Eulogy for Earle Cooley

Earle Cooley, the best friend anyone could ever ask to have, left this world in October of this year. During  many of the hard times we went through together, Earle spoke to me half-jokingly about reaching Valhalla, the mythical Norse after-world where fallen heroes go. Earle used to describe it to me as he envisioned it – a  jovial pub where warriors would smoke, drink and tell war stories. Anybody who ever had the privilege of hearing Earle tell a story knows how enjoyable that could be.

Earle Cooley was a warrior in the most honorable sense of the word. Honorable warriors have big hearts. Earle had a heart the size of a barn.

I hired Earle to work for the Church in 1984.  In addition to being one of America’s most accomplished  trial lawyers, his brand of insouciance was uplifting and infectious. In his gravelly, booming voice he seemed to always be able to sum up a situation with a witty line.  In our very first meeting in Boston, Earle described a fellow opposing us like this, “You’ve got to understand,  the man is no ordinary thief. He’d steal the stove and come back for the smoke.”

Earle lit up any room he entered and he went out of his way to cheer up folks – especially little or powerless ones.  Here is a conversation – as best as I can recall – he had in Portland 1985 with a crestfallen cabbie who drove us cross town one evening.

Cabbie: Say, are you a lawyer?

Earle: Yeah.

Cabbie: I got a real problem, can you help me out?

Earle: Try me.

Cabbie: Some son of a bitch is claiming a right of way through my property and is using my land as a god damn driveway.  I went to a lawyer, and got all sorts of run around.

Earle: I don’t do driveways.

Cabbie: bummer.

Earle: But, I’ll tell you what, if you want to make sure the guy stays off your property, get yourself a Louisville Slugger (baseball bat) and next time he comes through, do what you gotta do.  Then you might be facing an A & B (assault and battery)  rap.  That, I can sink my teeth into.

The cabbie almost ran the car off the road he was laughing so hard. He thanked Earle profusely for making the problem seem so ridiculous and lightening up his evening.

After Earle got the Christofferson case verdict nullified by winning a mistrial motion, he received perhaps the last handwritten despatch ever written by L. Ron Hubbard. In large sweeping script it read simply:

Earle Cooley

Congratulations!

R

Earle always treasured that acknowledgment.

I never met such a stand up guy as Earle Cooley, never. No matter how bad the pressure from above, no matter how vilified by executives, no matter how easy it would have been on numerous heated occasions to blame a staff member for something that went wrong in a case, Earle would never do so.  To the contrary, I saw him defend staff from executives many times and several times I saw him assert a staff member’s error to be his own just in order to prevent the staff member from receiving punishment.

It will likely take several chapters to give my experience with Earle the context and meaning it deserves, and I can’t do that here. But, I want to dispel one misconception that I know exists in the minds of many observers. Earle was hung with several major losses the church suffered in the courts, starting most notably with the Wollersheim trial and verdict of 1986.

Here is what really happened. Earle Cooley did an amazing  job handling the plaintiff’s case in chief. For several weeks he worked around the clock preparing with staff and each day he did a masterful job of cross examination. So much so that at mid trial, when the plaintiff had rested and while the court entertained motions by the defense, Wollersheim and his counsel wanted to settle the case.

No case could be settled without Miscavige’s authorization. At the time, early 1986, Miscavige was consumed with jockeying Broeker out the cat bird’s seat and he was making himself scarce to me as Legal Exec Author Service’s Inc and Earle.  Notwithstanding Earle’s great performance he never let his ego surpass his intelligence. He understood that while a very good record was being made, the jury was lost after having gotten weeks of testimony on Fair Game. Earle negotiated a settlement with Wollersheim’s attorney. The case would be dismissed for $500,000.

Earle, through me, proposed to Miscavige that we accept. Miscavige, without ever meeting or talking with Earle, said that we could settle it only if Wollersheim agreed to put in writing that Scientology is not a fraud.  Earle and I both understood such a statement as part of a 1/2 million dollar settlement would be meaningless. Nonetheless, Earle dutifully carried out the client’s wishes. Sure enough, Wollersheim and his attorney flatly refused. Earle pleaded with me to use my best efforts to convince Miscavige to come off this arbitrary. He told me to make sure that Miscavige knew that Earle, who was scheduled for an angioplasty procedure, would not even be physically able to handle presenting the defense case and closing out the trial. I did my best, but  Miscavige, in his inimitable style, would hear none of it. I’ll save the invective he directed at me and Earle out of respect for the latter.  The rest is history. Without Earle at the helm we got hit for 30 Million dollars.  Earle took the loss on his own shoulders never once attempting to shift the blame. In fact, Earle Cooley won the Wollersheim case in my book.

