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Ken Dandar Fails in Bid to Prevent Secret Scientology Court Hearing

Ken Dandar called us after he got out of the hearing on his federal lawsuit in Tampa, Florida today.

He said he was unable to convince Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington to grant him an injunction that would prevent a state court from saddling him with huge fees demanded by the Church of Scientology.

Next Monday, November 26, in a hearing that will be closed to the public or press, retired state Judge Crockett Farnell will decide what to award Scientology, and Dandar has said he expects that amount to be more than a million dollars.

Dandar had hoped to convince the federal court that his civil rights had been violated by what he characterized as Scientology’s manipulation of the state courts. (The dispute arose because he continued to represent clients against Scientology after signing a 2004 settlement in which, the church claims, he promised never to sue Scientology again. Dandar denies that he signed away his rights to sue the church.)

Dandar told us that although he was unable to prevent the November 26 state hearing from happening, he is going to file an amended complaint in his lawsuit, hoping to convince Judge Hernandez Covington that her ruling was incorrect.

Dandar’s suit, which was filed October 31, gained more notoriety this week when he entered into evidence a deposition of former high-ranking Scientology official Marty Rathbun, who testified that the church had spent $30 million over several years in order to derail a criminal investigation of the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson.

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Scientology’s attorneys had asked Judge Hernandez Covington to strike Rathbun’s testimony from the record, but she declined, Dandar says. Rathbun’s deposition remains public record.

Dandar said he would keep fighting, despite this setback for his lawsuit. “I’m going to take it as far as I have to. But ultimately, whatever the courts decide I will accept,” he said.

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