girl, but I’d say it’s pretty much a definite that he is a no-show. AGAIN!
            (I love Mike Rinder’s reports on that topic!!)

            • edge

              Me too. Some of the leaked letters he gets are literally insane!

            • WhereIsSHE

              Those emails are the BEST!! ha! “GIVE US ALL OF YOUR MONEY. NOW! errr.. YESTERDAY. …. Are you coming to FLORIDA for the SUPERPOWERS non-opening/GATII non-release party?? Well, ARE YOU?? And how soon can you get here if we don’t tell you the date? Do you know how to pack clothing for a trip to Florida for a non-release/non-opening party?? Well, DO YOU?? If not, we will tell you! You have to bring every last cent in your name and make it easy to pick-pocket upon your arrival at the Ft. Harrison, that’s how, you DUMMIES! OH!! Did we tell you that you can UP your STATUS if you lie to your spouse and remortgage your home–AGAIN–and give us the last bit of equity you have left in it, since you are a scumbag PTS for not having given us every red cent the last time you remortgaged your worthless house?? Have you heard?! We now have spaghetti tossed with days-old cherry tomatoes, “fresh” from the salad bar–and don’t mind the fact that the lettuce on the salad bar is turning brown as we type this! Anyhooooo… GIVE US YOUR MONEY, you low-life! OH.. sorry.. if this the cornerstone whatever group?? Ummm… BRING MORE MONEY and you can now do OT8 right after OT2 for all we care! That’s right! If you have enough money to GIVE US.. like RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE…you can just do whatever the hell you want! It’s MARTY who is squirreling the tech, you idiots, so don’t ask any questions about how lucky you are that COB is allowing you to pick and choose… or do you want to spend the next few years in ETHICS?? OH! What’s that?! You still have MONEY??! Well, you are soo SPECIAL! We just LOVE you and you can do whatever courses you want in whatever order you please!! But… ARE YOU COMING TO FLORIDA< or WHAT??!"
              LOLOL!

            • edge

              My personal favorite was the one where David Wilson made a donation without telling his wife, and then tells of how he had a “theta communication” (I guess Scientology’s version of the vulcan mind meld) with Davey! He read his mind! And what did his mind say? “I want more money!”

            • Poison Ivy

              He said he saw Davey “scanning the audience” during the applause.
              Yep. He was looking for the exits, in case he had to make a quick run for it when the Feds showed up.

            • WhereIsSHE

              totally!!
              That was hilarious!!!
              And everyone over at Rinder’s blog had soooo much fun with that–for days!! (And still!)

              I also had a good time reading the recent one telling the recipients what they need to pack to wear while they are there –as though they are going someplace they’ve never been and the climate and activities are completely foreign to them. (But still does not tell them WHEN anything is supposedly happening!!)

            • edge

              Ya I read that one too. WTF is upstat clothing?!

            • DodoTheLaser

              Anything that looks appropriate to attend the major douche bag convention.

            • Tory Christman

              “Upstat clothing” means dress up vs “Upstat casual” which began in the late 80’s- 90’s…nicely dressed but casual. Also “upstat clothing” can just mean nice clothes. So it depends how it’s used.”He had on upstat clothes” means his clothing was nice. “Make sure you were upstat clothing” means make sure to dress up. And there ya go :)

            • Drat

              LOL! It doesn’t take a mind reader to know that 😉

              Yes, that was one of the best (or worst) e-mails yet. They are becoming increasingly disjointed and incoherent, though. I wonder when someone will be able to get a “SAVE US!!!” out to their mailing list.

          • Tory Christman

            Absolutely, edge….we toasted Laura and ALL who are helping expose this insidious Cult of Scientology. Dave at Graduation? HA. I’ll put in $5 he’s not there. :) (If he does show…the $$ we collect goes to Tony O. If he doesn’t show….whatever we collect, he’s billed! (And the $$ goes to Tony O :)

            • Poison Ivy

              If we all bet that Davey doesn’t show Friday, maybe we can fund our own SP Org with the money!
              Because he’s scared out of his mind, paralyzed, and he’s NOT going to show!
              Cluck cluck cluck Davey….

    • Robert Eckert

      I was the one who guessed this judge was the type to stretch it out to the end of the afternoon; Jimmy Threetimes was the guy who google-fu’d the building directory. Great that you got to be there, great that Mark Bunker was there, and I like seeing the two of you in a vid and hearing about him pleasantly touring Orange County Ideal Org until they rumbled him.

      • Tory Christman

        Hey thanks, Robert! You were my inspiration for thinking I may be able to make it, and thus going down there and WOW what a day it was :)
        It took me quite awhile to FIND them, but once I did..as I’ve said….it was PERFECT timing!

  • Noni Mause

    I smell a jury trial. Oh, they are going to get so walloped by a jury.

    • WhereIsSHE

      Imagine a group of jurors out there, getting to hear the details about the criminally insane conduct that goes on in that “church”.
      A 12 yr old girl.. having to sign a billion year contract… just for starters.
      Being kept from her family.. when she was utterly homesick.
      Being trained to LIE to her family about her true feelings.
      Being demanded to REPORT on her family members, on herself.
      That whole “it’s part of our RELIGION” argument is going to make it even WORSE, IMO.
      And that’s probably why the case will settle before trial.
      Because they know they cannot “survive” the kind of publicity that a trial about a “church” which forces (entrapped) teenage (slave labor) parishioners to abort pregnancies that they would otherwise choose to carry to term would entail.

      • Poison Ivy

        A 12-year old girl – who just wants to call her Mommy. I get really choked up when I think of that.

        • WhereIsSHE

          Me too=(
          She was just a little girl=(((

          • Poison Ivy

            I still want to call my Mom when things get rough and she’s been gone 30 years. That little girl…thank God she and her Mom have each other now. Not all CO$ families get reunited at all.

            • Sandy

              pi – i am retirement age and I still want to call my Mom when anything goes wrong! Truly. Mom’s 94

        • Patient Nurse

          That fact alone wins the trial for me. Heartwrenching. Will hit every adult in the gut. What kind of a group keeps children away from their parents and in the name of religion? Truly Evil and Psycho!

          • DodoTheLaser

            Jenna Miscavige went through the same, if not worse. Children robbed of childhood.

        • Noni Mause

          I know. That part really gets me too. Lets hope that some major league legal smackdown is on its way. It’s well overdue.

        • Nevermore

          My mum hates swearing, but she used an extremely bad word when I read that out to her. Child abuse, pure and simple.

      • ShoopZilla

        Hmmmmmm…Has anyone thought to email info about the cult’s forced abortions to pro-life groups?

