Scientology Accused of Spending Millions to Influence Florida Judges - 2012-11-17
Last night, the St. Petersburg, Florida CBS affiliate, WTSP, broke news that Marty Rathbun has made blockbuster allegations in sworn testimony that the Church of Scientology spent millions in an attempt to influence Florida judges as it was fighting the criminal investigation and then civil litigation following the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson.
We've talked to Rathbun about his testimony, we have a copy of his deposition, and we've also asked our legal department — Manhattan attorney Scott Pilutik — to give us his thoughts about these stunning new allegations that Scientology spent freely to influence judges in Florida.
First, some background: on October 31, Florida attorney Ken Dandar, who represented McPherson's family in the wrongful death civil litigation, filed a federal lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and two of its attorneys, alleging that his civil rights were being trampled by Scientology through its manipulation of the state court system. Dandar claims that in a closed hearing scheduled for November 26, a Florida state judge will saddle Dandar with $1 million in court fees the church is asking for. In his federal lawsuit, Dandar is asking for a court injunction to stop the November 26 closed hearing.