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Friday, February 01, 2019
Gabbard Cult Hires Scientology Lawyer to Intimidate Hawaii Media
By Andrew Walden @ 6:57 PM :: 4224 Views :: Congressional Delegation, First Amendment, Religion

by Andrew Walden

Birds of a feather flock together.

With Tulsi Gabbard running for President, her cult guru, Chris Butler, is lawyering up.  The Star-Advertiser, January 27, 2019, reports:

…Butler and the Science of Identity Foundation hired a Beverly Hills, Calif., attorney who threatened to sue the newspaper. Their primary focus was on ensuring the Star-Advertiser didn’t publish allegations from people who say they were former practitioners of the religion, including two who told the newspaper they grew up listening to Butler’s lectures.

The “false allegations” under consideration by the newspaper “paint our clients as charlatans and hypocrites,” said attorney Anthony Glassman, in a letter to the Star-Advertiser. He said that if published it “will severely damage SIF’s and Mr. Butler’s well-­deserved reputation in their community, as religious, spiritual and moral guides (and Ms. Butler’s reputation as a yoga instructor.)”

Glassman is known for his years of work suppressing media coverage of the Scientology cult – with a special focus on preventing former cult members from speaking out.  A 2009 Tampa Bay Times article titled, “Three of Scientology's elite parishioners keep faith, but leave the church” includes this:

Responding for the church, Los Angeles lawyer Anthony Michael Glassman said it's "astonishing" the Times is giving "a public platform for the views of disgruntled and biased former members. …”

Attempting in 2014 to shut down media inquiries into Scientology’s Narconon front group, Glassman drew derision from Scientology critics:

He would not win a lawsuit based on the article. Glassman is like Tom Cruise's attorney, Bert Fields (and the same age of 74) - all smoke & hot air. 

Most threats are toothless - they have not sued media in 14 years.

But Glassman thinks he has a new trick, libel tourism.  The Star-Advertiser writes:

The firm, Glassman Media Group, also warned the Star-­Advertiser that if it publishes “false and defamatory allegations that are eventually published in Ireland,” then SIF planned to also file a lawsuit there that would be litigated by Paul Tweed, a high-profile media attorney known for suing news organizations on behalf of celebrity clients. It’s not clear why the story would be of interest in Ireland, but The New York Times explained in a story last year that Tweed has “made his name suing news organizations like CNN, Forbes and The National Enquirer on behalf of Hollywood movie stars, winning high-profile cases for celebrities like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake by hopscotching among Belfast, London and Dublin to take advantage of their favorable defamation or privacy laws.”….

A lawyer threatens to call in a lawyer?  Hilarious.  But Glassman is years out of date.  Congress shut down libel tourism with the 2010 SPEECH Act.  As the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press explains

...the SPEECH Act bars U.S. courts, both federal and state, from recognizing or enforcing foreign libel judgments unless certain requirements are met, including consistency with the U.S. Constitution. More specifically, when a party who has obtained a libel judgment against an American author or publisher in a foreign court comes to an American court to enforce that judgment, the court is prohibited from doing so until it determines that the judgment is consistent with First Amendment safeguards.... 

---30---

UB: The presidential candidate, the controversial guru, the Scientology lawyer — and us!

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