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Scientology Payback: Revenge of the Videographers

Bert Leahy

Bert Leahy

We’ve told you Bert Leahy’s story before. He was the Texas freelance videographer who worked briefly for Scientology’s “Squirrel Busters” caper, helping to snoop on Marty and Monique Rathbun in 2011, before his conscience got the better of him.

Bert soon realized that working for “Dave Statter” wasn’t really the documentary project he thought he was working on — he and his fellow Squirrel Busters were obviously just stalking the Rathbuns, and had been told, in Statter’s words, to “Make Marty’s life a living hell.”

Leahy quit after a couple of days, and then felt so lousy about taking part in something so nefarious, he contacted Rathbun to apologize. That’s when, after talking to Rathbun, the two of them realized that “Statter” was really Scientology private investigator Dave Lubow.

Now, Bert’s story is more relevant than ever. On August 16, Monique Rathbun filed suit against Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, and that lawsuit has already provided lots of fireworks with a failed attempt by the church to disqualify Monique’s attorneys, and the announced involvement of King of Queens actress Leah Remini and former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis, who are each expected to give depositions.

The next big chapter in the case is a fight over David Miscavige’s attempt to get himself out of the lawsuit. He’s filed a declaration saying that his role in Scientology is limited, and that he’s never had any business dealings in the state of Texas. The Rathbuns say that’s not true, and the reason they’ve asked to depose Remini and Davis is that each may be able to show that Miscavige actually has total control of Scientology and has run operations in Texas.

That’s also where Bert Leahy comes in. He’s put together a 2-page declaration about his involvement in the Squirrel Busters, and he’s prepared to testify if he’s needed.

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Monique has named David Lubow as a defendant in her lawsuit, and the Rathbuns believe that an operation like the Squirrel Busters would not have existed without the full knowledge and financial backing of Miscavige. (Church of Scientology International lawyer Les Strieber said in court that the Squirrel Busters were not “sent” by the church. He said they were merely church members exercising their religious rights.)

Israel Cardoza, from his website

Israel Cardoza, from his website

And now, another videographer may cause Scientology headaches. Last week, the Rathbuns were filmed by a Texas crew for a segment on Inside Edition when Marty recognized the cameraman setting up his equipment.

Sure enough, Israel Cardoza admitted that he had taken part briefly in surveillance on the Rathbuns (actually well before the Squirrel Busters scheme). Like Leahy, he was a freelance videographer with no connection to the Church of Scientology. In Cardoza’s case, he quit after just a day of chasing Marty Rathbun around South Texas.

Cardoza apologized to the Rathbuns for taking part in the operation, and we’ve been told that he too will be participating in the lawsuit in some way.

 
UPDATE: Here’s video that Marty Rathbun captured in 2010 of Israel Cardoza filming him and John Sweeney when Sweeney was in South Texas shooting for his Panorama special, “The Secrets of Scientology.” You can see why Marty would recognize Cardoza so readily three years later during the Inside Edition shoot.

 

 
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More Documents in the Laura DeCrescenzo Lawsuit

On Friday, we revealed the 928 pages of new filings that Laura DeCrescenzo and her attorneys made as they face her biggest day in court yet. On October 23, she’ll be trying to defeat the Church of Scientology’s motion for summary judgment, which asks Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian to find that Laura had filed her lawsuit too late when she initiated it in 2009.

Well, we posted hundreds of pages of Laura’s answers to the church’s motion — but what about the church’s motion for summary judgment itself?

For those fascinated with this case — and we know we’re not the only ones — we’ve now posted the church’s motion, so you can get a look at what Laura is up against.

Church of Scientology’s motion for summary judgment.

 
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Karen de la Carriere on the Office of Special Affairs

Another interesting video from Karen de la Carriere, J. Swift, and Angry Gay Pope!

 

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 14, 2013 at 07:00

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