Getting Clear at BU? - 1996-05-15
Never mind that the gruff, avuncular 64-year-old, one of Boston's top trial attorneys, has played a leading role in the Church of Scientology's efforts to use copyright law to keep secret church documents off the Internet.
Although the church has won some significant courtroom victories, critics, legal observers, and even judges criticize the zeal with which it has pursued its goals.
For instance, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, in throwing out a copyright-infringement suit against the Washington Post late last year, called it "reprehensible" that church lawyers -- including Cooley -- would go after the newspaper for running a 46-word excerpt that was clearly covered by fair-use provisions. The church's aim, Brinkema wrote, was "the stifling of criticism and dissent of the religious practices of Scientology and the destruction of its opponents."
In an interview with the Washington Post in 1985, Cooley said that he was a Scientologist. His current relationship with the church is unclear. He now refuses to discuss whether or not he's a member, calling it a "vicious question."