Skeptic News: Federal judge not persuaded by Scientology testimony

From: NY Times

Blockbuster claims that the Church of Scientology spent more than $20 million trying to cover up the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson failed to sway a federal judge in Florida on Monday.

The headline-grabbing claims, made by ex-church honcho Marty Rathbun in a recent deposition, allege church officials spent millions on private investigators, operatives and lavish gifts such as Super Bow tickets, jewelry and face-time with John Travolta to influence Florida judges and other officials after McPherson died.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez heard arguments on the claims Monday but ultimately denied a request by a McPherson family lawyer to stop an upcoming Nov. 26 state court hearing at which the lawyer expects to get slapped with $1 million in sanctions.

Rathbun’s deposition alleged a systematic effort on the part of Church leader David Miscavige to curry favor with Florida officials and discredit Dandar in his civil actions.The lawyer, Kennan Dandar, told the federal court judge he plans to amend his request for an emergency injunction and try again.

Lisa McPherson, 36, had a severe mental breakdown and died from a pulmonary embolism after church officials reportedly delayed taking her to a hospital because they feared doctors would put her in a psychiatric ward.

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