      • Noni Mause

        Oh, yay, verily, yay. Those released dox potentially have enough TNT in them to bring the whole rotten joint down. A jury would be horrified and looking to give the maximum compensatory payout, I’d imagine. I think they will definitely TRY to settle – ensures that as much as possible stays under wraps and they can pull the tatters of their religious cloak around them and claim some phony high ground. eg poor deluded Laura, we couldn’t put her through it… The sports fan in me wants her to TAKE THEM DOWN. The human in me will be happy if she makes the best decision for herself at the time, no matter what it is.

        • Robert Eckert

          I can imagine a question coming to the judge from the jury deliberation room: “Are we really restricted to awarding only money? Are you sure we can’t give out years in prison?”

      • InterestedObserver12

        The cult will undoubtedly make settlement offers. Please Laura – for the sake of all the other children caught in this evil group – only accept a settlement if it is unconditional. I beg you not to agree to a settlement that includes no admission of liability and non-disclosure of the terms. Please.

  • MereCatWatcher

    Thousands of comments! And now thousands and one!

  • SciWatcher

    Oh my god, I had to go to bed, and all night I’ve been having anxious dreams that the Scilons would win out. This is freaking awesome!

    • Sarah James

      You really are in for a good morning!

  • media_lush

    …. and my final contribution tonight…. it involves male masseurs and John Travolta… even when he’s done nothing wrong [we don’t know that, ed] he’s a target for Radar [they even made a gif out of his head]

    http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2013/10/john-travolta-male-masseuse-massage-boston-exhale-spa/

    • Sarah James

      I, like most people do not care if he is bi /gay. Not an issue, but the mags make such a big deal. If he forces himself on someone then yes he should be in jail. What I can’t stand about him is how he turns a blind eye to the cult he promotes. The media turns a blind eye to to the abuses as well. I think he is scum because he knows what goes on in the sea org and he does not care.

      • Poison Ivy

        Not only that, the cult actively condemns homosexuality. So that’s a condemnation of all gay people in or out of the cult. Unacceptable.

        • Sarah James

          Your right. The cherch has a different set of rules for the celeb bots. Tom sees Suri. No disconnection for Tom. Radar brought that detail up. I guess I should give them more credit.

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        He keeps his mouth shut and his behind in line because imagine his PC folders; McSavage has every overt in JT’s life. And with the rumors, imagine what the truth may be. He will *never* speak out about the cherch. Maybe when he retires and has nothing to lose. Til then, no chance he’ll speak out.

    • jeff

      I clicked on that link in the article of celebrity Scientologists. Linda Blair is a clam? That’s news to me.

  • SciWatcher

    Congratulations to all of you who were ever in and all of you who’ve been hurt by this cult…this is a victory for everyone!

    • Sarah James

      Same to you!

  • edge

    Hey Dave, are we still “standing tall?”

    • SciWatcher

      We might be…he never is.

      (Although who am I kidding, I’m shorter than he is!)

      • EnthralledObserver

        But are you are self-proclaimed “Big Being”? That’s the greatest irony.

        • SciWatcher

          Well of course I am! Haha

    • dmscohb

      I would say he was just knocked down a peg, but, well, since that’s a physical impossibility…

  • DodoTheLaser

    So why is it that any atheist can freely tour any real church and Mark Bunker or anyone critical of scientology is not allowed to get a tour in that “church”? Rhetorical question, but feel free to answer/comment.

    • dmscohb

      Oh, come on now. They give GREAT tours to critics. Tommy boy gave John Sweeney a very friendly tour of $cientology – history and… stuff. Quite pleasant. Sparked some real spirited debate!

      • DodoTheLaser

        Oh yeah, the tomato incident. My bad. ROFL!
        P.S. It worked out for Tommy Davis really well.
        We might hear from him very soon.

    • Poison Ivy

      Mormons have certain temples off-limits to non-believers. But as far as I know, they don’t kick people critical of LDS out of their public buildings, etc – I worked on a doc somewhat critical of them (about an event in their history which was horrifying and a blot on their reputation) and I got permission to spend a week in their archives. And I was upfront about what I was doing.

      EDIT – are there some Mosques that are off-limits? What about Masonic temples?

      • DodoTheLaser

        Thank you! Clearly, Mormons know more about PR than scientologists!

        EDIT – Freemasonry is not a religion to my knowledge, with that said – you have to be a member to participate. With Mosques – pretty sure anyone can show up, at least in EU and US.

        • Poison Ivy

          They learned the hard way, but they learned. But then, they actually encourage secular higher education, beyond reading The Book of Mormon. Doh.

        • Robert Eckert

          Westboro Baptists know more about PR than Scientologists!

          • DodoTheLaser

            Heh, I wouldn’t go that far. They are just not hiding their wackiness as much.

      • BigMcLargeHuge

        I once walked into the world headquarters of the LDS Church to do some research in a little library there and asked the desk person there a question. They called upstairs and I was suddenly talking directly to the official spokesperson for the church. Was crazy. They are very good at PR (helps they have a major media empire). Temples are also open for public tours before they are consecrated.

        I have a lot of issues with the LDS Church (which I grew up in before leaving and my family goes back to being personally converted by Joseph Smith) but it is one million times better than Co$.

      • jmh

        Some of the mosques in more hostile middle eastern countries will not let non-believers in- but they are a select few extremists. As a general rule… in regular islamic society it is actually encouraged.

      • D.Y.G.

        A person who is not a Freemason can enter a Masonic temple, but the lodge room is not for outsiders. There are some exceptions – special events that honor wives or members of the community.

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        You researched the Mountain Meadow Massacre in their own archives? Good for you.

        Mormon Temples are “sacred” and open only to specific Mormon faithful once they have been consecrated. They are open for public tours before that, usually.

        Mormon churches (Stake Houses, really) are open to all, as are their visitor’s centers. I was once discretely walked off the premises and left standing on the sidewalk, but it was done so skillfully that I was hardly aware it was happening until after it was done.

  • whenpigsswim

    Best. News. Ever. Well not EVER, that will be at the end of the trial.

  • edge

    Interesting how there’s 2822 comments on an article about a serious scientology loss in court and there’s no downvoter. Hmm, either someone’s missing stat night, or they’re not allowed to read articles like this. It’s one thing to lurk and downvote on articles that make the church look silly like event postponements…those are common. But ones about the church losing bigtime in court? Major entheta.

    • ThetaBara

      Louanne doesn’t want to write sec checks she can’t cash.

