Scientology Protests Continue, Lawyers To Seek Mistrial
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A Church of Scientology lawyer said Thursday he will try to have a $39 million fraud award to a former church member set aside on the premise that two jurors got telephone calls influencing their verdict.
Earle C. Cooley of Boston, the church attorney, said a mistrial should have been declared, but the jurors, who he did not name, did not report the calls until after the verdict.
″One juror has reported that she received a telephone call from someone identifying himself as a Scientologist, and it’s obvious she held this against the church,″ he said. ″These people attempted to make it appear as if though the Church of Scientology was making harassing phone calls.″
The church, founder L. Ron Hubbard and a Portland-based church mission were sued by Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, 27, who testified she was told Scientology would improve her weak eyesight, increase her creativity and give her more knowledge of the human mind than any psychiatrist.
Cooley suggested the alleged calls were made by Ms. Titchbourne’s supporters.
″We would have to be insane to have any of our people doing such things and I knew it hadn’t been done,″ he said. ″It would have been an absolutely counterproductive thing to do.″
Cooley’s partner, Harry Manion, said the motion for a mistrial would be filed Friday.
Meanwhile, Scientologists continued their week-long series of rallies, concerts and news conferences in this city protesting the Titchbourne ruling.
Some of the protestors were members of other religions who viewed the jury’s award as an attack on religious freedom.
Noel Ryan, a Jesuit priest from Melbourne, Australia, called the judgment ″the most astonishing joke any legal system can devise.″
The Rev. William H. Luke of the West Avenue Church of God in Los Angeles said the ruling is part of an ″atheistic, communistic effort to eradicate God from the conscience of humanity.″