Declaration of John G. Peterson In Opposition To Motion For Attorney’s Fees (July 30, 1984)

PETERSON & BRYNAN
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
8530 WILSHIRE BOULEVARD, SUITE 407
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90211
(813)659-9965

ATTORNEYS FOR: Plaintiff ,
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA,
Plaintiff

vs.

GERALD ARMSTRONG,
Defendant.

MARY SUE HUBBARD,
Intervenor.

CASE NO. C 420153

DECLARATION OF JOHN G. PETERSON IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES

DATE: August 2, 19841; 2

TIME: 8:00 a.m. Defendant.

DEPT: 57

 

I, JOHN G. PETERSON, declare:

1. This declaration is submitted in opposition to defendant’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 1021.5. Plaintiff, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA, joins in and adopts by reference the Memorandum in Opposition to Motion for Attorney’s Fees filed herein by intervenor, MARY SUE HUBBARD.

2. Defendant’s motion can best be described as a poor attempt to add insult to injury. The defendant’s moving papers are an affront to the intelligence and integrity of this Court and the legal profession. This fee request is an insult to good intentioned legislators who enacted Code of Civil Procedure Section 1021.5, and is ironic since this case was pursued by GERALD ARMSTRONG’S attorneys primarily to use this Court as a discovery tool for other litigation and as an avenue for media coverage to extort settlement of other litigation against Mr. Hubbard and the CHURCH.

3. GERALD ARMSTRONG’S moving papers transparently and despicably use a quote from the Bible and a reference to Jonestown all on the front page. The papers go on to paint GERALD ARMSTRONG as a great protector of truth who risked life and limb to expose the “illegal and unconstitutional actions” of the plaintiffs all to a “significant public benefit and will further constitutional freedoms.” However, nowhere does GERALD ARMSTRONG ever state exactly what these public benefits are and how the fact that he stole documents and invaded a person’s privacy can further constitutional freedoms.

4. GERALD ARMSTRONG’S unsupported claims of public benefit should not come as a surprise since all of his trial allegations were never supported by evidence. GERALD ARMSTRONG’S attorney, on page 9, lines 20 through 28, and page 10, lines 1 and 2, attempt to explain the claim for public benefit and constitutional significance. After reading these lines several times, anyone with any first year of law school education would be compelled to conclude: (I) It is incoherent; (2) the person writing the lines does not understand constitutional law; (3) the person writing these lines is audacious in seeking fees for “legal” work; and (4) any response is impossible and would only dignify the lines by educating the person who wrote them.

5. The Court should examine what the attorneys for GERALD ARMSTRONG really sought in this case. They argued that there was a novel and heretofore unheard of in law defense called “justification”. This is, GERALD ARMSTRONG because he believed his life was in danger and that “harassing lawsuits” were forthcoming he could steal evidence and send it to his lawyer for use in this “potential” litigation. Defendant’s attorneys also asserted that if a person feels he may be physically harmed, he can steal materials and threaten to or even publicize these private materials as a deterrent.

6. While these purported “defenses” advocate the worst kind of lawlessness and vigilantism, defense counsel totally failed at trial to produce any evidence to support these novel defenses. First, GERALD ARMSTRONG had no reasonable belief he was going to be sued. ARMSTRONG himself testified that he knew of no one who had ever left the CHURCH and been sued. It is unreasonable to conclude and foolish to believe that the incident where his ex-wife told him to “get a lawyer” could mean anything other than advice that if ARMSTRONG wanted the photos returned, ARMSTRONG would have to sue the CHURCH. How strange that this is the person found to be fearful of his life and terrified of this organization, yet he was marching up to the CHURCH’S main offices shouting and demanding “his pictures”. Did defendant produce witnesses who said they had left the CHURCH, been critical and then been sued? No evidence was produced at trial, simply because none exists. The only thing the Court heard was the ravings of Flynn.

7. The only reasonable way to view the evidence clearly shows that GERALD ARMSTRONG stole the documents for use in his case against the CHURCH. He left the CHURCH, was unskilled, had no job and he visited Flynn, a notorious anti-Scientology plaintiff’s lawyer, who obviously conspired with ARMSTRONG to steal the documents for use in their cases. It is naive to think that ARMSTRONG’S massive theft of marginally relevant documents is simply overkill. That is also why Flynn argued so strenuously that the Court do his discovery for him and hold the documents for use in the Cross-Complaint and other litigation Flynn is involved in.

8. Defense counsel claim they have exposed the CHURCH’S policy of blackmailing former members by use of PC material (page 4, lines 9 through 10). Flynn argued that the CHURCH blackmailed people. However, no witness was ever produced who testified that they had been either threatened with or blackmailed by the CHURCH. Defense counsel, without legal support or evidence, asked this Court to find that the CHURCH practices this policy. Also, how could ARMSTRONG reasonably fear blackmail when he had no knowledge of any instances of it prior to his theft of the documents?