  • Noni Mause

    What’s the bet that a Scientology Lawyer sidles up to Laura sometime soon and offers her a settlement? Wonder if she’d take it.

    • http://BareFacedMessiah.wordpress.com/ BareFacedMessiah

      If so, she must take enough to covertly pay for “Fair Game”-ing the cult.
      … just to protect her “Free Speech” and her religious “Beliefs”, which are obviously “protected by law” and “confidential”.

      • Noni Mause

        I never knew you were fluent in scilon!

  • 3feetback-of-COS

    11 pm in Los Angeles — KNX 24 hrs news radio station just mentioned todays court action. They spoke briefly about some of the outrageous things done to Laura, forced abortion, long work hours, starting at age 6. Very bad PR.

    • DodoTheLaser

      Hell Yeah! Thank you for this update, 3feet!

    • Missionary Kid

      KNX, if I remember correctly, will be repeating that over the next several hours. I’m going to listen to them online to see if it is, indeed repeated.

      How many minutes after the hour or half-hour did it occur?

    • AsthmaticDwarf

      That’s great! 3foC – we haven’t had that back East. KNX must reach most all of SoCal, so that’s a potential audience of millions. Yes!!!

  • KJP in Portland

    From Coast to Coast; all these court cases looking bright. The TSUNAMI is growing against the CoB$!

  • KJP in Portland

    …and with that, I am pooped and must wish you all adieu. I’m sleepy and must toil again in the morning. I will be looking in during the day and see you in the evening. Oh, I can’t wait for the morning report!

    (((hugs and high-5’s))) to all my friends and compatriots here! Goodnight to you all!

    • DodoTheLaser

      Sleep tight, brother!

      • Robert Eckert

        And don’t let the bedbugs bite!

    • Graham

      7.30am here in the UK, so the next shift’s just clocking on.

      • DodoTheLaser

        :) Good morning!

        • EnthralledObserver

          And from me too!

      • 3feetback-of-COS

        ironically, the sun never sets on the Underground Bunker!

        • DodoTheLaser

          True that!

    • EnthralledObserver

      G’night… see you tomorrow!

  • 3feetback-of-COS

    And tomorrow, the Scourge of Scientology has to submit its 5 page explanation of its refund policy to the federal judge in Florida Garcia case!!

    Geez, when do we get a day off??

    • DodoTheLaser

      RTC must be thrilled. Looks like a perfect shit storm. They can finally put them secret bunkers to use.

  • AnyOldName1

    Wow. More Wow!

    Obviously the good judge read the same stuff I did. How could anyone read Laura’s statement and not effected? I was brought to tears throughout the entire reading of your article. Laura already got a huge win with her files. Now this? Holy sheets, SCN is in for a boatload of trouble from heaven knows how many exes!?!?!

    Congrats to Laura on another huge huge win! And thanks to Tony for his tireless reporting of the criminal enterprise known as Scientology. Hope The Bunker, Mr. Bunker (aka WBM) & Magoo had a celebratory dinner! Ah to have been a fly on the wall for that!

  • DodoTheLaser

    No matter how this case will end, I think it’s pretty safe to state at this point that scientology got hit pretty hard and not just PR-wise.

    Hoping any ex will soon be able to request his or her folders and files even without litigation.

    • Nevermore

      Well, I take a few days off and come back to this – awesome! It would be good if the {church} was now inundated by demands from exes for their folders.

      • DodoTheLaser

        Welcome back, Nevermore! Awesome it truly is!

        I think it only makes sense. Why would any church would want to keep files on their ex-members?!
        Think of all the space they can gain by getting read files and folders in Central Files (letter department), HCO Admin (ethics/dirt files) and PC archives (confessionals).

        Sooner or later, they will have to give up and release the above records to anyone who can prove that they are Exes, no longer scientologists and want everything with their name on it.

        Alternative and not very unlikely scenario – FBI contacting Exes after raiding the “Ideal Orgs” and asking them if they want to pick up files and folders that have their names on them.

        I personally don’t care, I’ve done some stupid things in the past I’m not proud of and I live with it.
        I just think Exes should have the right to be Exes 100%, which includes owning any scientology paper with their name on it and handling it any way they want.

        End of rant.

        • Nevermore

          Agree with you 100% – as I’ve said before, the only person who tries to make me go back to Catholicism is my mum, and that’s her perogative. Any religion that sends ‘representatives’ to haul you back should be disbanded, as far as I’m concerned. Can’t help but feel that the FBI is letting American citizens down, mind you, letting all this criminal activity go on unchallenged.

          • DodoTheLaser

            Thank you. Perhaps Laura’s case will make FBI’s job much easier.

    • Noni Mause

      My guess? There are no more PC files for exes… They’ve all gone to shredder heaven. Having said that, I’m all for everyone making the request.

      • DodoTheLaser

        That would be just fine with me, my wife and my son.

        I don’t believe it though, scientologists are obsessed with the files and paper waste in overall.
        That’s how they compensate for not having a single Clear or OT.

        • Noni Mause

          Agreed. Perhaps requesting your files might expedite a shredding of said material? I can’t see them taking the legal requirement to hand files over lying down. They’re just too damaging to the cult. I hope you and your family finally get what you need. I don’t know what exactly you’ve all been through, but i know dome of it must have been bad enough for you to blow. I wish you luck getting your folders back.

    • http://BareFacedMessiah.wordpress.com/ BareFacedMessiah

      If there is more evidence that the cult uses the data to control people by threatening to publish “deeply religious and confidential” confessions, then we might get there. (Funny, I cannot believe that I just used both “publish” and “confidential” in one sentence.)
      Could Marty’s folder be the next one? The evidence is in the folders, so it makes sense to ask for them.

      • DodoTheLaser

        Good point. A lot of “deeply religious and confidential” confessions are already used against known critics on smear websites, including Marty. That’s how this “church” operates.

        • http://BareFacedMessiah.wordpress.com/ BareFacedMessiah

          The cult could argue in court:
          a) Marty told all this someone during lunch breaks
          b) if a) gets rejected then it was the cult’s right of “Free Speech” …. human rights – as you know

          c) if b) gets rejected then they claim that there is no law against doing so
          d) motion to get lawyers removed
          e) motion as they are treated unfairly compared to non cults

          f) blablablablablabla …..

          Let’s see if Marty picks up the idea to ask for his folders. He knows what to do :)

  • Noni Mause

    There is going to be blood in the water – only, I’m not sure what color. What DO homo homo novis’s bleed?

    • http://BareFacedMessiah.wordpress.com/ BareFacedMessiah

      Clear blood … no colour!

    • ThetaBara

      Green.

