Once it became official that Ray Jeffrey and his colleagues — Marc Wiegand, Elliott Cappuccio, and Leslie Hyman — were no longer working for Monique Rathbun in her harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, we called up Ray to see if he’d be interested in an interview. We’re glad to say he accepted. And while he can’t talk specifically about some things regarding his work for Monique and why that relationship ended, we were happy that he opened up as much as he did. Here we go…
Number one I’d like to say about my co-counsel that we were devoted to pushing Monique’s case forward. I can’t talk about the ins and outs of our attorney-client relationship. But we still feel like we achieved some good. If this stops the church from harassing one other person there would be some value in it. We were all very dedicated to representing Monique and I don’t want anyone to think we dumped her in the dirt.
What was it like in Judge Waldrip’s court with so many Scientology attorneys on the other side?
I think the highest count we ever saw was 25 attorneys. Do they really need that many for a couple of entities and four people as defendants? I always laugh when I think about that because only one of them can talk at a time. I think it’s actually more distracting for the attorney speaking for Scientology with all of the other people whispering to him and grabbing him, passing him notes and telling him what he can say. I think it looks bad.
So it actually worked against them?
They hire the best local attorneys, but those local attorneys don’t know the background and the history of Scientology — the things your readers know better than they do. I don’t think the people from OSA tell them the bad stuff. So when you hit them with Scientology’s actual deeds, like things from say Operation Snow White, it really messes them up. I think that’s a real problem for Scientology.
And they play rough. Early in the case they used the local attorneys to try to get you disqualified.
I’m as angry about it today as I was then. It would be hard to find a group of lawyers more dedicated to their profession than Leslie and Marc and Elliott and me. This is a constant strategy of Scientology that is beyond the pale — first, attack the lawyers every time. And they do things for the long haul, not necessarily for something that helps in that particular case. I believe they do that to keep other lawyers from taking cases against Scientology. I’ve had private eyes staked out down the street from my office, driving through my parking lot, trying to spook us. They do that to put you off a case and to convince others not to get into Scientology litigation. And it’s staggering how much money they spend on this stuff, which is unbelievable for a tax exempt organization to be doing.
Our readers constantly ask, is there a secret settlement deal between Monique and the church?
I am aware of absolutely nothing in that regard, and I personally don’t believe that there’s anything like that. We haven’t been privy to anything to do with settlement negotiations or what Monique is going to do since we were terminated.
What did you think of Judge Waldrip?
He is very highly respected. He was a great district attorney and then became a district judge. We were blown away by how perceptive he was about very complex matters. We tried his patience repeatedly, but you have to keep fighting when you’re up against Lamont Jefferson and Ricardo Cedillo.
Did it surprise you to see CSI fall on its sword to protect David Miscavige?
I was surprised by the gamble they took with the anti-SLAPP motion. Normally, you would expect them to deny everything, that they didn’t have anything to do with any harassment of Monique. But in order to make their anti-SLAPP motion work, they had to come in to court and say, yes we did this stuff, but it’s protected speech. That was a pretty big gamble, and it didn’t pay off.
Has it hurt your law practice to take on several cases of Scientology litigation?
I wouldn’t have traded what I went through for anything. Debbie Cook is a fantastic person who somehow got through everything the church put her through. Paul Merrick and Greg Arnold were delightful people that very few people got to know. They had a lot of integrity and I really enjoyed getting to know them. And then Monique, as everyone can tell, is a fantastic human being and a lovely person. She’s so caring and down to earth. It’s hard to be around her and not like her. So, as far as my law practice over the last few years, it’s been great to be around these people. We spent thousands of hours working on Monique’s case. We probably invested a million dollars in it, and we did it without hesitation. Was that difficult on my law practice? Yes, it was. But it’s not something I regret at all.
So you don’t regret taking Monique’s case?
Monique is right. She was treated horrifically. She didn’t deserve any of what they put her through, and they should pay for it. The Austin appeals court found that this ridiculous Squirrel Buster activity wasn’t protected free speech. If that saves one other person from being harassed, it was worth it.
As far as you know, does Monique plan to hire another attorney to replace you?
I have zero information about that. I do not know what her plan is.
She filed a document this week “pro se” — on her own, without legal counsel — to the Texas Supreme Court. If the court decides to consider Scientology’s petition, it would ask Monique to file a response to Scientology’s petition and then, possibly, full briefs. How difficult would that be for someone representing themselves?
I think it would be extremely difficult for someone to do on her own, either with assistance or not. Because the types of issues being asked about now — the different standards of proof, for example — that just doesn’t come naturally to a non-lawyer. We’re used to thinking about that kind of thing, but if that’s not what you do, those sorts of issues are hard to wrap your head around. Just the constitutional issues involved, the vast majority of lawyers out there never handle constitutional matters. The amount of law out there is immense. It really takes someone like Leslie Hyman to master that and know what the appeals court is looking for. It’s not something you want to do unarmed. I hope they are able to bring in some other competent counsel.
If Monique were to change her mind, could she convince you to come back?
I would certainly consider it, and I think my co-counsel would consider it as well. We’d have to think long and hard just because of where we got to now. We wouldn’t want to work for another year and end up in the same situation. And let me add, we did really want to see this through to the end. Whether it was a settlement or a jury trial and a judgment. We wanted to do what we were hired to do.
Nora Crest in the Daily Mail
Ah, finally! We heard this was ready some time ago, but it finally showed up today — a nice profile of Nora Crest by Chris White in the Daily Mail. Give it a look!
(We think Derek Bloch might have something to say about this line: “Nora is the first person to ever speak out after having a homosexual experience in the Church…”)
Bonus items from our tipsters
This one has been floating around on social media for a couple of days. We find it interesting that the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr., at the extreme right, can still get himself into a photo with Kelly Preston, center, at a function in Florida, given that his entire Southern California operation cratered and several people he worked with have been indicted.
From reader ‘Richard,’ an instant classic…
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield