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SCIENTOLOGY’S PRAYER: The Hail Mary petition to keep David Miscavige from being deposed

Wallace_Jefferson3In December, Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip decided that Monique Rathbun has the right to depose the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, in her harassment lawsuit against the church. The judge then reasserted that decision after he was asked to reconsider. But now, Scientology is so determined to keep Miscavige out of a witness chair, it is taking a step that experts are telling us is somewhat extreme.

On Friday, Wallace Jefferson — the former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court (pictured at right) — filed on behalf of Miscavige an 89-page petition with the Texas Third Court of Appeals in Austin, asking it to grant a writ of mandamus and counteract Waldrip’s order.

We have the petition now, and we’d like your thoughts on it.

Keep one thing particularly in mind — as Scott Pilutik has explained to us before, in petitioning for a writ of mandamus, Scientology is essentially now suing Judge Waldrip for making the decision that he did. And so, if you’ve been following the case carefully, you’ll recognize almost everything in this petition, because Jefferson is asking the appellate court to consider the arguments that didn’t sway Waldrip.

Monique Rathbun filed her lawsuit in August because she had been through four years of harassment and surveillance. Scientology, for example, had a private investigator bother her co-workers and family members, asking them if they knew about mental illness in Marty Rathbun’s family. For years, the Rathbuns could go nowhere without being followed and filmed, and anonymous websites attacked them with innuendo. But in the petition, Wallace Jefferson follows Scientology’s playbook to present this all as just a religious argument being furthered by a man who is angry at the church that kicked him out and who now calls it a cult…

Contrary to the theatrical caricature the Plaintiff has pleaded below, the Church of Scientology is a recognized religion, practiced in thousands of churches and missions by millions of followers in more than 150 countries. Its governance requires strict formalities separating the corporate management of the faith from the guidance its ecclesiastical leader offers its adherents. That leader, a California resident with no meaningful Texas contacts, has been ordered to suspend his spiritual mission to answer questions about an imagined role in the circumstances giving rise to this suit.

Jefferson really lays it on thick about Miscavige and his exalted position.

In his spiritual role, Mr. Miscavige has devoted himself to the religion’s orthodoxy and growth. He has led a global campaign to ensure that each Church of Scientology is “ideal in location, design, quality of religious services and social betterment programs”; a multi-year project to restore and preserve the integrity of fundamental Scientology scripture as written or recorded by L. Ron Hubbard, the religion’s founder, and the development of a comprehensive Scientology counseling and ministerial-training program. Mr. Miscavige has devoted his ministry to ensuring that Scientology churches practice only the Scientology scripture as Mr. Hubbard delivered. These activities have required extensive travel and over 100 hours of Mr. Miscavige’s time each week. Under his leadership, the religion has experienced unprecedented growth, and these endeavors have required that Mr. Miscavige cede administrative control of Church management to others.

And of course, he has to make it all sound like the Rathbuns are really motivated by the publicity — even though most of the coverage of this trial has come courtesy of the blog you are currently reading (and that, dear readers, does not a media circus make)…

This is a high-profile, media-driven dispute between a former member of the Church of Scientology, Marty Rathbun, his wife Monique Rathbun, and the Church. After serving 20 years in various Church positions, Marty Rathbun was demoted in 2003, left the Church in 2004, and was excommunicated. Since that time, he has engaged in a conspicuous, public battle with the Church and a personal vendetta against Mr. Miscavige. Mr. Rathbun’s wife, Plaintiff Monique Rathbun, has interjected herself into that dispute, feeding the public controversy through her Facebook postings and links to Mr. Rathbun’s anti-Scientology blog….Mr. Rathbun’s religious war has been waged in his wife’s name.

We then hear specifics about how Marty has waged “war” on Scientology through the media, etc. — all of which is the same thing that Judge Waldrip was told over and over again.

Scientology’s chief dirty-tricks private investigator is referred to as “filmmaker David Lubow,” which is really precious.

Once again, we are told that the Church of Scientology International (CSI), is falling on its sword, taking responsibility for the years of surveillance of the Rathbuns, and can “satisfy any obligations related to this suit.”

Sue CSI, but let Miscavige and RTC go, in other words. Again, it’s exactly what was presented to Judge Waldrip.

There’s an interesting footnote on one page that we know will elicit some surprise: “[Monique] noticed the deposition of actress Leah Remini, but has since abandoned that discovery.” As far as we know, Monique’s team still hopes to depose Remini.

Jefferson asserts that Scientology provided all of the evidence it was asked for, and that Monique never considered the structure of the church or the evidence before her, but that she unreasonably wanted to depose Miscavige from the start. Again, this was all argued previously before Waldrip.

And now, Wallace has to go after Waldrip himself.