9. Defense counsel should not be compensated for conducting a heresy trial. This Court took judicial notice of the fact that Scientology is a religion and has rights under the First Amendment. This Court correctly ruled that it could not inquire into or evaluate the merits, accuracy or truthfulness of Scientology. Yet defense counsel sought to try the religion, its Founder and its policies. An example of the dishonesty of defense counsel is when they submitted to this Court Exhibit 500-HHHHH. This 1970, French Government investigation report was authoed by an ex-Nazi, who admitted doing no first hand investigation but relied on other sources. Also, defense
counsel failed to inform the Court that the French court had reversed its findings that Scientology was a fraud.

10. Julia Dragojevic’s dishonesty with this Court is shown by her Declaration. At the beginning of the trial, she said that GERALD ARMSTRONG needed Flynn because Flynn knew the case better, was more experienced and knowledgeable; and we were told she had never tried a jury case. Now she is the “Scientology expert” who is deserving of $150.00 per hour. She is even claiming $150.00 per hour for the time she just sat in the Courtroom during Flynn’s trial. Julia Dragojevic’s hours are inflated, refex time spent on other matters and not relevant to this case (see attached Exhibit “A”).

11. Attorney fees could not be properly claimed because GERALD ARMSTRONG thinks he exposed Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard as frauds. This Court clearly ruled in the beginning of the trial that Scientology was not on trial and that the Court would not consider the truth or falsity of the contents of the documents but only how they were relevant to ARMSTRONG’S “state of mind.” If the Court correctly followed this stated ruling, it could not properly reach any conclusions regarding Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard, and defense counsel could not receive fees for this improper presentation.

12. At the beginning of the trial, plaintiff’s counsel warned the Court about allowing Michael Flynn to conduct the trial. Plaintiff made a motion to disqualify Flynn. Plaintiff warned this Court that Flynn would conduct a heresy trial against the CHURCH and a personal attack against L. Ron Hubbard. Flynn did this under the pretext that he was going to show this person and organization had unclean hands and was not entitled to equitable relief.  Defense counsel argued that an old order by MARY SUE HUBBARD (GO-121669) gave her unclean hands that should deny her relief in this case. This ridiculous legal position is so contrary to black letter law that it does not deserve further comment. What is incredulous is that defense counsel seeks fees for presenting and arguing such a patently unsupported legal position.

13. Defense counsel point repeatedly to what they call the unclean hands of plaintiffs. This Court should be aware of the true character and motives of Michael J. Flynn.3

14. Plaintiff can not ignore Flynn’s efforts to prejudice this Court. Plaintiff also asks the Court to admonish counsel for defendant and their client to immediately cease these improper tactics, such as filing this fees motion, in their effort to prejudice this Court. Plaintiff also requests the Court to impose sanctions in the amount of attorneys’ fees incurred by plaintiff in replying to this frivolous motion for fees.

15. According to sworn declarations filed by attorney Michael J. Flynn of Boston, Massachusetts, he is an attorney of fourteen years experience in the State of Massachusetts who has tried 40 to 50 jury trials since 1972. Approximately one-third of Mr. Flynn’s career, since mid-1979, has involved litigating against the Church of Scientology and/or its Founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Mr. Flynn has been counsel of record, or counsel but not of record, in cases being litigated in at least the states of Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and California involving the Church. He has made appearances as counsel pro hac vice in California three times in the past two years in suits involving either Mr. Hubbard or the CHURCH.

16. Due to Mr. Flynn’s legal attacks upon the Church of Scientology, its members, practices and Founder, investigative actions were undertaken by professional investigators. These investigations revealed the following facts:

17. In early 1981 a document that laid out a scheme to sell shares in litigation against the Church of Scientology was drawn up in the law offices of Michael Flynn in Boston.

18. This document referred to Flynn Associates Management Corporation, a for-profit Massachusetts corporation incorporated on August 28,1980 by Kevin Flynn, Michael Flynn and Cheryl Flynn. (See attached Exhibit “B”). Kevin Flynn is the brother of Michael Flynn and, at that time, worked as an investigator or researcher for Michael. Cheryl Flynn is Kevin Flynn’s wife.

19. The document stated: “Description: Flynn Associates Management Corp. is a management consultant company. It was organized to manage and oversee the operations and strategy of all Scientology litigation of Michael Flynn Associates.” (See attached Exhibit “C”). Other documents discarded at about the same time from Mr. Flynn’s office revealed that investors were to be promised “a $2.00 return for each $1.00 invested.”

20. Despite claims to the contrary by Michael Flynn, attempts were made to sell shares. In an affidavit executed on October 13,1981, Jim Grey of Clearwater, Florida, stated that on October 2, 1981, Michael Flynn “offered me the position of Trustee of Flynn Associate Management Corporation (FAMCO) in the Clearwater area and told me that as a trustee, I would receive, raise and disburse monies which would be used to file suits against the CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY around the country and therefor breack the CHURCH financially. ” (See attached Exhibit “D”).

