Scientology leader wants judge in Leah Remini civil suit removed

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Attorneys for Scientology leader David Miscavige, a co-defendant in Leah Remini’s lawsuit against the church, have filed court papers seeking the removal of the current judge overseeing the case.

The court papers brought Tuesday by Miscavige’s lawyers cite a section of the Code of Civil Procedure in which they claim Judge Randolph Hammock is prejudiced against their client, but does not require them to explain how.

The filing comes just weeks after the judge, in a mixed ruling on an anti-SLAPP motion brought by the church, allowed portions of Remini’s case to proceed to trial, but eliminated enough other parts of it to prompt the issuance of a church statement proclaiming the ruling a “resounding victory” and stating that its lawyers will seek attorneys’ fees.

The actress’ original suit was brought Aug. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court and included allegations of civil harassment, stalking, intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation. Miscavige is also a defendant in both the first suit and an updated complaint brought Aug. 29.

After leaving the church in 2013, Remini became a high-profile critic. She published a memoir in 2015, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” and later hosted three seasons of the docuseries, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” on A&E.

An anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion is rooted in a law intended to prevent people from using courts, and potential threats of a lawsuit, to intimidate those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

The 53-year-old “The King of Queens” star’s suit alleges that Scientologists “have undertaken a campaign to ruin and destroy the life and livelihood of Leah Remini, a former Scientologist of nearly 40 years, a two- time Emmy-award winning producer, actress and New York Times best-selling author, after she was deemed a suppressive person and declared fair game by Scientology in 2013, when she publicly departed Scientology.”

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