>> True Information: Mr. Wright presents as “legitimate fact” a lawsuit filed against the Church “and more than twenty other individuals” without revealing to the reader what he must have known, had he looked at the complaint itself (available online), or asked the Church or done any fact checking.
In 1998, anti-Scientologist Michael Pattinson filed a grandiose suit that named the Church and “more than twenty individuals,” including:
The suit alleged that these defendants engaged in an international clandestine conspiracy to advance Scientology across the world that included the Premier of Russia.
Mr. Pattinson’s attorney was Graham Berry. While Lawrence Wright doesn’t name him as a source, Mr. Berry also served as the attorney for several other of Mr. Wright’s sources. He is, in fact, a key source for the book lurking anonymously behind the scenes.
Contrary to Mr. Wright’s pretention, the case was frivolous from the outset. One of the tactics Mr. Berry employed on behalf of Mr. Pattinson was to repeatedly withdraw and re-file the same case over and over again, each time including rambling dissertations on Mr. Berry’s latest conspiracy theories in hopes of generating publicity with each new filing. The suit was dismissed five times. Finally it was the court that had enough. As the California State Bar later noted in its suspension of Graham Berry:
“The court found that Berry’s three amended complaints failed to state sufficient facts to support a basis for liability and that Berry acted in bad faith. The court further cited Berry’s violation of 28 U.S.C. Section 1927, prohibiting the unreasonable and vexatious multiplication of proceedings and said he violated the Federal rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11, requiring attorneys to certify that the paper filed had a legal basis. In July 1999, the court imposed a sanction of $28,484.”
Mr. Pattinson never re-filed his case against the Church, because it was without merit. The Church never claims it can cure anyone of anything. The Frequently Asked Questions on the Church’s website make this clear (See scientology.org/faq/scientology-and-dianetics-auditing/what-can-auditing-cure.html).
Berry’s lies and vexatious litigation tactics are what drove him into bankruptcy.
As to Mr. Pattinson, a judgment of $25,000 in a separate case by an individual who had loaned Mr. Pattinson money drove Mr. Pattison to bankruptcy.
The Church tried repeatedly to get Mr. Wright to identify his on-the-record sources and their allegations so the Church could provide evidence to enable Mr. Wright to accurately assess the credibility of the information he received. In a letter of November 18, 2011, the Church pointed out:
“By not telling the Church who you are relying on, you are attempting to set up a scenario where you ask questions generated by unnamed sources hurling any accusations and expect us to 'respond' out of context. As long as your sources remain amorphous, anonymous entities that do not have to answer to anyone, they will be able, through you, to make any claim they want and see if it sticks.”
Mr. Wright chose to use sources like Mr. Pattinson and Mr. Berry who are neither reliable nor credible and failed to take advantage of the opportunities he had to properly vet the information they were providing to him.