      • InterestedObserver12

        That’s an insult to all Vulcans.

    • Nevermore

      Money, mostly, and their {church} bleeds them regularly and to the point of exsanguination.

  • Sibs

    Complete derail(s). Tomorrow I’m heading downtown for an errand and thought I would stop by the giant library. They don’t have Marc Headley’s book (yet; but I requested it), and then I thought I would be really clever and try searching the USC library system. I was so proud of my smartiness until I discovered they don’t have it either. I think I’ll probably get Jenna’s book at the public library (because I know for a fact they do have it) and then go talk to the librarians at my old school. You know, cover my bases just in case.

    Can’t believe how quickly things are moving now in Scientology-ville. To think that there are still several cement trucks full of shit left to hit the fan before the year ends. Maybe that’s not enough time for the entire cult to implode and us to rehabilitate all of the remaining clams, but after today’s ruling that day seems closer than ever.

    Tony, if you are still somehow keeping track of comments, if you go north on Sepulveda after you get off the 405 to get to LAX, there’s an In N Out to the left. Just in case you have time before your flight.

    2912 comments. Just 88 short of a beautiful, round-looking 3000.

    … It’s late, my medication has worn off, and I am going to cut myself off before I keep rambling.

    • Krew13

      I prefer Johnny Rockets. 😉

      • Sibs

        I love Johnny Rockets but the last two times I actually ate there I was sick afterwards. Now I just get the milkshakes.

        (Okay, moving back to the current article now)

  • valshifter

    I think the Titanic starting to looks lopsided, it might sink.

    • http://BareFacedMessiah.wordpress.com/ BareFacedMessiah

      You mean the Freewinds, right?

      • Dean Fox

        And what band will keep playing, The Apollo Stars or the Jive Aces?

        • http://BareFacedMessiah.wordpress.com/ BareFacedMessiah

          The Dive Aces!
          Oh, I have to give myself an up-vote for this one 😉 LOL

    • Missionary Kid

      And $cientology just keeps rearranging the deck chairs as the ship is sinking. Tick tock, Davy.

  • 0tessa

    All that $cientology has been doing in terms of harassment, surveillance, infiltration etc., is now turning against them. Too many witnesses. PC folders available too. And lawyers who know how to tackle the cult and are no longer afraid to so do. And, of course, the Bunker.
    $cientology Inc will perish because of its own harmful acts to many children and adults. It is definitely losing its grip. These are good times!

    • DodoTheLaser

      Yep. “It’s never been a better time to be a scientologist!” Sarcasm.

      • Krew13

        And never been a worse time to be Tom Cruise. With each film, his grosses decline even further. It’s only a matter of time before studios decide he’s dead weight.

    • Noni Mause

      Yep. They’re being hoisted up their own flagpole.

  • Krew13

    Just caught up with this amazing news!!! And all I can say is…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeRoi43azds

  • Dean Fox

    “Will Scientology appeal?” It’s in their nature to drag things out but one what grounds? To argue more surely just rams home the point that the case warrants a trial rather than summary judgement.

    I’m wondering if the judge did the blow by blow to throw off an appeal.

    • Krew13

      Surely you mean blown by blown? 😉

    • Jane

      No doubt he did. At the time it was absolutely AGONISING but I’m glad he did.

      • InterestedObserver12

        I agree, Jane. This judge has done everything right. He wants this case in front of a jury.

        • shasha40

          I Love this Judge ! He wants everyone to see COS’s Insidiousness on tv, the tabloids and net . Wouldn’t it be Great if the trial is televised ! Tony , you could take longer breaks in between, we give you permission ,but you Must Live Blog at the Bunker even if it’s televised ! Shouldn’t have gotten us hooked ! Lol

    • Robert Eckert

      They don’t have the right to an appeal.

      • Dean Fox

        They don’t!? Cool. Straight to trial then… one hopes. (I feel a settlement coming on).

        • Robert Eckert

          I believe the next hearing is set for December(? I can’t find where I read that now) and that the judge expects all discovery to be done then and to be ready to set trial date, if Miscavige hasn’t written a large enough check to make it go away.

  • Krew13

    Another day, another loss for the Choke of Scumatology. These are the times people! These are the times when you’ll look back and say “where you there when the Choke of Scumatalogy crashed and burned?”

  • Donut

    Approaching 3000 posts. Were gonna need a bigger Bunker.

  • Interested

    wHERE IS the PINHEAD sous merde. DM?

    • Donut

      Under a duvet, working on his “biggest expansion in history” speech.

      • Interested

        Snort

  • Krew13

    I wonder how Top Gun’s feeling today after this.

    http://www.conspirazzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/fish/teeth.jpg

    • Couch_Incident

      He’s in the Danger Zone!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7HkG6OSo3E

      [Helps to be familiar with the show Archer…]

      • LouLouLegs

        Excellent…..and great show. The ending here is great, perfect ending for Mr. Cruise. And nice avatar.

      • Dean Fox

        LMAO Damn, have to clean my monitor again…

    • BananaSplits8

      Almost entirely due to his association with scientology, Tom Cruise has become the poster-child for cautionary tales on what to do to squander a spectacular Hollywood career.

      • Sydjazz

        Am i the only one that thinks tom couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag? I mean he can’t even do an accent. Grr he shits me

        • EnthralledObserver

          He is the best actor at pretending to be himself… I mean, the absolute best I’ve seen.

          • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

            EO, You hit the nail on his tiny little head.

        • L. C. Spencer

          I’ve thought he was good in several things: Interview With a Vampire, Magnolia, Born on the Fourth of July. And he’s an excellent comedian, and comedy is not easy. He could never do Shakespeare or anything like that, but he has plenty of talent. He just is more fixated on himself now than on any character he plays.

  • Krew13

    Tony deserves a journalism award for the coverage he’s been providing us at his own expense, on his own time and with total dedication. He is a hero.

  • EnthralledObserver

    What ya reckon… we getting something new on time today?

    • BananaSplits8

      Yes!

      • EnthralledObserver

        Yes indeed – well done, Tony! It’s here!

        • Robert Eckert

          I don’t know how he manages.

          • And I don’t rent cars!

            I have pondered this a LOT, especially with his exponential rate of success on this blog – since July or so!

            It takes all the self-restraint I can manage to NOT ask him personally how he manages to keep doing this (with speed, accuracy, consistency, compassion, humor, and an ever growing list of original – or one step removed from original – sources). And now, to top it all off, he also travels to live blog for us.