After announcing that it had reviewed only a portion of the Plaintiff’s witness statements, only one of the five depositions, and a portion of the trial briefs, the trial court again continued the special appearance, but this time ordered that Mr. Miscavige must appear for deposition. Other than stating that the deposition was to be about “the jurisdictional issues herein,” the trial court provided no limits or rules for the examination.

In other words, Waldrip blew it, not paying enough attention to the huge filings on both sides in this lawsuit.

So then comes the legal argument for the petition. Jefferson argues that deposing Miscavige is a special case — an “apex deposition” — because he’s the leader of such an important organization. He argues that people always want to depose the CEO, and it’s usually just a form of harassment because the CEO doesn’t have specific knowledge of the case at hand.

He’s ignoring, of course, that Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, and many other former high-level Scientology executives all have said (under oath) that Miscavige is a micromanaging terror who of course would be making all the decisions in a retaliation campaign like the one the Rathbuns have gone through.

Jefferson then goes into some pretty arcane legal pleadings about the petition, and later this evening we’re hoping to have some analysis from our legal wing, Scott Pilutik.

Once again, a Jefferson (Wallace this time, his brother Lamont last time) completely mischaracterizes the 2007 text messages that Mike Rinder submitted as evidence, saying they portray “activities in London.” We’re not sure why they keep making this mistake — the text messages show Miscavige operating complete control over the surveillance of BBC reporter John Sweeney as he traveled in Florida and California.

Jefferson argues that even if Monique’s evidence about John Brousseau’s experience in Texas and Monty Drake’s spying on Lisa McPherson’s family in Texas were true, it doesn’t mean that David Miscavige has anything to do with Scientology spying in the state.

And of course, there’s the religious argument, that having David Miscavige deposed about Scientology spying would violate his First Amendment religious rights.

Because the Plaintiff has resorted to imputed theories of jurisdiction, she asks the trial court to scrutinize the religion’s corporate governance and structure. Even if this type of jurisdictional veil-piercing were viable in a religious context, discovery into whether Mr. Miscavige controls and makes decisions for other Scientology entities would impermissibly involve the courts in internal church-governance issues….Compelling Mr. Miscavige to sit for an intrusive inquiry into the religion’s governance and structure violates the principle that religious organizations “must be free to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters which pertain to church government…”

Again, it’s all been heard before, but Judge Waldrip found that there’s enough dispute about the facts regarding Miscavige’s involvement in Texas that it easily justifies having the man sit down, take an oath, and answer some questions about it.

Our experts tell us that appeals courts generally don’t want to get involved in a lawsuit at this stage. It’s still early — the temporary restraining order is still in place, for crying out loud. And appeals courts would normally not come into play until a decision had been rendered in the lawsuit itself, not just about some jurisdictional discovery.

We’ve put a call into the Texas Third Court of Appeals asking for some clarification about when such a petition might be adjudicated, and we’ll be asking Ray Jeffrey for some thoughts on how things will proceed. Scott Pilutik will get back to us later with some analysis. In the meantime, here’s the document, please give us your thoughts on it.


Monique Rathbun v Church of Scientology; Scientology's Petition for Writ of Mandamus

Also, this week, Scientology asked Judge Waldrip if it could submit a “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” to help guide him as he makes a decision about Scientology’s “anti-SLAPP” motion. It’s Scientology’s arguments spelled out as if Waldrip were going to agree. “Here, Judge, we’ve done the work for you, just sign at the bottom and dismiss this lawsuit for good.” Give it a read if you have time, but we have a feeling Judge Waldrip may have his own take on the facts of this case.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 19, 2014 at 17:55

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer


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  • aegerprimo

    Good post by Karen de la Carriere about how the Co$ lust for IMMEDIATE PRODUCTION is a result of how DM is making his minions handle this case (and other cases).

    ESMB –

  • Pierrot
  • media_lush

    In British English, a “tout” is any person who solicits business or employment in a persistent and annoying manner. Wikipedia

    …. which might be a bit cruel for this headline… but it does send a message to celeb scions

  • texasexpat

    Miscavige “has been ordered to suspend his spiritual mission” Is that some sort of euphemism for wanking off looking at pics of TC?

    • xoxoxoxoxoxox

      No. That’s his spiritual Emission. His spiritual ADmission is the dildo he puts up his bum bum while he’s wanking off. There is no such thing as his “spiritual mission”. They just don’t want to admit that all he does is wank off, hit people, and count the loot. And micro-manage harassment in Texas.

  • DodoTheLaser

    I will just leave it here.

    The Lincoln Lawyer

    “A defense attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents
    a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.”

    • 1.1

      As the saying goes…every whore has their price. I wonder how much Mr Wallace Jefferson is getting paid by the Co$ for his services? Or is he doing this gratis to right the wrongs of this brutal & unabated religious persecution brought about by the Rathburns?

      And if David Miscavige really is the Pope, then surely the monetary resources being squandered on dozens of lawyers would fair better serve the flock being directed to ideal orgs?

