Fishman Affidavit

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The Fishman Affidavit is a set of court documents submitted by ex-Scientologist Steven Fishman in 1993 in the federal case, Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz (Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx) U.S. District Court for the Central District of California).

The Affidavit contained criticisms of the Church of Scientology and substantial portions of the Operating Thetan course materials.

Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz[edit]

The documents were brought as exhibits attached to a declaration by Steven Fishman on 9 April 1993 as part of Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz. Along with Kendrick Moxon and Laurie Bartilson, Timothy Bowles was one of the lead attorneys for the Church of Scientology in the case.[1]

Fishman told the court that he had committed crimes on behalf of the Church. He also attested that he was assigned to murder his psychologist, Dr. Uwe Geertz, and then commit suicide.[2][3]

As evidence, Fishman submitted course materials he said that he purchased from Ellie Bolger, a fellow Scientologist, and Richard Ofshe, an expert witness for his defense. The Church says the documents were stolen and considers them to be copyrighted and a trade secret.[4] Among other materials, the affidavit contains 61 pages of the allegedly trade-secret and copyrighted story of Xenu.

The Fishman Affidavit contains much text from the old versions of the Operating Thetan levels. The versions of OT I to OT VII in the Fishman Affidavit are considered authentic as the church's Religious Technology Center (RTC) brought copyright lawsuits over their release on the Internet. Fishman's description of OT VIII contains the accusation that Jesus was a pedophile. After initially asserting copyright to all the OT level descriptions in the affidavit, RTC amended its claim to remove the OT VIII description, calling it a forgery. Fishman stated that he had obtained his copy of OT VIII from Ofshe, a different source than his copies of the other OT Levels, purchased from a fellow Scientologist.[5]

The Church of Scientology dropped its libel case against Fishman and Geertz in 1994.[6]

An important side aspect of the case was the fact that several high-ranking Scientology officials and lead attorneys for the organization and former high-ranking Scientologists submitted declarations on their activities for the Church of Scientology, giving thereby insight into the internal ongoings of the Scientology management.

Among others, declarations were submitted by:

Posted to the Internet[edit]

Although the Church of Scientology attempted to prevent others from receiving the document by continuously borrowing it, the text of this declaration and its exhibits were scanned, converted to text, and posted onto the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology by ex-Scientologist Arnie Lerma.[16] The material was then placed on the World Wide Web by David S. Touretzky.

Lerma's newsgroup posting resulted in the August 1995 raid of his home for copyright violation on the materials, and the resulting lawsuit Religious Technology Center (Scientology) vs Arnaldo Lerma, Richard Leiby, and The Washington Post.[16] U.S. Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that while Richard Leiby and the Washington Post had not violated copyright, Lerma was liable and fined $2,500 but with no costs awarded to Scientology. Judge Brinkema also stated that the primary motivation for the case was "to stifle criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its critics."[17][18]

After being posted to the newsgroup, the documents were mirrored on hundreds of websites worldwide.[19] The Church of Scientology responded by suing a number of people and their Internet service providers for copyright infringement. The defendants responded by challenging the church to prove it was actually the copyright holder of the disputed documents.

The other notable case in connection with this was against Dutch writer Karin Spaink. The Church brought suit on copyright violation grounds for reproducing the source material, and claimed rewordings would reveal a trade secret. In 2003, Spaink won the case, with the court holding that her quotation of Scientology works was acceptable and expressing concern about Scientology's attempts to prevent discussion of its doctrines.[20] The Church appealed but dropped the case after a negative advice on the appeal from the Attorney-General to the court in March 2005. In December 2005 the court dismissed the appeal, making the previous ruling final. The Church has no further possibility for appeal due to their dropping the case. The ruling also reversed earlier decisions affecting hyperlinking.[21]

Critics of the church have accused it of intentionally using lawsuits in these and other cases as SLAPP suits, intended to silence their opposition. Critics of Steven Fishman have produced the affidavit of Kenneth D. Long, a Scientology executive, which states that Fishman received services from a Scientology mission, did a few introductory courses, never worked for the Church or CCHR, and did not get any auditing or do any courses at the main Miami church, which would conflict with his claims.[22] Vicki Aznaran, a former Scientologist who was involved in anti-Scientology litigation before retracting her claims as part of a settlement with Scientology, gave a declaration through Scientology attorneys in which she states various allegations made by Steven Fishman and other church critics are untrue,[23] contradicting her previous declaration given in CSI v. Fishman and Geertz.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gonnet, Roger (1998). La secte: secte armée pour la guerre. Alban. p. 212. ISBN 2-911751-04-3. 
  2. ^ Behar, Richard (1991-05-06). "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power". Time. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. ^ Ortega, Tony (1999-12-23). "Double Crossed". Phoenix New Times. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  4. ^ "Court TV Library". Court TV Online Legal Documents. 1999-11-28. Retrieved 2007-08-22. Plaintiff claims that these documents are protected from both unauthorized use and unauthorized disclosure under the copyright laws of the United States and under trade secret laws, respectively. 
  5. ^ Press Release by Steven Fishman, "Press Release: Scientology upper level references (OT materials) affirmed unsealed and in the public domain by United States Court of Appeals.", Pages 1-7., April 28, 1994.
  6. ^ Garcia, Wayne (1994-07-07). "Church of Scientology settles suit with PR firm". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-01-26. Earlier this year, Scientology dropped its libel case against former Scientologist Steve Fishman and his therapist, Uwe Geertz. 
  7. ^ Declaration of Jonathan Epstein, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  8. ^ Declaration of Guillaume Lesevre, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  9. ^ Declaration of David Miscavige, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 8th, 1994
  10. ^ Declaration of Raymond Mithoff, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  11. ^ Declaration of Thomas Spring, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  12. ^ Declaration of Norman Starkey, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  13. ^ Declaration of William Walsh, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 8th, 1994
  14. ^ Declaration of Marc Yager, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  15. ^ Declaration of Monique Yingling, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman & Uwe Geertz, Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, February 7th, 1994
  16. ^ a b "Civil Action No. 95-1107-A". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  17. ^ Prendergast, Alan (1997-03-06). "Nightmare on the Net". Denver Westword. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  18. ^ Prendergast, Alan (1997-08-14). "Hush-Hush Money". Denver Westword. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  19. ^ "OT III Scholarship Page". David S. Touretzky. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  20. ^ Grossman, Wendy M. (2003-09-12). "The mills of Xenu grind exceeding slow". The Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  21. ^ "Hyperlinks remain legal after Scientology defeat". ZDNet UK. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  22. ^ [1] Affidavit of Kenneth D. Long, April 10, 1991
  23. ^ [2] The Declaration of Vicki Aznaran
  24. ^ [3] The Declaration of Vicki Aznaran in CSI v. Fishman and Geertz, April 4, 1994.

External links[edit]