H. Keith Henson
2237 Munns Ave.
Oakville, ON, L6H 3M9
June 18, 2002
Amicus curia brief, for entry in the case file.
The Honourable Judge Schaeffer
St Petersburg Courthouse
545 1st Ave N # 300
St Petersburg, FL 33701
Re CASE NO. 00-5682-CI-11 and related
Dear Judge Schaeffer:
If there is a requirement to be formal, this is also H. KEITH HENSON'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF IN DEFENDANTS' OMNIBUS MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS AND OTHER RELIEF.
I request this brief to be entered in the file and formally noticed to the parties .
My name has come up several times in the hearings you are conducting. I am one of the two fugitives from Scientology's systematic abuse through the legal system who have escaped to Canada (the other being Gerry Armstrong). Due to public threats by Scientology on the Internet, have reason to fear for my life were I to return to the US.
However, if you want to question me under oath about any of these matters brought up in this brief I can appear by telephone.
This unusual brief is to alert the court to certain well-documented matters of public record that relate directly to the hearings you are conducting. I hope you do not mind me being outspokenly frank.
To quote you (Minton testimony Vol. 5, page 676)
" . . . this hearing has certainly
alerted me to the fact that there are issues to be
resolved in abuse of process."
Also, in Vol. 14 pages 1855 you said: "
20 . . . I take great offense at the fact
21 that you think that Mr. Rinder in any way, shape, or
22 form has any power, control, or otherwise over me, any
23 other judge, or over the state attorney.
Mr. Minton then tried to fill you in by listing some of the recent unjustified cases brought against Mark Bunker, Jesse Prince, Bob Minton and me.
The courts depend on people respecting them; that is the root of their authority. Where Scientology is concerned, the very reputation of the courts is being tarnished. You are properly offended by the lack of respect inherent in the concept that Mr. Rinder (i.e., Scientology) "has any power, control . . ."
Unfortunately it is a very widespread perception that Scientology does have excessive power over the course of litigation, judges and officials elected or appointed. Every single one of the lawyers I know who has had extensive contact with the cult's litigation machine feels betrayed by the courts. These lawyers see the courts as incapable of dealing with Scientology.
The cult creates a case against every case, overwhelms the other side, pulls the wool over the judge's eyes or terrorized the judge. If they fail, they attack the judge and then ask for the judge to be recused for prejudice. (Exhibit K) Through their lawyers Scientology obfuscating issues, abusively deposes in such a way as to stress, confuse and provoke those deposed such that the depositions become their ruin. They use depositions from one case in an unrelated case. As you have seen, Scientology involves their "enemies" in so much litigation that cases actually blend.
Their heinous reputation precedes them. In the case in Hemet, California, that made me an exile, the first judge assigned was in stark fear of the cult (expressed in chambers to my lawyer). The second judge used a flimsy excuse of knowing a prosecution witness to recuse himself.
The third judge may not have been in their pocket, but he granted Scientology's in limine motions disallowing my defence by ruling against presentation of witnesses and against presenting any documents. He would not permit the introduction of material entered in other cases such as Scientology's fair game policy. He permitted an unverified deposition transcript from a bankruptcy 2004 hearing to be introduced (where 5th Amendment objections are not available, mixing civil and criminal rules), falsified a minute order and sealed parts of the transcript in violation of the rules of the court to cover up his false minute order.
He also admitted in open court following the trial that he knew their lawyer (former Mafia lawyer Abelson) who was coaching the DA, saying at the same time that he hadn't wanted to say so during the trial "for obvious reasons."
Hemet is even more of a stronghold of Scientology than Clearwater. In spite of that, the Sheriff's department did not seem corrupted at first. Concerning my case in Hemet Deputy Tony Greer wrote in a police report:
"In reviewing all of the Internet postings I did not see any direct threat of violence towards the church or any personnel of the church." (Case file)
Deputy Greer was then ordered by the District Attorney to interview Scientologists and recommend prosecution. A chance look by Mr. Berry at an open file on the DA's desk revealed a letter putting pressure on the DA from Gerald Feffer, husband of Monique Yingling who may testify in your court. (Mr. Berry might have executed a declaration about this and another letter he was later shown proposing local prosecution for statements in a deposition given hundreds of miles away.) If you are interested in other indications of "influence" on the judge, the DA, and even the jury in Hemet I wrote them up last year for the Grand Jury in Riverside and can supply a copy at your request.
Returning to the case before you, on page 1859 you mentioned what you considered a counterexample, Bernie McCabe filing the charges he did against Scientology, the ones you eventually approved of him dismissing.
The police recommended manslaughter charges against three individuals. Mr. McCabe filed the minimum charges he could against the corporation, abuse of a dependent adult and practicing medicine without a license. (The public would have taken him to task if he had filed nothing at all.) I am sure he expected Scientology to pay the tiny $11,000 fine and be done with it.
