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Sect trial in Los Angeles nears end

Title: Sect trial in Los Angeles nears end
Date: Friday, 8 June 1984
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Main source: link (54 KiB)

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(AP)—Attorneys for the Church of Scientology Friday accused a former archivist of acting like a "spurned lover" when he left the organization and took 10,000 confidential documents with him.

But the attorney for ex-church member Gerald Armstrong said his client was a frightened man trying to use the documents as a shield against a "clandestine" organization.

A judge who had listened to five weeks of testimony took the matter under submission Friday afternoon after both sides completed their closing arguments.

Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, is suing Armstrong along with the church, accusing him of stealing the documents. Many of the papers contain biographical information about Hubbard and his dealings with the church.

Armstrong claims he obtained the papers legally while working as an archivist for the church. He left Scientology in 1981 after 13 years' membership.

Mrs. Hubbard and the church are seeking return of the documents and unspecified damages, to be awarded to Mrs. Hubbard. The disputed documents are currently in court custody.

Mrs. Hubbard's attorney, Barry Litt, said Armstrong deliberately orchestrated the theft of the documents with the intent of smearing the church. He estimated the value of the documents at $2 million.

Armstrong "lost his faith in Scientology and felt the need to attack that thing, because he could not cope with his life in any other way," Litt said.

"Like a spurned lover, Mr. Armstrong can hardly bring himself to say anything good about the religion he embraced," church attorney Robert Harris said.

Garrison had been authorized by the church to research and write a biography of Hubbard, but the church later canceled the agreement.

Armstrong attorney Michael Flynn began his final remarks by attacking what he called falsehoods in Hubbard's background, depicted in the documents.

"There are lies within lies within lies, your honor," Flynn told Superior Court Judge Paul G. Breckenridge Jr.

Flynn said Hubbard's war record, educational background, and professional accomplishments had been fabricated.