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TEXAS SHOWDOWN: Can Monique Rathbun Get an Order to Depose Scientology Leader David Miscavige?

MiscavigeRomeA week from today, on December 11, the next dramatic chapter in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit against Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, will take place in the Comal County courthouse in New Braunfels, Texas.

In August, Monique filed the lawsuit, accusing Miscavige of orchestrating a years-long retaliation campaign against her husband, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, that had the effect of subjecting her to harassment, surveillance, and distasteful pranks. Miscavige argued back in something called a “special appearance” that he has nothing to do with the state of Texas and should be let out of the lawsuit. That jurisdictional question has been scheduled to be heard on December 11.

Earlier this week, Monique’s attorney, Ray Jeffrey, asked for a continuance to delay the hearing, arguing that the people Scientology has made available for depositions didn’t adequately address the question. It’s Miscavige himself who should answer questions about his involvement in Texas, Jeffrey says. Judge Dib Waldrip has indicated that he will consider that continuance request at the previously scheduled December 11 hearing, and Jeffrey will get a chance to argue for deposing Scientology’s leader.

In the motion for a continuance, Ray Jeffrey argues that what is at issue is the assertion by the Rathbuns that David Miscavige has obsessive control over Scientology, and would necessarily have overseen the harassment campaign of the the Rathbuns. The church argues that Miscavige is an ecclesiastical leader with a limited role. But it’s only Miscavige himself who can testify to that, Jeffrey argues — after deposing two of Miscavige’s lieutenants, Warren McShane and Allen Cartiwright, it’s obvious that they have little day-to-day contact with their boss.

If Miscavige wants out of the lawsuit based on the facts of how he does his job, then he should testify to it, Jeffrey argues…

Neither Mr. Cartwright nor Mr. McShane are in a position to testify reliably concerning Capt. Miscavige’s involvement or lack of involvement in Texas activities. Only Capt. Miscavige can testify as to his involvement in the particular facts and circumstances of this case, or in Texas generally. Capt. Miscavige is seeking dismissal of this suit against him, and he has the burden of proving the alleged lack of jurisdiction over him. It would be procedurally and substantively unfair to make Mrs. Rathbun respond to this motion without being able to question his factual basis for the motion. As Capt. Miscavige proclaimed in his sworn declaration in the federal case of Fishman, et al v. Church of Scientology International, “I am visible and I testify.” There is nothing inappropriate about having him testify concerning his activities relating to this case and to his claim that this Court has no jurisdiction over him.

Jeffrey also makes the point that per the instructions of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the church is an obsessively bureaucratic organization, and yet it hasn’t turned over any substantive documents in relation to the years of alleged harassment — even though the church has now admitted that it sent the “Squirrel Busters” intimidation squad to the Rathbun home to stage protests for months.

If Waldrip doesn’t grant the continuance and doesn’t compel Miscavige’s testimony, Jeffrey will be prepared to argue the jurisdiction question on December 11 based on the evidence he’s been able to gather. And in order to bolster that case, today he submitted a massive collection of declarations by former Scientology employees. The filing includes declarations from John Brousseau, Michael Fairman, Chris Guider, Steve Hall, Jefferson Hawkins, Marc & Claire Headley, Mary James, Don Jason, Bert Leahy, David and Mercy Lingenfelter, Mark “Mat” Pesch, Mike Rinder, and Amy Scobee as Monique aims to prove to Judge Waldrip that David Miscavige controls Scientology, and uses that control to target former members in harassment campaigns.

We’re posting those exhibits in two bunches. In this first half, there are declarations from Brousseau, Fairman, Guider, Hall, Hawkins, the Headleys, James, Jason, and then the first part of the entire Debbie Cook proceedings from February 2012…

 

Monique Rathbun vs. Scientology: Affidavits Declarations Part 1

 
In this second part, there’s the remainder of the Cook testimony, and declarations by Leahy, the Lingenfelters, Pesch, Rinder, and Scobee…

 

Monique Rathbun v. Scientology: Affidavits Declarations Part 2

 
The December 11 hearing will also take up Scientology’s anti-SLAPP motion, and we hear that by Monday Monique will file another set of documents to respond specifically to that motion.

We’ll grab those when we can.

There’s a lot of material. Help us pick out the most remarkable statements from this huge collection of evidence.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on December 4, 2013 at 17:40

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