I can imagine his surprise when Scientology spent at last a hundred times the fine in court actions (which ate into the prosecutor's budget) and put pressure on Dr. Joan Wood that eventually resulted in her changing the manner of death to "accidental." (I personally know this having been in contact with other members of the Medical Examiner's office. I am not the best person to testify but can tell you who would be. Dr. Wood has unfortunately been so traumatized that her testimony might or might not be coherent even if she could be located.)
The limited charges the DA brought would have been valid even if Lisa McPherson had lived, but Mr. McCabe used Dr. Wood caving in as an excuse to drop the charges entirely.
Having been under attack by Scientology for years I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr. McCabe, and even more for his budget. But what he did contributed to the public perception that the cult uses overpowering influence against officials.
I know from thousands of comments on the Internet my view of this situation is widespread.
Even though L. Ron Hubbard has been dead since 1986, his policies are still the law within Scientology. Those policies require the systematic use of the legal system to punish its enemies--i.e., anyone who opposes them. (See Exhibit L "Purpose of a Lawsuit" and Exhibit N "SACRED CULT SCRIPTURE")
"The purpose of [a lawsuit] is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."
"A Manual on the Dissemination of Material" (first published in Ability, the Magazine of DIANETICS and SCIENTOLOGY, 1955) Note: this paragraph has apparently been purged from later editions of the "Manual"
This is a statement of policy in the Scientology's' own words. The court may want this document entered as evidence, and to question Church officials on the extent to which they are bound by it and consider other relevant cases that show that scores of people have been crushed by abusive Scientology litigation. This has been going on for decades.
You might already know that the transcripts of the hearings in front of you have been made available on the Internet. There is a good deal of interest in them--which has caused the site to be moved at least twice because of high traffic.
In reading those transcripts I found that Mr. Minton was confused about which case he funded among the 11 or 12 cases Scientology brought against me or caused the state to bring against me. It has been established in depositions by Scientology that Mr. Minton funded only a criminal defence and not the copyright case.
Mr. Minton paid part of my legal defense in a Scientology criminal frame-up in 1997 and gave me a small donation in 1998. That donation has been used as an excuse to depose him abusively 3 different times in my bankruptcy case and now to demand payment of over a million dollars from him because that is what they claim to have spent on the many cases they field after the date Mr. Minton funded my defense. (Graham Berry, the lawyer who defended me, was subsequently sued several times by Scientology and attacked by Scientology through the California Bar to the point he is now penniless and on public welfare--though he is still fighting.)
They also want over $300,000 from Mr. Minton in compensation for legal expenses against me they have not yet incurred! (The exact numbers can be found in Mr. Rosen's list discussed in the last few pages of Vol. 10 of Mr. Minton's testimony.)
In considering the oddities of the testimony you might want to keep in mind that Mr. Minton has been deposed several times in every Scientology case in the past few years no matter how remote. It is understandable that he finally reached the point where he is just trying to get out--though the possibility of something more sinister cannot be dismissed.
As brought out in the testimony, they also filed suits against Mr. Minton for over $10 million. Regardless of the merits of these suits they must be defended or defaulted. Defending them can be expected to eat up every dollar he has or could expect to earn for the rest of his life.
You have seen right in front of you how Scientology has forced disclosure of the funding available to their opponents.
Returning to examples from my own cases, Scientology's copyright case against me started with a letter I wrote to Federal Judge Whyte (Exhibit A) in the spring of 1996 where I quoted a Scientology instruction manual, NOTs 34 (Exhibit B) containing some of Scientology's "medical treatment policies" similar to those used to "treat" Lisa McPherson. I lost the case (mostly pro se against 20 top copyright lawyers).
Scientology does not approach the courts to seek justice that they believe they deserve, but blatantly use the law in ways it was not intended and which are contrary to public policy.
In Religious Technology Center - a Scientology corporation - vs. Robin Scott, the court stated that the RTC has a "documented history of vexatious behaviour" and abuses "the federal court system by using it, inter alia, to destroy their opponents, rather than to resolve an actual dispute over trademark law or any other legal matter."
RTC vs Scott, Nos. 94-55781 & No. 94-55920; 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 8954 (9th Cir. 1996)
In my copyright case the Wall Street Journal (Exhibit C) said:
"Judge Whyte, in short, has turned copyright law on its head. The purpose of the law is to encourage free speech, giving authors and artists comfort in knowing that others cannot misappropriate their works for their own profit. The essence of the matter before him, as anyone not blinded by a Pecksniffian literalness can see, is that the plaintiffs are using the law to muzzle their critics. In addition, the judge is in the process of morphing an already dubious tort case into a criminal matter through the contempt power--a threat to freedom of speech well recognized in the First Amendment community."
