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Scientology Leader David Miscavige Added as Defendant in Ken Dandar’s Federal Lawsuit

David Miscavige

Florida attorney Ken Dandar has added David Miscavige as a defendant in his federal lawsuit, a case that has already resulted in stunning new allegations that the Church of Scientology spent millions to cover up the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson.

Dandar represented McPherson’s estate in a wrongful death lawsuit that was settled in 2004, but Scientology is suing him for taking on another case against the church in 2009, and on Monday, in a hearing closed to the press or public, Dandar expects a state judge to award Scientology more than a million dollars in sanctions against him.

Dandar was unable to stop that hearing with his federal lawsuit, which he filed on October 31. But now he’s filed an amended complaint in that suit, added Miscavige as a defendant, and put in more detail about what he claims was a conspiracy between Scientology and Florida state Judge Robert Beach to violate his civil rights. We have obtained a copy of that amended complaint, which we have posted below.

On Monday, November 19, Dandar was unable to convince federal Judge Virginia Covington that she should intervene with the state court sanctions hearing. Covington told Dandar that he had failed to prove that Scientology’s attorneys, Wally Pope and Robert Potter, Jr., were “state actors” that she could interfere with. (Potter appears to have been dropped from the case in the amended complaint.)

Although Dandar was unable to obtain a federal injunction to stop Monday’s state hearing, he filed the amended complaint in which he attempts to address Judge Covington’s concern about “state actors.”

In the new complaint, relying on testimony that was provided in a deposition by former high-ranking Scientology official Marty Rathbun, Dandar spells out a wide-ranging conspiracy to kill the state’s criminal investigation of McPherson’s death and interfere with the subsequent civil litigation filed by her estate. Scientology, he alleges, conspired to derail the criminal case by influencing the attorney of the county medical examiner, Joan Wood — who subsequently changed the cause of death on McPherson’s death certificate — and then conspired with Judge Robert Beach in the civil case.


Some highlights of Dandar’s description of the years-long conspiracy:

Miscavige, he alleges, was fully in control from the beginning…

Defendant, [David] Miscavige, not only micro-managed the events leading to, and causing the death of Lisa McPherson in 1995, but also micro-managed the criminal defense on behalf of the Defendant, Scientology, on charges brought by the State of Florida, and micro-managed the civil defense in the civil wrongful death case brought by the Estate of Lisa McPherson, where Dandar was the Estate’s counsel.

Miscavige was intimately involved in getting Wood to change the cause of death, which derailed the criminal investigation…

Miscavige personally contacted and visited on many occasions the Medical Examiner’s attorney to convince him to convince the Medical Examiner, Joan Wood, M.D., that Lisa McPherson did not die as a result of being held at Scientology’s Ft. Harrison Hotel. He accomplished this by threatening to sue the Medical Examiner and by lavishing gifts on the Medical Examiner’s attorney.

(Wood died in 2011. Her attorney, Jeffrey Goodis, denied the allegation that he influenced his client on behalf of Scientology. But in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, he did acknowledge that he received Super Bowl tickets and expensive cufflinks from the church several years after Wood changed the death certificate.)

Dandar alleges that Scientology also took aim at Bob Minton, the businessman who was financially backing the McPherson family’s lawsuit…

The Defendants, in furtherance of the conspiracy, sued Robert Minton, the financial backer of the McPherson civil case, and then extorted him by finding his hidden assets in Europe and then threatened him that they would report his unpaid taxes to the IRS and other governmental entities, both here and abroad, including England and Nigeria. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Defendants had Minton demand that Dandar dismiss the McPherson wrongful death case by having Minton call Dandar from the Paul, Hastings New York law office of Samuel “Sandy” D. Rosen, co-counsel in the McPherson civil cases, on Good Friday 2002. Dandar and the Estate refused this extortion attempt.

Dandar also alleges that retired Judge Robert Beach became a part of the church’s conspiracy…

Judge Beach campaigned to become the presiding judge in the McPherson civil case…Scientology’s counsel, after meeting many times with Judge Beach ex parte to gather sympathy for Scientology in the wrongful death case, defamed Dandar in his business reputation and goodwill, and convinced Judge Beach to contrive a defective and illegal procedure, not sanctioned by Florida law, to make the McPherson case go away by simply removing Dandar as counsel for the Estate in the wrongful death case…Acting under orders from Miscavige and in furtherance of the conspiracy, Pope and his co-counsel, Sandy Rosen, then stood before Judge Beach at a hearing informing Judge Beach in open court that the McPherson case would never settle if Dandar remained counsel for the Estate. Acting on cue, Judge Beach agreed that Dandar was an obstacle to settlement, something Dandar had never heard in his entire career which began in 1979.

(Judge Beach was interviewed briefly on television this week and denied that he had met with “Scientologists” during the McPherson case. Rathbun, however, alleges that Beach had met not with church members but their attorneys.)

Adding these details, largely drawn from Rathbun’s testimony, is Dandar’s attempt to address Covington’s objection about state actors: “The above conspiracy with Judge Beach, makes all Defendants state actors and acting under color of state law,” the complaint reads.

A hearing before Covington is set for December 7. By then, of course, we’ll know how much retired state Judge Crockett Farnell awards Scientology in sanctions against Dandar on Monday.

Dandar vs Scientology (Amended Complaint)

And here’s a copy of Dandar’s amended motion for an injunction…

Dandar vs Scientology (Amended Motion for Injunction)

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