            I can only start to imagine how busy he is and I don’t want to bother him with asking him to take the time to describe the process he goes through to accomplish what he is doing and also ask him to list the people who must be helping him to do all this. Other than Scott, surely to (insert a higher power here), he’s not a one man band anymore!

            I keep looking through posts like today, where he does a series with someone – like Vance Woodward, Claire Headley, Jon Atack, etc -. to see if he now has ghost writers to help him but I’m not a sophisticated enough reader to be able to tell if the writing style is substantially different.

            Enquiring minds want to know… NEED to know, in fact. It’s driving this enquiring (nosey?) mind to distraction and approaching a stage close to some sort of insanity!

            Do you know, Mr. Robert Eckert… (He who also seems to be knowledgeable about most subjects.)? And if you don’t, how would someone like me, who is probably far too nosey, find out without disturbing the great Mr. NewsMan himself?

            • Guest

              Tony researches and writes everything himself. He has been working in the field of investigative journalism for many years and has also held various other positions, including the Village Voice editor-in-chief (who oversaw an impressive amount of staff and departments), so he is extremely organized, is an impeccable multi-tasker, a fast typist, and an extremely diligent writer who is used to the many demands of his job which include: large quantities of coffee, speed reading, writing, and editing, long work hours, little sleep, and a great sense of humor.

              He’s a busy guy, but despite his long hours, he does have a life outside of this blog.

              Nope, no ghost writers. Not ever. This is a promise. If it says it’s written by Tony Ortega, it’s written by Tony Ortega.

            • And I don’t rent cars!

              Thanks. I believe you! It’s just so hard TO believe that, with his increasing coverage and posting throughout the day, travelling to live blog for us, reading our comments and responding to them, oh yeah AND writing a book, etc., that ONE human being can do all this! Do you know what I mean? I am a great admirer of his work, his journalistic ethics, his compassion for his subjects, his writing style, etc., and, to top it all off, he is able to inject humor into such a dark and abysmal topic as the Co$.

              I know a bit about his professional career and have been following him since VV days. And to be honest, although I do not know him, I worry about him because it just seems impossible, as I said earlier, that a single human being can do all that 24/7/365! (He sounds like he could have been “trained” in the Sea Org!) 😉

              It is a relief to know that he is indeed a speed reader, as I speculated that he HAD to be.(I’m not, so I can appreciate that ability as well.) And as for his prodigious daily output, I have (in fact, many of us here have…) have also speculated that he doesn’t get or doesn’t much sleep. (Once again, because of severe chronic illness, it is something I marvel at because I need so much of it to function and struggle through each day.)

              And thank you for reassuring me that he does have a life outside this blog, although it is none of my business, as it is something I wondered/worried about. (Can you also tell I worry a lot – about people, in general, and how they manage their lives? In fact, lots of us worry about Tony – his health, his safety, evengetting enough to eat, e.g., like yesterday in the courtroom!) It is good to know that he has been able to achieve that rare balance, that few successful people seem able to, between work and play!

              Thank you, Guest, for taking the time to respond. I don’t know you, but I do believe you, as you seem to know Tony Ortega personally or professionally. And if you don’t, well, it still makes sense to me that he is able to achieve all this as it fits in with my life experiences and the high energy, highly talented, and successful people I have met! :-) The facts you wrote about are the most common and typical cornerstones that create the foundation of a successful career.
               

              You ended your post with, “Nope, no ghost writers. Not ever. This is a promise. If it says it’s written by Tony Ortega, it’s written by Tony Ortega.” I believe you. Perhaps I didn’t use the proper terminology earlier when I wrote “ghost writer.” I got tired (and maybe lazy) and merely meant that with all his growing success and being so busy posting throughout the day AND travelling to live blog for us AND writing a book (AND feed the cats, the dog, himself) etc., that he MUST at least have a team of people helping him at this point, i.e., fact checkers, someone to answer his phone, weed through emails, posts, etc. I hope you know what I mean? I’m not a writer, nor a journalist, involved in media…nothing like that at all… so please don’t take offense nor think I was implying or suggesting anything negative or whatever…. (words fail me again). Please know I am a huge admirer of Tony Ortega’s work, I respect his “old-fashion” journalistic integrity, etc, etc. It is hard to find journalists of his caliber these days. I was going to suggest you read my Disqus comment stream to see how often I thank him, congratulate him, tell him how much I admire his work, etc. (in fact, I probably sound embarrassingly like a fawning, giggly, girlie, groupie) but I just remembered I put it on “private” mode in the past month or so for my own safety. If it is important to you, I will unlock it temporarily so you can have a look at it to confirm what I am saying. :-) And when you are done, I “re-privatize” it.

              In fact, as I’m writing this, I just remembered that I occasionally hold an informal “donate to the Bunker” campaign throughout the day – much to the annoyance of my fellow Bunker Bloggees sometimes. I also occasionally remind people that the books they are discussing and planning to order can be had through the Amazon button at the left hand side of the page so that Tony (and Scott and the Bunker) can benefit from the small percentage of a sale that is given. In fact, I also just realized that I keep a screen capture of the Bunker’s “Donate” button to throw in with some of my posts.

              Anyway, this is getting way too long and I think I’m starting to sound defensive (am I?) but I wanted to make sure you knew, whoever you are, that I appreciated your reponse and that I truly am a Tony Ortega, the $cientology critic/journalist, “fan.” If YOU need further reasurrances from me, I have made a suggestion (see above), I have emailed Tony in the past (and given him both my real name and my username) and this is the only blog I read on a daily basis and it is the only blog I have ever commented on. Oops, not true. I followed a link to one of David Love’s articles these past two weeks and I posted a comment along with a link to Tony’s blog for David’s readers!

              So are we clear? Do we fully understand each other – with no confusion? We are on the same side you know! And “our side” is gonna win a Pulitzer when his book comes out; I’m convinced of this. If not the actual prize, then it will be a nominee, at the very least, with a lot of other awards stemming from that one book. And I’m sure he has more than one book in him already, should he wish to write them!

              I’m also glad to know, whoever you are, that Tony Ortega has a loyal friend like you. As they say, “It takes a village….”

              Respectfully,

              Cars

               

               

              What I actually posted:

               
              Hi Guest! Hey, thanks very much for your reply. You, whoever you are, sound like someone who knows Tony well, either personally or professionally. Glad to know he has a fierce, loyal friend such as yourself to set the record straight. (You’re not Tony, himself, by any chance? Just kidding!)

              Don’t worry, I a huge fan of his and I am a great admirer of his work, his journalistic ethics, his compassion for his subjects, his writing style, etc., and, to top it all off, he is able to inject humor into such a dark and abysmal topic as the Co$.