The whole criminal and civil proceedings over the death of Lisa McPherson has likewise "turned the law upon its head", and made its purpose to punish her Estate and its supporters for daring to complain of her death.
Near the end of Vol. 10 of Bob Minton's testimony Mr. Rosen is reported to have listed cases against their critics in which Scientology spent $34.95 million. I believe the real number (including private investigators and investigating, attacking, and trying to influence judges) is perhaps closer to $35 million a year. (See Exhibit K, American Lawyer, December, 1980, Scientology's War Against Judges.)
Jesse Prince, should you get him on the stand, has a detailed knowledge of how Scientology influenced, or at least tried to influence, judges through the judges' friends and family. (Exhibit M) [There is long taped interview of Jesse Prince that goes into details at http://www.offlines.org/jt1.txt if you want to access it.] The odds are they have investigated you no less than Bob Minton.
Scientology spent at least ten million dollars in their attempt to destroy Mr. Berry. Their latest was a try to confiscate an airline ticket bought for him by a third party so he could attend an awards meeting in Germany. Prior to 1993 Scientology was estimated to have spent $125 million trying to sue the IRS into submission. The estimate for how much Scientology spent over 22 years delaying payment to Wollersheim is $140 million, or close to $7 million a year.
They spent $20 to $50 million destroying the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), American Lawyer, June 1997 "Did Scientology Strike Back?" by Susan Hansen, (Exhibit J), including payments to their Master's-degree-in-acting spy inside CAN, Jolie Steckart. (Jolie is also mentioned in the transcripts.) F.A.C.T.Net (run by Lawrence Wollersheim) spent about $4 million defending themselves against attacks using the courts, and there are other similar cases such as the attack on Grady Ward.
Time Magazine spent over $10 million successfully defending their "Cult of Greed and Power" article (Exhibit D) to the Supreme Court. You can make your own estimate as to how much Scientology spent, but as one example of abuse, Scientology deposed the article's author, Richard Behar, for 56 days.
By those standards, what Scientology has spent on me is small potatoes. On Sept. 13, 2000, Mr. Rosen stated in a federal bankruptcy court that Scientology's RTC corporate shell had spent $2 million in legal fees on me. Eight hundred thousand of that was using the bankruptcy court as a punishment mechanism where the maximum possible recovery (had I been wealthy) was about $200,000. Since then, about 3-4 feet of filings have been made, in both Bankruptcy court and appeals to the Federal court, so the amount may be closer to $3 million by now. (I cannot reconcile this with the $1 million in Rosen's list.)
If $3 million is accurate, they have spent about ten times my yearly gross income for each of the last 6 years.
While spending a lot of money is not, of itself, abuse of process, if it is being spent for a reason outside of the purpose of (for example) bankruptcy law it becomes abusive. Bankruptcy law is to distribute a portion of the bankrupt person assets to their debtors and provide that person with a clean start. Spending as much per month as any possible recovery is clearly abusive. Exhibit O is a copy of an RTC voucher and a check for just a bit over $46,000. This was one month of billing to one of the four firms (and not the most expensive) working on my bankruptcy.
Again, in my bankruptcy, when RTC was getting a court order to depose my daughter in 2000 (who had just turned 18) Judge March of the Central District of California said:
"'I don't think I've even seen a Chapter 13 docket that ran 34 pages in this district. I was amazed when we requested the docket from the Northern District of California and they faxed down 34 pages of their docket from the clerk's office, and I don't think I've ever seen a Chapter 13 case where so many people have had either 2004 exams or depositions taken. It's---it's absolutely amazing.' (p.20)
"'I think in light of the history of this case that is reflected in the docket of the N.D. of Cal, which I take judicial notice of, and is reflected in the motion, that there have been a lot of long contentious and duplicative discovery in depositions taken, and that therefore, it was appropriate to move this court for a protective order.'(p.24)
Judge March limited my daughter's deposition to one hour and awarded sanctions to my daughter of $1,000. Needless to say RTC appealed the decision. Replying to the appeal cost far more than the (never paid) sanction.
Being a former tax lawyer, you might appreciate the sweetheart deal Scientology obtained from the IRS in 1993 when they paid 1.2 percent of what they themselves estimated they owed and obtained tax deductions for "services" in violation of the law.
January 29, 2002 Judge Silverman in the Sklar appeal to the Ninth Circuit wrote:
" . . . . An IRS closing agreement cannot overrule Congress and the Supreme Court.
"If the IRS does, in fact, give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology -- allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and rightly disallowed to everybody else -- then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy. The remedy is not to require the IRS to let others claim the improper deduction, too." (Exhibit E, paragraphs 24 and 25, page 14)
I have discussed such a lawsuit with one of the lawyers who have been before your court. His estimate is that such a suit would cost $4 million (because Scientology would intervene) or perhaps more with no chance to recover of any of the cost. So the illegal "preferential treatment" for Scientology--which greatly contributes to their cash flow and ability to abuse the legal system--is likely to remain the "law of the land."