      At every turn Co$ haphazardly intertwine first amendment rights & we are a religion as justification for their ‘fair game’ actions, they do this to obfuscate their true beliefs & intentions, and that is to pursue their fair game policies without impunity.

      No religious practice is above the law.

      • DodoTheLaser

        Good points.

  • mouseyhair

    Reading this makes me literally sick to my stomach. I am disgusted just reading it! To read this blech written by brother Jefferson (no religious pun intended) makes me want to scream, “Do some research and pull your head out!!” Am I to understand that in a court of law you can just make up stuff not based on FACTS and put them into ANY legal writing/proposal/filing? Ughhhhhhh!

  • Ardent

    I agree with mouseyhair. And I get trembly and distressed worrying the bastard cult will somehow slip out of the hands of the law yet again. I feel such a confusion of rage, and loathing, and sheer disbelief. That this evil organisation even exists beggars the imagination.

  • pronoia

    I would be very interested in seeing someone make these very same arguments to the Texas Supreme Court in favor of some big Imam and his “right” to impose The Sharia on Islamic apostates.

    Becuase it seems to me that the various lawyers and judges in a number of states like Texas who believe in religious freedom also believe that the constitutional law of the land is essentially Christian. Which scientology is decidedly not. At least Muslims believe that Jesus was actually born to a virgin and that he rose from the dead after 3 days because it says so in the Quran.

  • DodoTheLaser

    This is not about religion. This is about power and money. Also, it’s 2014.

  • Cat Daddy
    • valshifter

      The mutton chops.

  • valshifter

    They make big statements about number of members in the millions, thousands of churches all over the world, AS IF facts are not easy to doble check now days with Google or Wikipidia. they keep on thinking that we are stupid don’t they? Homosapiens is stupid, but oh no no Homonovis”

  • baddog5623

    The findings of fact should go a long way to shutting down appeals and lock the cult in to its arguments.

  • mook
  • Xenuvius

    Wow!! When I read this, I figured it was drafted by OTVIIIisGr8….the hyperbole is over the top for anything besides satire…lolol

    “Contrary to the theatrical caricature the Plaintiff has pleaded below, the Church of Scientology is a recognized religion, practiced in thousands of churches and missions by millions of followers in more than 150 countries.”

    C’mon…Wallace might even have ripped it off word for word from one of OTVIII’s posts. Maybe he does not realize it’s satire…haha

  • ömölö

    take away the tax exempt status and with it all that “religion” smokescreen and you will see just another illegal money-extortionist-hypnosis racketeering gangster outfit

  • Sam Domingo

    I just threw up a little (more) in my mouth.

  • InterestedObserver12

    Does the Plaintiff get to respond to the petition?

  • Barb Snow

    I think they are serving notice to Waldrip that if he crosses them, they WILL go after him. Even if they lose this one, the message has been sent. I hope such a message would only stiffen his spine.

    • Robert Eckert

      He already did cross them. They just did go after him. They served him notice that they would do so a long time ago.

  • Bruce Decimus Meridius Martin

    “the Church of Scientology is a recognized religion” Lies lies lies lies!!!!!! No where does the Federal Government have the authority or capability to “recognize” any religion. They (the “Church” of Miscavige) of course are referring to their tax exempt status which does not have a “is this a religion” litmus test. It merely indicates the organization is “charitable” (which is a joke given the COM’s business model is a pyramid scheme) and the only reason the IRS caved was the incessant motions and suits filed by the Church of Miscavige.

    • Sydjazz

      I guess recognised in their eyes means “we don’t pay tax just like other religions”

  • Travis

    For those who are interested I dug up some info on the 3rd Court of Appeals where the Writ is filed. It’s a six member court, five republicans and one democrat. The one democrat does happen to be the Chief Judge, J.Woodfin Jones. (Democrat judges are extremely rare in TX).

    The place 2 judge, Jeff Rose, has something in common with both Wallace Jefferson and Dib Waldrip. He was appointed to this seat by Gov. Rick Perry when it became vacant. He then went on to win the next election.

    About 5 or so years ago I actually was called to Jury duty in Jeff Rose’s then court in the Travis County courthouse in Austin. I didn’t get picked to sit on the jury but went through an exhaustive voir dire and had the opportunity to interact with Rose. I remember him being a very likeable guy with a sense of humor.

    This was the court in which the infamous Tom Delay appealed his conviction for illegal campaign contributions. Delay did win that appeal with the chief judge Jones being the only dissenter. Melissa Goodwin wrote the majority opinion. Ironically, or perhaps not, she herself was fined in 2011 for accepting an illegal campaign contribution from her father and mother-in-law. The law in TX says that you can receive more than 5,000 in contributions from a relative, but “in-laws” don’t count. So it was a technicality. Nothing like what DeLay got away with.