Tom Cruise Dragged Into RICO Suit Against Church of Scientology

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Tom Cruise Dragged Into RICO Suit Against Church of Scientology

Fri Aug 01, 2008 @ 12:37AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

TomcruiseEx-Scientologist Peter Letterese has found a nice way to get attention for his lawsuit against the Church of Scientology for $250 million, claiming the Church is a "crime syndicate" that needs to be broken up under RICO statutes: he's added Tom Cruise as a defendant.

Investigator Paul Barresi, who says he has done investigative work on behalf of Cruise, provided the NY Daily News with court papers from the Florida District Court lawsuit that show how members of the Church allegedly harassed Letterese after he left. The papers allege that Cruise acted as Scientology head David Miscavage's "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."

Gawker wonders if Cruise and his team should have better taste in investigators, pointing out Cruise lawyer Bert Fields' infatuation with Anthony Pellicano and now Cruise's connection to Barresi, who apparently is blabbing to Daily News gossip columnists.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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