As to how Scientology got such "special consideration," this is in an article by Douglas Franz of the New York Times:
"The decision to negotiate with the church came after Fred T. Goldberg Jr., the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time, had an unusual meeting with Miscavige in 1991. Scientology's own version of what occurred offers a remarkable account of how the church leader walked into IRS headquarters without an appointment and got in to see Goldberg, the nation's top tax official. Miscavige offered to call a halt to Scientology's suits against the IRS in exchange for tax exemptions." (Exhibit F, page 2)
In a remarkable precedent to the current situation with Mr. Minton, the heading on Exhibit F page 8 reads: THE UNUSUAL PEACE: AFTER A MEETING, A 180-DEGREE TURN. Page 10 reads: THE AFTERMATH: A FORMER ENEMY BECOMES AN ALLY. So if you wonder about Mr. Minton crumbling in the face of incessant Scientology litigation, consider that even the IRS folded, after (it is believed) the commissioner was entrapped and blackmailed. Some of this is covered in Exhibit G:
On Saturday, September 01, 2001 - 09:28 am Patricia Greenway (who is often in your court) wrote:
"Another gentleman told us that a lady friend of his, used to work for the IRS as the secretary to Fred Goldberg. Yes, she was on staff and at her desk the day that DM blew past her to Mr. Goldberg's office. She was astounded that someone could enter that office without an appointment, as it had never been done before during her employment. There are a lot of other elements to this story, but once again, we cannot reveal them in a public forum....."
The full post is Exhibit H.
More can be found here in a letter (Exhibit I) from another of the lawyers, Graham Berry, who has been before you.
As I mentioned, Mr. Berry has been reduced to living on welfare by the cult's incessant attacks on him in retaliation for representing a number of clients, including me, against the cult. At least 3 judges who have ruled against him were later found to have close connections to Scientology, in one case, the Judge's wife was employed by them (perhaps not directly).
I am sure you are well aware of the cult's efforts that finally succeeded in driving medical examiner Joan Wood from office. If it is not well known to you that she spent nearly a year in a mental ward after being forced from office, there are people in your court every day that can confirm this.
Scientology is not the only example where large amounts of money have distorted justice. (The tobacco cases, OJ Simpson, and Microsoft come to mind.) The use of courts to force legal expenses on those involved in Scientology litigation economically destroys opponents. This was not an anticipated abuse of the legal system. To date the courts have found no effective way to control this abuse.
"Plaintiffs have abused the federal court system by using it, inter alia, to destroy their opponents, rather than to resolve an actual dispute over trademark law or any other legal matter. This constitutes 'extraordinary, malicious, wanton and oppressive conduct.' As such, this case qualifies as an 'exceptional case' and fees should be awarded pursuant to the Lanham Act... It is abundantly clear that plaintiffs sought to harass the individual defendants and destroy the church defendants through massive over-litigation and other highly questionable litigation tactics. The Special Master has never seen a more glaring example of bad faith litigation than this."
RTC v. Robin Scott, U. S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 85-711-JMI (Bx) 85-7197-JMI (Bx), January 20, 1993, Memorandum of Decision
Scientology's goal in the case before you seems to be to extend the hearing until the resources the Lisa McPherson estate and Mr. Dandar have are completely drained. It is willing and has the depth of pocket to spend ten or a hundred dollars to force an opponent to spend a dollar.
Please excuse the somewhat unorganized state of this letter/brief. There is a simply overwhelming amount of material to chose among. Additional legal reference I don't have at hand but that you could have a clerk look up include:
215 U.S. App. D.C. 206
(US v Heldt talking about Red Box data)
2 Rutgers J. Law & Relig. 1
(Law Review on CoS / DMCA / Censorship)
16 Rev. Litig. 747
("Fair Game" levelling the playing field in CoS litigation)
This brief is made under penalty of perjury in that where there are statements of fact in this document, they are (to the best of my knowledge) true.
PS, The closest analogy to Scientology is a drug cartel.
Subsequent to the battle with Scientology erupting on the net in 1995 there have been advances in neurology, physiology and evolutionary psychology linking cults and drugs.
There was a good article "Hijacking the Brain Circuits With a Nickel Slot Machine" on the subject Feb. 19, 2002 in the New York Times (it can be found on the home page of The Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction at UCSF). Short quote:
"Some people seem to be born with vulnerable dopamine systems that get hijacked by social rewards."
In short, the intense attention cults focus on a victim causes the release of brain reward chemicals that have the same effect as drugs.
Scientology pays under minimum wage for their "auditors" and charges up to $1000 an hour--providing profits rivalling those made in drugs.
The huge profits, at one time more than a million dollars a week, are fed into attacks on the media, critics, and into subverting governments.