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New York (ANI): American actor Tom Cruise has been named in a 250 million dollars federal lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology by ex-Scientologist Peter Letterese. Cruise is an outspoken member of the Church and has been alleged to be second in line to Scientology head David Miscavage, hence his being targeted in the lawsuit filed in Florida''s Southern District Court on 15 July (08).
Letterese wants the religious organisation to be investigated under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law, which is used to break up mafia families and drug rings. In court papers provided to The News by investigator Paul Barresi, Letterese claims a member of the church phoned his lawyer at home, and when the lawyer''s wife answered, said he was her husband''s homosexual lover.
Barresi, who has done investigative work on behalf of Cruise, said that the actor was targeted for attention. "[Letterese] is just including a celebrity name to get attention," New York Daily quoted him a saying. Letterese branded the Church of Scientology a "crime syndicate", and even alleged that Cruise had a hand in all its workings.
"Miscavage is aided and abetted by the actions of Tom Cruise, his right-hand man for foreign and domestic promotion, as well as for foreign and domestic lobbying. He has assisted the syndicate in acquiring funds and (made) his own donations of money believed to be in the multiple tens of millions of dollars," he said.
Letterese is also complaining against the Scientologists use of business book Effective Sales Closing Techniques, which he owns the rights to. He claims the use of the tome in their teachings violates his intellectual property rights, after he bought the book rights from late author Leslie Dane''s widow. But the lawsuit has been dismissed by Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw as baseless. "This is a frivolous suit based on falsehoods," she said.
Pouw also addressed Letterese's concerns over his book rights and said that the Church was using the book fairly. "Earlier this month, the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit already rejected similar claims and affirmed that the church's use of the book in question was fair use. Mr. Letterese was penalised 266,000 dollars by a California court for refusing to provide evidence to support many of the same allegations," she said. Cruise''s lawyer, Bert Fields, did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.
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