              I believe all that you said, don’t worry! It’s just so hard to believe that, with his increasing coverage and posting throughout the day, travelling to live blog for us, reading our comments and responding to them, oh yeah, AND writing a book, etc., that ONE human being can do all this! Do you know what I mean?

              I know a bit about his professional career and have been following him since VV days. And to be honest, although I do not know him, I worry about him because it just seems impossible, as I said earlier, that a single human being can do all that 24/7/365! (He sounds like he could have been “trained” in the Sea Org!) 😉

              You ended your post with, “Nope, no ghost writers. Not ever. This is a promise. If it says it’s written by Tony Ortega, it’s written by Tony Ortega.”

              I believe you. Perhaps I didn’t use the proper terminology earlier when I wrote “ghost writer.” I got tired (and maybe lazy as I’ve been in the Bunker for 2 days now trying to get caught up on reading 3000+ comments from yesterday alone and replying to those I need to) and merely meant that with all his growing success and being so busy posting throughout the day AND travelling to live blog for us AND writing a book (AND feed the cats, the dog, himself….have a private, personal life…etc.) that he MUST at least have a team of people helping him at this point, i.e., fact checkers, someone to answer his phone, weed through emails, posts, etc. Know what I mean? I’m not a writer, nor a journalist, involved in media…nothing like that at all… so please don’t take offense nor think I was implying or suggesting anything negative or whatever…. (words fail me again… I’m simply exhausted from thinking, reading, and posting about Laura’s court case at this point to even write this with coherence!).

              You don’t know me nor my post stream here in the Bunker but if you did, you’d see how often I thank him, congratulate him, tell him how much I admire his work, etc. In fact, I probably sound (embarrassingly) like a fawning, giggly, girlie, groupie! :-(

              Please know I am a huge admirer of Tony Ortega’s work, I respect his “old-fashion” journalistic integrity, (fill in the blanks with any and all admirable qualities and abilities of his… here….). It is hard to find journalists of his caliber these days.

              And please…we are on the same side you know! And “our side” is gonna win a Pulitzer when his book comes out; I’m convinced of this. If not the actual prize, then it will be a nominee. At the very least, there will be a lot of other awards stemming from that one book of his; and that’s not even touching upon the effect his book will have in collapsing that damn cult – finally! (And I’m sure he has more than one book in him already, should he wish to write them.)

              I’m also glad to know, whoever you are, that Tony Ortega has a loyal friend like you. As they say, “It takes a village….”

              Respectfully,

              Cars

            • And I don’t rent cars!

              OOPS! I’ve been drafting a nice reply to you (and others) off and on all day and ended posting all of the versions without any cutting and pasting. Trying to undo that damage. Not sure how yet. Man, that just shows how damn tired I am.
              Sorry Guest, I will try to send you a clean, short post soon.,

            • Guest

              Your post was fine, Cars! You are a very caring person and I know that you worry about Tony and others a lot.

              We worry and care about you, too!

              I hope that you’ll be able to see some improvement and relief with your health, soon. You deserve it!

              I also hope that you are able to get some quality sleep, tonight.

              Perhaps I should play the Star Spangled banner at the end of the evening to signal your brain to go into sleep mode (like in the old days on TV )? Remember that? After the song played and the flag waved, the TV programming ended for the evening and the screen went into fuzz. I have a feeling that less people had insomnia back then than they do now, since social media, TV and internet are on 24/7, unlike how things were years ago.

              Sleep well, my friend! :)

            • And I don’t rent cars!

              OMG! I don’t know if I’m relieved and happy to hear from you or if I’m shocked with embarrassment that I was unsuccessful in deleting my l-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g, unedited, repetitive post! I do know, however, that your very kind and compassionate comments have me sobbing as I write this.

              I’ve done all the “tricks” I know in trying to delete or undo a post through Disqus Dashboard or the blog itself, but nothing seems to have worked successfully. So, I had no idea what you got, if anything. I had emailed Scott (at his Webmaster Hat address) and was waiting to see if I heard from him in the next 24 hours before attempting to resend a reply to you. But now I see that you have received my “embarrassment” after all! Darn!

              Although I wasn’t born there nor do I live there now, I grew up in the U.S. during the TV era when the Star-Spangled Banner played to signal the end of the programming day; just before the annoying fuzzy sound came on and the screen turned to grainy “snow.” Yikes, you realize we are “date stamping” ourselves with that memory? It’s terribly kind of you to offer to play the national anthem for me, but considering where I presently live, can you play “God Save the Queen” instead? (I’m kidding, of course.)

              And yes, I suspect you are correct about the causes for the current “pandemic” of insomnia that people seem to be complaining about with greater frequency. Our 24/7/365 digital lives, as you suggested, has contributed to our current circadian rhythm disorders, I’m sure. But in a way, I’m lucky this is not the root cause of my health problems because I hear that it’s very difficult to re-regulate sleep patterns. I hope this is not an issue for you either and, just as you wished me, I hope you “sleep well, my [mysterious] friend!”

              Thank you for your empathetic and sympathetic reply. I am deeply moved by it. If convenient or apropos, please tell Tony that I apologize for my… er, “little accident” in his home, i.e., his blog. And tell him that I’ll clean up my mess as soon as Scott tells me how to. (You may also want to mention that my incessant fawning, probably to his embarrassment and annoyance, over his work, his intellect, his character, etc., etc., is slowly coming to an end – as I refuse to pick up a thesaurus to find new descriptors!) :-)

              Good night, Cars

            • Tory Christman

              I have to say I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tony since I 1st escaped out, in 2000. He did THE 1st story about me and Andreas (as well as many other 1st re others). I had a party for him in I think 2001 and gave him an award, way back then “For courage in Journalism”. However I have to say….seeing him IN ACTION in Court yesterday was a true joy for me. Seeing Tony typing away with his mouse on his tummy—-WOW. I love the guy!
              He IS a m a z i n g! :)

  • Vinay Agarwala

    I am very pleased at this outcome.

  • ze moo

    Unlike the Garcia case, this one has the capacity to really give the CO$ two black eyes and an atomic wedgie. Fund raising fraud like the Garcias allege is going to get attention, but Laura’s story is going to be on every TV tabloid show and every supermarket check out. No amount of sec checks or tent revivals are going to keep the clams in the dark. More and more previously contented clams are going to drop out. The implosion is going to continue and the cash flow will become what ever the whales continue to piss away. With out new meat, the scam collapses. About time. Light is the best disinfectant…..

    • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

      A comment from Leah would crank it up to 11.

    • ThetaBara

      I’m surprised the Daily Fail hasn’t picked it up already.

