LOS ANGELES -- A Church of Scientology official accused a federal judge of calling him a liar and was hauled out of a courtroom Monday prompting hundreds of his followers outside to chant 'We Shall Overcome.'
The Rev. Ken Hoden, head of the Scientologists in Los Angeles, was forcibly removed from the courtroom of Chief U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real after the judge refused to revive a church suit.
Real refused to reconsider his dismissal of a slander suit filed by the sect in 1983 against a Boston lawyer who suggested he may have been the target of an attempted assasination by the Church of Scientology.
Hoden demanded to speak following the ruling.
'You have called me a liar,' he charged.
Real ordered U.S. Marshals to remove Hoden from the courtroom.
Apparently thinking he had been found in contempt of court, Hoden shouted, 'I find you in contempt, too,' as the blue-blazered marshals hauled him out in handcuffs to the applause of nearly 100 Scientologists who packed the courtroom.
Hoden was not arrested and later rejoined a larger crowd of Scientologists outside the courthouse singing their disapproval of Real. Other marshals were called to the courtroom to clear out the dozens of lingering church members.
The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, international president of the Scientologists, was in court and accused Real of singling out his members by ordering them out of court.
'The dark days of Germany began when judges began denying rights to certain minorities,' Jentzsch said. 'It must not happen again in the United States.'
Although Real refused to reinstate the church suit against attorney Michael Flynn, he favored the Scientologists by denying Flynn's request for $122,000 in attorney's fees supposedly incurred in fighting the suit. The judge earlier had given Flynn $10,000 in lawyer fees.
The Scientologists accuse Real of using his authority to direct all church-related cases to his court and improperly dismissing them. A church lawyer was jailed briefly Aug. 13 for contempt after arguing with the judge. A second lawyer the next day was hauled out of court by marshals.
On April 1, Real dismissed a 1983 slander suit filed by the Scientologists after Flynn told a meeting of ex-church members that sabotage may have been involved in the malfunction of his private airplane over Pennsylvania that year.
Flynn, who repeatedly has sued the Scientologists on the behalf of ex-members, asked for the dismissal because church officials said they had no way of locating Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to answer Flynn's charges.