Scientology lawyer threatens lawsuit - 1987-09-13
The Church of Scientology delivered a letter to the St. Petersburg Times Friday that threatened to sue the paper if it wrote a story about the book L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? The letter was hand-delivered by Richard Haworth, public affairs director for the church in Clearwater.
The letter was from Timothy Bowles, a lawyer in Beverly Hills, Calif., and was given both to a Times reporter and to George Rahdert, a St. Petersburg lawyer who represents the Times in First Amendment cases. The letter reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Rahdert:
I represent a number of Churches of Scientology.
It has come to my attention that a Mr. Koff and perhaps others at the St. Petersburg Times are considering publication of a review of L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? by Bent Corydon.
We have evidence that your paper has a deep-seated bias against the Church and that you intend to hit the Church hard with this review. You are the only even semi-major paper that is bothering to consider a review of this book. In light of this it is quite apparent and can be proved that your motives in reviewing this book are not literary or for putting forth "news," but are to attack and denigrate the Church through any vehicle you find available.
Corydon's book is so scandalous, full of lies and unprofessional that no major publication has touched it. If you forward one of his lies you will find yourself in court facing not only libel and slander charges, but also charges for conspiracy to violate civil rights. If you publish anything at all on it, you may still find yourself defending charges in court in light of what we know about your intentions. We know a whole lot more about your institution and motives than you think.
Very truly yours,