    • Jgg2012

      Yes, our tax dollars pay for forced abortions of minors or teenagers, and Celebrities give the organization millions.

  • JonHenke

    By arguing that there was no ongoing threat, pressure or coercion against Laura after she left Scientology, isn’t Scientology basically acknowledging that their contracts, non-disclosure agreements and other signed documents have no legal or religious force?

    Wouldn’t that undermine every other waiver, NDA and contract that has been signed?

    • InterestedObserver12

      Not at all. Contracts, NDAs, waivers, etc., are legally enforceable if entered into free of threat, pressure, coercion, etc. Your question implies you view the former as inherently a form of the latter. The law doesn’t see the matter as you do.

      • JonHenke

        No, I don’t think that’s quite it. What I am saying is that the contracts extended the relationship beyond the period of her participation in Scientology. Their contracts explicitly identify consequences for leaving Sea Org, criticizing Scientology and various other things. If those contracts are in force and valid, does that no constitute the pressure that Scientology said did not exist?

        • Jgg2012

          The possibility of enforcement (freeloader debt, breach of confidentiality) added to her coercion. ONLY after talking to a lawyer and learning that they were not enforceable (as Scientology said they were) did she realize she had recourse. Scientology’s comments discouraged her from even seeing one from 2004 to 2008, according to her testimony.

  • El Con Blubbard

    Can someone explain the “overruling” of objections? Did the Judge overrule everyone’s objections and if so, what does that mean. I don’t have time to read the whole thing. Thank you for any input!

    • Robert Eckert

      An objection is a lawyer saying he does not want a piece of evidence considered. Sometimes the lawyer has a valid point, and the judge “sustains” the objection (excluding the evidence), but more often the objection is weak and the judge “overrules” (letting the evidence stand).

      For example, if I testify “I read on Tony Ortega’s blog that Miscavige beats his staff” the lawyer would have a perfectly good “hearsay” objection: I did not see the beating but am just relaying what I am told; Tony can’t testify to that either, only his sources who have personal knowledge. So the judge should “sustain the objection” and not let me, a person who didn’t really witness anything, be a “witness”. But more objections are more dubious: the one that was argued most yesterday was against the report of Dr. Levine, who said that what Laura claimed to have experienced was a classic case of mind control. Scientology’s lawyer objected that Levine had not personally interviewed Laura or witnessed any of the events; Laura’s lawyer said he was giving an expert opinion about the hypothetical, assuming the facts are as in Laura’s statement then that would be a case of mind control, which he knows better than most people would from specialist study of the subject. The judge overruled, accepting the report into evidence.

      • Tory Christman

        Most importantly was that due to ALL of these over rulings, the Judge decided against Scientology’s pitch for “Summary Judgement” and said “This needs to go to trial”. <<< THAT IS KEY! Scientology has *never* gone to trial, FTR. Davey boy has to be having a heart attack. Breath, "Dave"…it's only going to get worse, for you! TT TT

        • Jgg2012

          Well, not since the Wollersheim and Titchbourne case of 20-plus years ago. Those both produced $30 million verdicts.

          • Tory Christman

            Oh yeah! I think I meant “Dave” has never officially been tried…although he sure should be. TT TT …:)

            • Jgg2012

              He can run but he can’t hide.

  • Candy Swanson

    Spectacular day! Thanks to Tony for helping it all make sense and including us step by step. So much fun when Tory showed up in the comments. Still trying to catch up here with all the brilliant comments. Aloha!

  • And I’m Cute, Too

    After a night of sleep and a day of work, I finally had the time to find out what happened. And such a wonderful outcome, too. So very, very, VERY happy for Laura and her family!

    So many others here have said it before, and better than I could, but I know it was Laura who made this result possible today. Her lawyers did great work, and the cult gave her plenty of ammo (aimed at their own feet, of course). But her courage and determination are what carried the day here. Based on what the judge said, Laura’s story, told in her own words and backed up by the Co$’s own documentation (wrested out of their hands by her persistence), turned the tide in this difficult, complicated case. I’m sure Judge Sohigian didn’t enjoy being overturned, but he just couldn’t help but realize that Laura’s history, and the cult’s actions, were too extraordinary for the ordinary rules to apply.

    Laura, you are AWESOME. Your bravery and perseverance are an inspiration to many already, and one day many more people will be inspired, too. I hope you enjoyed your celebration last night, and will have the chance for much more happiness to come.

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    What gives??? Nearly another 1000 posts overnight?

    I am now going to root around to see if there were any posts from the trio that met up in courtroom yesterday…

    • And I don’t rent cars!

      Good idea! I was about to do the same at some point but doubt I’ll have the time. Could you post your findings when (and if) you come back up for air?
      If you get lost in the ever expanding Bunker, call and I’ll give you a ride out. I’m a car, remember? Or find the “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY” utility room where you will find all the equipment and supplies you will need to walk yourself out safely.
      Should you decide to accept this mission……
      Good Luck 3D!

      EDIT: oops! The second image should NOT be included and I can’t remove it. Anyone know how?

      • Douglas D. Douglas
        • And I don’t rent cars!

          Thanks so much Douglas! If I find Tory’s facebook page that you are looking for, I’ll post if for you.
          P.S. Gosh, so glad you were able to dive into the Bunker’s bowels, filled to capacity with yesterday’s comment content, and made it out alive! You are an experienced pro at comment retrieval I see!

          • Tory Christman

            Posted above :) Thanks, also, Douglas.

            • Tory Christman

              Here’s the Flickr Version, too, for those who do not have FB: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30951674@N07/with/10464887755/

            • And I don’t rent cars!

              I got it, thank you so much!
              I have both versions bookmarked, FB and Flickr, and have them under Favorites along with your YouTube channel and other links provided by Tony on this blog or by the Bunker bloggers. Yeah!
              What a wonder woman you are Tory Christman! And fun, too!

        • Tory Christman
          • Douglas D. Douglas

            Thank you! But now I do not see the photos from LA with Tony ‘n Mark. Oh well.

          • peakofelephants

            Tory, I didn’t realize you lived in LA. I just moved to California thinking there was nothing good in this God-forsaken place apart from a lot of citrus. Well, that and all of these great free “classes” I keep finding on Craigslist 😉

  • Aki Dai

    I did a seach in Google about Scio news and there is no mention of the court proceedings from yesterday. I would not know of this if I did not know of Tony Ortega.

