Court Will Convict Nine Scientologists - 1979-10-09
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey said yesterday he will find nine members of the Church of Scientology guilty of directing and implementing a plot to burglarize government offices and plant spies in government agencies, and of then covering up their illegal activities.
Richey's ruling, a rare intervention in the delicate plea-bargaining process that accompanies most major criminal trials, enforces what he said was a pretrial agreement reached between defense attorneys and federal prosecutors. The ruling precludes any protracted public trial of the nine defendants and instead calls for an unusual procedure of submitting written evidence about the defendants' alleged criminal conduct.
Under the agreement, the Scientologists can attempt to have the documents supporting the government's evidence against them filed secretly with the judge. Those documents -- which reportedly detail the church's allegedly illegal spying campaign -- are said to form the backbone of the government's case.