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Scientology Asks For Judge’s Help Because You Were So Mean To Brian Culkin

SimpsonsMobComments made on this blog, as well as some posted at Facebook and Operation Clambake, have been entered as evidence in the latest filing by the Church of Scientology in the federal fraud lawsuit brought against it by Luis and Rocio Garcia.

Yes, you read that right. The Church is making issue of mean things that some of you, our commenters, have said on this blog, and some of those comments have been preserved in the federal court record for posterity.

At issue is a legal sideshow that has stopped the Garcias’ lawsuit in its tracks, and will now require an evidentiary hearing that has been moved back to September 26.

In January, the Garcias filed their lawsuit against the church, alleging that they had been defrauded by Scientology’s fundraising activities and what they claim are bogus refund practices. Scientology has asked Judge James Whittemore to rule that the Garcias should follow the church’s own arbitration procedures and throw the case out of court. Whittemore has yet to rule on that motion. But in the meantime, the church filed another motion to disqualify the Garcias’ attorneys — Ted Babbitt and Ronald Weil — because, the church alleges, they improperly employed the services of Robert Johnson, an attorney who had spent a dozen years working for the church in the past.

To support that motion, the church submitted a declaration by former church member Brian Culkin, who had talked with Johnson about becoming an additional plaintiff in the case. Culkin was only in Scientology for about a year, but he donated a huge amount in that time — $350,000. He told Johnson that he wanted to get his money back, and was interested in suing. But he also communicated with the church, which offered to refund his money through arbitration. Then, in March, Culkin was refunded his money without arbitration when he signed the declaration.

When news broke that Culkin had signed a declaration for the church to use in its case against the Garcias, reaction online was quick and vociferous. Culkin was denounced by former church members and church critics.

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Culkin’s testimony will likely be crucial to determine if Robert Johnson’s role has tainted the work done by Babbitt and Weil. Scientology plans to depose Culkin in advance of the evidentiary hearing, and has asked Judge Whittemore for the ability to request from the Massachusetts District Court the right to depose Culkin (who lives in Boston), or perhaps to appoint a special master.

In order to convince Whittemore to grant that request, the church says that Culkin is unwilling to come to the evidentiary hearing in Tampa because he fears for his safety after the frightening things said about him at this blog and elsewhere, and because angry e-mails were sent to Culkin, his father, and his business associates.

To support that assertion, the church included numerous examples of the things said about Culkin online. Among them were statements posted at Facebook by Luis Garcia and former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder, who has provided help to the Garcia team. In the motion, the church suggests that Garcia and Rinder could be charged criminally under federal law because they “are directly interested in preventing Mr. Culkin from testifying,” and were “instigating and orchestrating a campaign of intimidation and vilification” of Culkin.

Actually, Garcia attorney Ted Babbitt tells us he’s very much looking forward to Culkin’s deposition being taken. Previously, the Garcia team has said that Culkin’s testimony is filled with “incorrect statements” and Babbitt tells us he’s looking forward to cross-examining him.

“Did he sell his testimony? We’ll find out,” Babbitt says, referring to what Culkin has told friends, that he signed the declaration because the church refunded his $350,000.

“If he was telling the truth all he has to do is say it again. What’s he afraid of?” Babbitt says.

According to the church, it’s the commenters at this blog that apparently terrify Culkin.

In exhibits attached to the church’s motion, Scientology provides these examples of anger directed at Culkin. In this first batch (with highlighting by Scientology), we see comments that were posted at Facebook by Luis Garcia and Mike Rinder…

 
GarciaComment1

 

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GarciaComment2

 

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GarciaComment3

 

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GarciaComment4

 
This next example is something that former church member Karen de la Carriere posted at Operation Clambake (xenu.net)…

 
GarciaComment5

GarciaComment6

 
The rest are comments left at this blog.

Again, the highlighting is done by Scientology’s attorneys…

 
GarciaComments7

 
Radio Paul is singled out…

 
GarciaComments8

 
PreferToBeAnon2 showed restraint when it came to cursing…

 
GarciaComments9

 
We were not really a fan of this over-the-top entry by Media Lush, and other readers agreed with us at the time…

 
GarciaComments10

 
And Observer apparently stepped over a line for calling Culkin “persona non grata.”

 
GarciaComments11

 
And here’s the church’s motion itself.

Garcia: Scientology Motion for Culkin Deposition

 
Both sides of this case want to see Culkin deposed, and we suspect that Judge Whittemore will grant this motion so that the deposition will happen.

If Culkin is really reluctant to help the church with its evidentiary hearing or in a deposition, we have a feeling it has more to do with his relationship with the church than what our commenters have said at this blog.

This case just gets stranger all the time.

 
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You’re Welcome, New York Post

Three days after we broke the news that Leah Remini is leaving Scientology because of her problems with church leader David Miscavige and his “corrupt management,” the New York Post is claiming an “exclusive” and saying precisely the same thing.

NYPostRemini

 
The Post credits Mike Rinder, who was good enough to direct readers to this blog after we reported that Remini’s real problems with Miscavige started at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. But the Post provides links neither to Rinder nor here. This Internet thing is still a bit tricky for Rupert Murdoch’s rag, apparently.

Well, this should get interesting now.

 
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Lawrence Wright Book Becomes a Jeopardy Question

Just a fun tidbit for fans of Wright’s book from yesterday’s show…

 

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on July 11, 2013 at 07:00

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