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Witness says judge probed

Title: Witness says judge probed
Date: Friday, 19 April 1985
Publisher: The Oregonian (Portland)
Author: Fred Leeson
Main source: link

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A Portland judge who presided over a fraud trial involving the Church of Scientology in 1979 was the target of a covert operation by the church aimed at learning his attitudes about drug usage and sexual promiscuity, a former Scientologist testified Thursday.

Martin L. Samuels, former head of the church in Portland, also testified that he and other church officials lied in the 1979 trial and that one reluctant ex-Scientologist was paid either $5,000 or $7,000 to testify on behalf of the church.

Samuels also told a Multnomah County Circuit Court jury that Scientologists in the church's "worldwide" office received daily transcripts of the 1979 trial and tried to give orders to Scientology's trial attorney about how to attack witnesses and attorneys opposing the church.

Samuels' testimony Thursday took place in the retrial of the 1979 case in which a Portland woman, Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, alleges that she was defrauded by the church and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, during her involvement with Scientology in 1975 and 1976.

Judge Jones probed

In his first full day on the stand, Samuels said the intelligence branch of Scientology devised a plan in 1979 to seek to learn the attitudes of Circuit Judge Robert P. Jones on several subjects before Jones presided over the first trial.

Samuels said Scientologists called Jones' home posing as a telephone survey company and attempted to elicit information from Jones' wife. He also said he received orders to put Jones under surveillance by two Scientologists.

"The point of their caper was to get his attitudes — his buttons — regarding sex, promiscuity and drugs, so we would know how best to present ourselves and how best to present Julie (Titchbourne) and any of her witnesses in the worst possible light," he said.

Earlier witnesses have identified "buttons" in Scientology jargon as subjects about which individuals care deeply or which cause emotional reactions when mentioned or "pushed."

Samuels also said the plan involved placing a court watcher in Jones' courtroom well in advance of the trial "to see what got his interest, what angered him, what amused him and to see how we could present our case."

At Samuels' first admission of committing perjury in 1979, Circuit Judge Donald H. Londer interrupted the trial to advise Samuels of his right not to incriminate himself. Asked by Londer if he had thought about what he was doing, Samuels replied, "For several years."

Samuels said he left the church in October 1982.

Under questioning from attorney Garry P. McMurry, Samuels said he lied in 1979 about the corporate structure of the church, about Hubbard's lack of personal control over it and about the sending of Titchbourne's supposedly confidential church files to the church's intelligence branch in Los Angeles after she filed suit.

Files lost

Samuels recalled testifying in 1979 that Titchbourne's files had been sent to Los Angeles "to a higher ecclesiastical body because we felt perhaps we had erred in her counseling." Church officials contended in 1979 that her files then were lost.

But Samuels testified Thursday that on the advice of Portland trial lawyer Jack L. Kennedy to locate the files, he sent another lawyer who was a church member to search for them. "I told him, 'Don't come back without them,' and he found them," Samuels recalled.

After Titchbourne sued the church, Samuels said he was ordered in 1977 by the intelligence branch to file a libel suit against her "within 24 hours." That suit subsequently was dismissed.

Samuels said Scientology officials in the church's worldwide office ordered him several times to tell Kennedy how to try the case in 1979, including an order that Kennedy stand up in court and describe Titchbourne, McMurry "and the whole lot of them" as criminals, in accord with a church policy that says church opponents should be attacked.

Threat recalled

Samuels said Kennedy became disgusted and refused, telling him, "You just can't stand up in a courtroom and do something like that." The next day, Samuels said he received a telex from Mary Sue Hubbard, the founder's daughter, which he paraphrased as saying, "Whatever fear you have of controlling our attorneys should be nothing compared to the fear of how miserable I can make your life."

After receiving the telex, Samuels said he asked Kennedy again to make the allegations of criminality. "He didn't do it," Samuels said.

Kennedy stopped representing the church after the 1979 trial, at which Titchbourne won a $2 million judgment. That judgment was reversed by the Oregon Court of Appeals in 1982 which ordered a new trial. Direct examination of Samuels by McMurry will resume Friday.