Declaration of Michael Lee Hertzberg (September 20, 1999)

Gerald L. Chaleff, SBN 39552
ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE LLP
777 South Figueroa Street, Suite 3200
Los Angeles, California 90017-5832
Telephone: (213) 629-2020

William. T. Drescher, SBN 93737
LAW OFFICES OF WILLIAM T. DRESCHER
PMB 338
23679 Calabasas Road
Calabasas, California 93102-1502
Telephone: (818) 349-8100
Attorneys for Non-Party
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Samuel D. Rosen, pro hac vice
PAUL, HASTINGS, JANOFSKY & WALKER LLP
399 Park Avenue, 3 1 st Floor
New York, New York 10022-4697
Telephone: (212) 318-6000

Alan K. Steinbrecher, SBN 79201
PAUL, HASTINGS, JANOFSKY & WALKER LLP
555 South Flower Street, 23rd Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071-2371
Telephone: (213) 683-6000
Attorneys for Non-Party
RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY CENTER

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

LARRY WOLLERSHEIM,

Plaintiff,

vs.

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF
CALIFORNIA,

Defendant.

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Case No. C 332 027

DECLARATION OF
MICHAEL LEE HERTZBERG
1

DATE: October 15, 1999
TIME: 8:30 a.m.
DEPT: 24
Judge Charles W. McCoy, Jr.

I, Michael Lee Hertzberg, hereby declare and state:

1. I am an attorney, admitted to practice before the courts of New York State, the District of Columbia Bar, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. I make the following statement of my own personal knowledge, and if called to testify thereto, I could and would do so competently.

2. I was counsel of record in Aznaran v. Church of Scientology of California, et al. I was present in May of 1994 in Dallas, Texas when Vicki Aznaran settled her then pending litigation against several churches of Scientology and related organizations. I was present to provide legal advice to the representatives of the defendants who were negotiating directly with Ms. Aznaran. She was represented by her attorney, Karen MacRae of Dallas.

3. On May 19, 1994 when Ms. Aznaran settled her litigation, she executed several declarations. Annexed hereto as Exhibits A – E are true and correct copies of the declarations executed by Ms. Aznaran. Her declarations cover a wide range of subjects. The most comprehensive declaration is annexed hereto as Exhibit A. This declaration provides an overview of her experience as a litigant against churches of Scientology, tactics used by individuals litigating against churches of Scientology, specific allegations from her complaint that she formally repudiated and ordered her attorneys to withdraw, the payment of thousands of dollars to witnesses for sworn statements against the churches of Scientology, and the addition of eleven pages of one of Ms. Aznaran’s declarations by an attorney representing opponents of Scientology, Graham Berry.

4. The remaining declarations (Exhibits B – E), cover specific topics related to Ms. Aznaran’s experiences as a litigant against churches of Scientology. Specifically, these declarations cover the following topics:

– Litigation tactics by Lawrence Wollersheim and Gerry Armstrong (Exhibit B);

– A specific refutation of claims that her testimony supports the contention that Church officials have destroyed documents in litigation (Exhibit C;

– Ms. Aznaran’s knowledge regarding Stacy Young (one of Mr. Wollersheim’s witnesses) (Exhibit D);

– In this declaration Ms. Aznaran also repudiates allegations of corporate irregularities similar to those being made in the instant case (Exhibit A);

– A declaration in which Ms. Aznaran explains why she executed the other declarations and her response to what she anticipates other apostates will say about her for having revealed their tactics (Exhibit E).

5. I invite the Court’s attention to particular passages relevant to the claims at issue here. Ms. Aznaran signed her declarations in May 1994, a year after her most recent statement cited by Wollersheim in support of his motion. In one declaration Ms. Aznaran explains how witnesses have been conditioned to sign affidavits to support whatever arguments opponents of churches of Scientology wish to “prove”:

The abusive device most consistently utilized by litigants and counsel adverse to the Church occurs in connection with the filing of declarations or affidavits. It is common knowledge among the stable of disaffected ex-Scientologists who supply such sworn statements that the attorneys dictate the desired content of such testimony with the primary, often sole, purpose of presenting inflammatory accusations that prejudice the Church in the eyes of the court. In such declarations or affidavits, context, the truth, and relevance to the issues in the case are disregarded altogether. As time has passed and this technique has evolved, anti-Church litigants and their counsel have become more and more emboldened in making such declarations and affidavits because the tactic has proven to be so effective in poisoning courts and juries against the Church.

Thus, it has become a routine practice of litigants to make accusations against the Church, including even false allegations of threats of murder, which would be summarily thrown out of court as unsupported and scandalous in other litigation. There is a group or “team” of anti-Scientology witnesses who are being paid for their testimony, and based on my experience, this testimony is being altered and falsified, either by the witnesses themselves or the attorneys. (Ex. A, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 12, 17, 19.)

6. Ms. Aznaran even predicted that the attached declarations would be attacked by adverse litigants whose litigation tactics she has exposed:

On May 19, 1994, my husband and I each executed a series of declarations under penalty of perjury addressing a variety of issues. Among those declarations are one of mine that demonstrates that perhaps the most common litigation ploy that is used against Churches of Scientology is for opponents to submit false, inflammatory and accusatory declarations which make wild accusations irrespective of their falsity, lack of relevance, or lack of first hand knowledge.

I am executing this declaration on May 19, 1994 because I am certain that litigation opponents of the Church will react to one or more of my other contemporaneously dated declarations in precisely the fashion I describe in the preceding paragraph.