  • marcy

    This is all due to Tory, Tony, and Mark, who never gave up, or let anyone stop them, no matter what. while all the other media hid under that fear blankets, these three, never stopped. I love them for their bravery. I also want to thank all the anons for their hard work, especially sparrow. You all rock. I have no investment in scientology in anyway. don’t even know one, however, I do have and investment is freedom and fairness. and to these SP…BETTER KNOWN AS SPECIAL ANGELS, THANK YOU ALL

    • Tory Christman

      Wow….thank you, Marcy! It’s true….we have hung in there despite ALL the sheet $cientology has pitched out and then some. I will say (and I think Tony and Mark would agree with me, and if not, they can speak up :) We would not be here if it were not for many, many wonderful people who have helped us keep this story alive, Laura at the top of the list re this story, for sure!: ALL Of you here at the Bunker included! I love you ALL :) <3 NO KIDDING! ((And OSA? LOLOLOL! HAPPY THURSDAY "Stat" day for you all. My guess is you're ALL in the dog house this week)) {{hugs}} Tory/Magoo

      • Tory Christman

        PS: Absolutely Anonymous will forever go down in history as THE turning point re $cientology. We were all 3 there, pre Anonymous…and we know how *thin* it was, how few people were willing to speak out, say their names, tell their stories. It was an entirely different era, and truly, Anonymous Changed ALL of that. Lastly—never should we forget ALL those that fought so diligently and courageously—often all alone, way before the Net. Those are super heroes and they have earned wings that spread farther than most can imagine: I thank you all.

        • Tory Christman

          For anyone new to this thread, OR who did not read much, much earlier posts….there are some absolutely wonderful posts to Laura’s Mom who arrived here at The Bunker, yesterday. Check it out….such love, from so many people. Way to go, Tony and The Bunker~and most certainly way to go, Laura and your family!!

          • Toddy Dieckman

            Tory, thank you for replying to my post. I have kept sort of quiet, maybe because of the lawsuit. That does not mean I have nothing to say! Laura is the one of our 5 kids that endured the most, but the rest have horror stories as well. Laura makes an ideal representative of all the horror stories. Hard to believe I was oblivious to so much, only being public. Thank you for all you do.

            • Tory Christman

              Hi Toddy! I’m SO happy you are here…..thank you very, very much. What an amazing journey this must be for you…I can’t even imagine the joy you must feel to hear a Judge GET the torture just one of your 5 kids went through. I’m so very proud of Laura! I knew her years ago and boy does this make me smile to see her so courageous, and to sit in that courtroom and HEAR a Judge say what he said, and HOW he said it, about your little girl. I knew you’d be thrilled. You are most welcome…and thank you!! Please pass on my love to Laura, too :) {{hugs}} Tory/Magoo

            • Sunny Sands

              You are a brave one, too, dear lady. Bless you for supporting Laura.

            • aquaclara

              Toddy, it is great to have you here posting. I hope you can see all the care and love and admiration we have for Laura, and for your family amidst these thousands of posts. We may also be thousands of miles away, but we are here, right now, to help support this fight.

              Wishing you all the best.

            • Elen

              Toddy, there is no doubt that you love your children!! Bless you and bless them for standing tall. Please give Laura a big hug from all of us! What a courageous & strong woman!

            • ThetaBara

              SO glad you got out. Much love to you and your family and of course you know we are all pulling for Laura. Stay strong!

            • And I don’t rent cars!

              Hello, Laura’s Mom,

              For a second time, in these past 24 hours, I find myself (a complete stranger) writing to you.

              As I mentioned yesterday, we have never met and I have never met your lovely and incredibly brave daughter, Laura. But in the oddest way, that I can’t yet fully understand, I find myself profoundly moved and forever changed by Laura’s story. It is as if now I can see through her eyes and understand through her vivid and horrific experiences what other children and young adults have gone through and are still going through in this so-called “Church” of Scientology. I never quite “got it” until I read about Laura through Tony’s incomparable way of telling a story.

              In fact, it was the way he told her story that moved so deeply and so profoundly that I found myself doing something I had never done before, and that was to write a letter to a stranger. I still don’t understand what compelled me to write that letter. A letter written to someone I had never met, would never meet, and would never even know if she would ever get to read. And yet, there I was on that warm, sunny morning, of June 24th, sitting on the back steps, still in my PJ’s, having the last tepid sips from that morning’s first cup of coffee, feeling the warm, late morning sun on my neck and shoulders, as I sat huddled over this laptap writing a letter to your daughter – Laura.

              To my further puzzlement and amazement, your daughter wrote back to me that very same day! It was a simple message, with a simple symbol. Yet, it moved me to shed even more tears. I will never, ever forget that symbol. It was a symbol that I had never seen before and it took me a while to realize that I needed to bend my neck sideways to see what it was, what it represented, and the powerful message that lay behind it.

              In fact, I have never used it since – to honor Laura and to respect her life’s story. But tonight, as I find you, her mom, here for a second time, I realize it is time and it is okay for me to use it right now, as I ask you to please give Laura a message for me, from me, and that message is simply this: <3

            • Toddy Dieckman

              Such a wonderful reply. Thank you. <3

            • L. Wrong Hubturd

              You’re the best Cars.

            • SandiCorrena

              I am in awe of the strength and fortitude of your family; Laura’s name is whispered in so many prayers and blessings and will continue to be; and you too Toddy! So happy you came here!

    • dagobarbz

      Oh, so before anonymous there were just those three.

      Good to know all the rest of us were just sitting on our thumbs doing nothing.

      • Tory Christman

        Recently I’ve been talking with some friends about how s/one needs to put together a FULL web site telling the complete story/history of the 1st ex-Scios who spoke out way before the Net, ALL of the Critics (yourself included) who took on the Cult years before Anonymous and what it was like way back then. OSA’s feeble attempts to shut down ARS, and slam any and all critics into silence. Also, the many who created excellent web sites of Information, the arrival of Anonymous, what effect that had, what it was like before and after..etc. There are tons of new peeps who don’t actually know all of this history and it’s pretty amazing when you put it all together. Thankfully you all were there and have been…and also thankfully many new people are now popping on, too. Best to you, and all here :) Tory/Magoo

        • dagobarbz

          There was a time I would have been all over that, but I’ve been marginalized and shuffled off to the side and written out of history so I’m just gonna sit here and eat radioactive popcorn and watch the cult burn.

  • peakofelephants

    LOL Radar “exclusive.” If I could count the number of “exclusives” they haven’t actually had.

  • peakofelephants

    “THE BUNKER FINALLY MEETS MR. BUNKER”

    Funniest/best moment of my day.

  • mpl

    Good lord, that poor, poor woman. My heart goes out to her and all like her.