Mark Rathbun: on Earle Cooley’s partner and protégé, Harry Manion (May 28, 2013)

We rented a number of units at a downtown condominium, walking distance from the [Multnomah County] courthouse. One unit was inhabited by Earle, his long-time mistress Jeannie and their fourteen-year-old son. Another one-bedroom unit was occupied by Miscavige and me. Another was reserved for a couple of Office of Special Affairs staff, and served as a document preparation area and repository. We had a dozen more staff working out of the offices of the mission, which were only a few blocks away. One more condo unit was occupied by Earle’s partner and protégé, Harry Manion.

Harry would prove pivotal to the case, though he did very little speaking in court. Harry was in his early thirties. A big, strapping man — if overweight, like Earle — with a boyish face and an infectious smile and personality. Harry was the archetypal hale fellow well met. He had a glib, friendly word for everyone he encountered, and a natural ability to make people feel comfortable and light. Harry had something else going for him. He was a former college and minor-league professional baseball player, and that really meant something to the judge.

Judge Don Londer was respected by many locally. But because he was Jewish, he was not really accepted into Portland’s traditionally WASP judicial circles. Londer consider himself an old jock, often reminiscing about his boxing career during his younger days in the Navy. He was also a decent, considerate man. However, he was not very bright. In the condo we used to joke that maybe he had his lights knocked out one too many times during his boxing career. But because Harry was a real professional athlete, in Londer’s eyes Harry could do no wrong. Harry struck up a relationship gradually by arriving a little early to court, and thus “bumping into” the judge regularly. The latter always wanted to hear jock war stories from Harry. Harry was the son Don Londer wished he had fathered. (pp. 266-7)

[…]

So dramatic were Earle Cooley’s cross examinations that we were all swept into the sweet oblivion of the drama of it all. We heard from Judge Londer, through Harry, and we heard from dozens of lawyers who attended as spectators and students: Earle Cooley was magnificent. (pp. 270-271).

[…]

When Cooley returned at the end of the weekend, he thought the motion 1 was brilliant. We filed it  early the following week. Harry Manion artfully used his weeks of informal credibility-and-sympathy-building with judge Londer to obtain his agreement to set a hearing for a few weeks down the road, to consider the motion. Londer would not and did not ever record the jury’s verdict. (pp. 272 )

[…]

We kept orchestrating Harry’s having “chance” encounters with Judge Londer, hoping to divine where he stood and hoping that he might begin to understand this case was not only important to the church and Earle, but to Harry’s future. Try as he might, Harry would come back from his meetings befuddled. His refrain was that Londer was as dumb as a sack of rocks, and he couldn’t tell whether anything we were presenting was getting through.

On the afternoon prior to the final hearing and the announcement of decision on the mistrial motion, Earle, Harry and I sat in Earle’s hotel room in Portland preparing our arguments. We had a last-minute brief to file, and had purposely waited until mid afternoon, when we knew Londer took a break. That way, when Harry was bringing the brief into the clerk, Londer might see him and invite him into his chambers for a chat. That went like clockwork. Earle and I beseeched Harry to call in any chips he might have with Londer. Earle told Harry to tell him outright that Londer needed to do this for Harry. Harry reported back that he had schmoozed with Londer, but that it wasn’t appropriate under the circumstances — open chambers doors — to make his ultimate personal pitch. However, Londer had invited Harry to come to his home that evening to meet his wife, since it might be the last time they would see one another. Harry had not committed, out of concern for doing something that would smell of impropriety and could come back to haunt us.

Earle and I discussed the matter in some detail. He explained the downsides of a visit — if it were ever found out it could raise the ugly specter of the decades of GO improprieties we were attempting to live down. “On balance,” Earle said, “this is up to the client. You need to brief the boss [Miscavige] and I’ll trust his instincts.” I called Miscavige and briefed him on all that had transpired. He said, “What is your hesitance? It’s a no brainer. Of course he sees Londer, and he does whatever he has to do to get the product.” I told Earle the verdict. Earle told me, “Okay, now it’s between me and Harry. I’m going to protect you and Dave. Leave it to me.”

Earle did report that Harry had gone to Londer’s home. He did not give particulars beyond saying that Londer was thrilled with the visit. He gave no guarantee of any particular outcome, “But,” Earle added, “tell Dave to relax.” And then Earle told me an anecdotal aphorism he would repeat several times to Dave and me over the next couple of years. He said, “Here is my only test of friendship. I know you are going to testify tomorrow in front a grand jury investigating me. Do I sleep tonight…or don’t I?” (pp. 275-6)

Rathbun, Mark (2013-05-28). Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior.

Notes

  1. Motion for mistrial in Christofferson.