(Ex. E, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 2, 3.)

7. Ms. Aznaran identifies Stacy Young as employed by Graham Berry, Mr. Leipold’s former co-counsel in Wollersheim, to create inaccurate affidavits:

I know from subsequent conversations I have had that Andre Tabayoyon is similarly employed, as are Vaughn and Stacy Young and others, each paid to create declarations for Mr. Berry when he needs them. On the basis of my knowledge of the Church and the declarants, I can state that these individuals are not “experts” ‘in any recognized sense of the word as I understand it. They are nothing more than witnesses who are being paid to make sworn statements against the Church. More than just being paid, they are actually employed by Mr. Berry as a source of signed declarations of testimony or as a ” source” of allegations, the need for such is decided by him. (Ex. A, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 22.)

That Vaughn and Stacy Young are experts is not true. They are being called experts not due to expertise in Scientology but in order to collect insurance money for their testimony.

What this creates, and what the Youngs are part of, is a stable of people who, for pay, write declarations. (Ex. D, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 7, 8.)

8. Ms. Aznaran also swore to Ms. Young’s lack of knowledge of inside workings of churches of Scientology, both corporately and ecclesiastically:

In my staff capacities in the early 1980s, and later in my executive positions in the Religious Technology Center, I was directly or closely involved in meetings with senior staff members of various Church corporations. These senior staff made significant or major decisions which affected the future of the Church. I know that neither Vaughn nor Stacy Young were included in such senior decision-making processes. They were never senior or key Church executives. They were not consulted regarding, nor were they privy to, the meetings where major issues were discussed an decisions made.

I am informed that the Youngs have made claims to specialized knowledge about the corporate status and structure of the Church. Such claims are false. Neither of the Youngs were in a position to have detailed knowledge of the corporate and fiscal structures and operations of any Church of Scientology. In fact, Vaughn Young worked in the area of Public Relations for the entire time that I was acquainted with him. Stacy was primarily a writer in the Church public relations department. (Ex. D, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 4, 5.)

9. Ms. Aznaran repudiated allegations of corporate irregularities that were contained in her complaint against the Church of Scientology of California. These allegations are very similar to those being made by Wollersheim in the instant case:

Paragraph 16 of the complaint included the allegation that I had been employed as a “missionaire” to remove assets of Defendant Church of Scientology of California to overseas trusts where they could not be accessed. This allegation was false, and it was not an allegation that either my husband or I requested be included in the complaint….

It was also alleged in paragraph 16 of the complaint that I was employed as a”missionaire” to “set up sham corporate structures to evade prosecution generally.” This allegation is also false. (Ex. A, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 8, 9.)

10. In another sworn declaration Ms. Aznaran identifies Wollersheim witness Gerald Armstrong as the source of a litigation technique utilized by this small group of witnesses:

The fundamental premise upon which the Church’s adversaries and their lawyers operate is the likelihood that courts and juries are willing to believe any allegation made against the Church by a former member, without regard to plausibility, contrary evidence or the true facts. That concept was most succinctly expressed, on videotape, by anti-Scientology litigant, Gerald Armstrong, when he state that a lack of documents or evidence was no impediment to litigating against the Church when the litigant can “just allege it.” The active pursuit of that litigation approach has now led to the formation of a small group of disaffected Scientologists who are now employed by an even smaller number of attorneys who are making a practice of litigating against the Church. This stable of witnesses can be relied upon to furnish ” corroboration” for any allegation which an attorney wishes to make against the Church in pleadings, at deposition, in affidavits, and ultimately in trial testimony. (Ex. A, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 5.)

11. Ms. Aznaran even addressed Larry Wollersheim’s allegations:

While I was in the Church I witnessed the “Fair Game” allegations made by Gerry Armstrong and Larry Wollersheim in their litigation against the Church. My position in the church at the time gave me broad access to what was occurring and I would have known were the allegations made by Armstrong and Wollersheim true. Wollersheim, for example, made the allegation that a pipe bomb was found on his parent’s lawn and, without any corroboration, blamed the Church. I know from my own personal knowledge that this outrageous allegation of Church involvement is absolutely false. During the Wollersheim trial, rumors began to spread throughout the trial courtroom that Judge Ronald Swearinger had been followed, his tires had been slashed, and his pet dog drowned, and that the Church was responsible for that supposed activity. All of those allegations of Church complicity were false, as I now personally attest. Armstrong alleged the Church was trying to kill him and this allegation was just made up. I know of its falsity of my own personal knowledge. Both Armstrong and Wollersheim, continue to make the same type of outrageous allegations of Fair Game to forward their litigation to this day, due ‘in no small measure to the fact that they practiced Fair Game so effectively in their earlier, victorious litigation against the Church.” (Ex. B, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 12.)

12. An allegation relied upon by Wollersheim is that David Miscavige ordered Vicki Aznaran and Jesse Prince to destroy documents, including documents compelled to be produced in this case. However, Ms. Aznaran states in another declaration:

During the time I was President of RTC, we fully complied to all discovery requests, I have never received an order from David Miscavige, Norman Starkey or Lyman Spurlock to destro any documents related to litigation and I have no reason to believe that the Church would destroy any documents related to the consolidated cases… (Ex. C, Declaration of Vicki Aznaran; 8.)

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

Executed this 20th day of September, 1999 at ______________.

MICHAEL LEE HERTZBERG

Notes

  1. Document source: http://bernie.cncfamily.com/sc/Aznaran.htm