21. A FAMCO document obtained around the same time, entitled “Scientology – Review and Planning”, demonstrated that the above was an “All Out” strategy which included: “a) closing orgs (orgs -Scientology organizations) b) adverse media c) adverse public d) Fed & State attacks”. Following this “all out” strategy, Michael Flynn and FAMCO engaged in the “adverse media” actions. From the deposition testimony of both Kevin Flynn and deprogrammer Joseph Flanagan in Garrison v. Kevin Flynn, et al. and Miller v. Kevin Flynn, et al. the initiation of the “adverse public” strategy was also implemented with the creation of new potential litigants. Kevin Flynn operating out of the 12 Union Wharf offices of FAMCO and Michael Flynn, solicited, organized and carried out several “deprogrammings” of Scientology parishioners. Following each successful deprogramming, Kevin Flynn had the victim transported to the Boston offices of Michael Flynn where the person was solicited to join the suits filed against the CHURCH they had just departed.

22. This all out effort continued on into early 1982. Affidavits show that through co-conspirators, Michael Flynn obtained access to the Bank of New England where Church of Scientology Founder L. R. Hubbard maintained a Cash Reserve Management account. The conspirators obtained copies of several of Mr. Hubbard’s checks, as well as several checks from an unrelated Florida company, and hired Ala Fadili Al Tamimi to counterfeit and forge these checks in the amount of $2 million.4

23. In a sworn statement, Ala Tamini has detailed how Mr. Flynn promised him $400,000 to pass the forged checks and pass the monies received to an overseas account established by Mr. Flynn in the Cayman Islands. Mr. Tamimi also related, in this same statement, the treatening remarks made by Mr. Flynn regarding the safety of Mr. Tamini’s family. (See attached Exhibit “E”).5

24. Following the failure of the attempt to forge and pass Mr. Hubbard’s checks, Mr. Flynn then filed suit on behalf of Ronald DeWolf, the estranged son of Mr. Hubbard, in Riverside, California. The suit claimed that Mr. Hubbard was a missing person under California probate codes and included charges that Hubbard’s business affairs were being mismanaged as evidenced by the failed attempt to forge one of his checks. Flynn accused Church officials of forging the check.

25. The investigation also discovered evidence that such behavior by Mr. Flynn was not limited solely to litigation against the CHURCH.

26. According to the Declaration of George Edgerly, executed on March 5, 1984, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Mr. Flynn both offered to pay Edgerly for his silence during two 1976 trials and made intimidating statements regarding the safety of Mr. Edgerly’s children.6

27. Mr. Edgerly was the defendant in a criminal case for fraud in Lowell, Massachusetts, in February and March, 1976. In approximately March, 1976, Mr. Flynn approached Mr. Edgerly and suggested that Edgerly not testify in his own defense, offering to pay Edgerly’s wife $500.00 a week for every week that Edgerly spent in prison. Edgerly accepted this proposal, was paid $1,000.00 by Mr. Flynn about two weeks later, and was sentenced to three to five years in prison.

28. Between October and December, 1976, Mr. Edgerly was again on trial, this time as a defendant to a charge of conspiracy. One of his co-defendants was represented by Mr. Flynn, both in this criminal suit and in a civil suit against General Motors Corporation.

29. Again, during this trial, Mr. Flynn proposed to Edgerly that he not testify and Edgerly agreed. Mr. Flynn promised Edgerly a share of the recovery from General Motors in exchange for his silence.

30. Later, during the trial, subsequent to Mr. Edgerly’s attorney being removed for a conflict of interest and Edgerly beginning to represent himself, Edgerly decided that he was being set up as the “fall guy” by Mr. Flynn and his co-defendants. He began aggressively cross-examining his co-defendants. They, and Mr. Flynn, became upset by this, resulting in Mr. Flynn’s offering to pay Edgerly $18,000.00 immediately. The money was not immediately forthcoming; Edgerly continued his aggressive cross-examination; and Mr. Flynn then mentioned that he knew of Edgerly’s concern for his family, that he knew Edgerly had a lot of children who were little and that “one of
them could be hit by a car.” Mr. Flynn made similar threatening remarks to Edgerly’s wife. (See attached Exhibit “F”).

31. A fee request by defense counsel is not supported by law as more fully discussed in the Opposition filed by intervenor. A request for fees is inappropriate in this case because of counsel’s conduct of this litigation and other attacks on Scientology. It is plain to see that this litigation was not brought and pursued for any public interest, but was part of a general plan of attack on Scientology and an attempt by Flynn to get documents for use in his
other litigation.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on July 30, 1984, at Beverly Hills, California.

[signed]
JOHN G. PETERSON

Notes

  1. Judge Breckenridge discussed this declaration at an August 2, 1985 hearing in Scientology v. Armstrong: Reporter’s Transcript of Proceedings (August 2, 1984)
  2. This document in PDF format.
  3. See Operator: John G. Peterson.
  4. See Scientology’s Check Forgery Frame.
  5. See Declaration of Ala Fadili Al Tamimi (May 5, 1984).
  6. See Operator: George Edgerly