And the world should know that Earle Cooley in similar fashion won every other legal matter he handled for the church thereafter, even though  the church took heavy public losses. It wasn’t Earle – it was the client, each and every time.  Earle – being the professional he is – just kept serving up pearls before swine.

I’ll share one story that I believe captures Earle’s character. Once in the early nineties I sat at counsel table handling Earle’s files in a critical hearing. We were before Federal Judge Spencer Letts in LA bringing a motion to recuse Judge Ideman in the RTC, CSI vs. Mayo, et al case.  The Mayo case was turning into a train wreck for the church, and I was under orders not to bother coming out of the courthouse without the recusal in hand. Earle knew I was under heavy pressure. Letts started out telling Earle he only had a given amount of time – and it was short and before he could complete his argument, Letts told him to sit down. Earle looked at me and I guess saw the desperation in my eyes, turned back toward the Judge and kept on arguing. The Judge ordered the Federal Marshalls to escort Earle out of the courthouse – one on each arm.  I then stood and kept the argument going before Earle was out the door. I kept it up for several minutes before opposing counsel complained to the judge that I was not a lawyer. I too was escorted out by the Marshalls.

When I was released at the front door I mosied up to Earle who was sitting dejectedly on the courthouse steps. While offering me a smoke, he noticed how disappointed I looked, and said with his huge grin, “Marty, I saw you handling Letts. You could talk a cat out of a herring.”

The cheer up didn’t last long, because the inevitable phone call came demanding the debrief.  I walked away so that Earle wouldn’t have to hear the profanities and denigration spewing out the ear phone. But Earle knew what was happening. When I returned to my seat on the steps beside him, we both looked into the street blankly. Then Earle patted me on the back and said, “don’t worry my friend, we’ll get to Valhalla yet.”

While my stories are necessarily personal to me, realize that Earle performed his herculean tasks out of love for LRH, the technology he created, and humanity as a whole.

To Jeanie, Chris, Eddie and Harry, if there is anything you need, I am at your service, 24/7/365.

Earle, save me a seat at your table in Valhalla. It may take me a while to earn it, but by then I’ll have many stories to share.

60 responses to “Eulogy for Earle Cooley

  1. I well remember the IAS event where Earle was introduced with other church Attorneys. He came across as a larger than life character, likeable, and with an affinty for his profession, given his great warrior spirit. I am honored that we were, for a brief period, on the same team.
    I wish him well in whatever future he creates for himself.

    http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2009/11/tom-cruise-honors-a-legal-top-gun.html

  2. Wow, Marty, that was incredibly touching! What the world needs as much as anything is heroes. Thanks for this. :)

  3. I’m so sorry to read of Earl’s passing. I always thought that he towered above the usual shysters that were hired by the Church, like Cobra and Co.

    Maybe I’m giving too much away by writing this but when OSA took over the hallway between ASHO and LA Org for the legal team on the Christofferson case. He used to drop by and say hello to all us Techies working in the HGC.

    There wasn’t a pretentious bone in his body. A genuinely friendly and amiable guy.

    Funny I was just wondering what ever happened to Earl last night and here I read your post.

    I am very sorry to read of his passing. He truly is a big being.

    My condolences to Earl’s next of kin.

    Earl up there in Valhalla you are sorely missed.

  4. Thanks for that, Marty. Valhalla will be an even better place with Earle there.

  5. Another hero on the history of mankind.

    Thanks to Earle for all his work.

    I´m grateful to ear about such beings as Earle.

    Also grateful to you dude; for sharing this histories with us.

    I have learned a lot more about the true story of Scientology outside CofS than in 20 years inside it.

    When someone works for a organization full of lies; it´s sure he will fail sooner or later. But that´s the lie. The individual does not fail or do something wrong and, yet, the organization gets loses and atacks.

    The story of Earle is similar to the story of hundreds of dedicated staff members WW.

    They take the loss but have not failed. Just have followed wrong directions.

    Roberto Sánchez Núñez

  6. Wow! Balls of steel Marty.

    But I wonder about the intelligence. Even though I know you are intelligent.

    You give an eulogy to one who was involved
    in a ten year legal attack on the one who was LRHs auditor. David Mayo, a prominent Freezoner. You are one whether or not you like the term.

    You and Earle were instrumental in suppressing LRH tech worldwide. Some 30
    organisations world wide were connected to
    Mayo, and were squashed.

    Earle was a scientologist?

    You going to get another lawyer to attack me for promoting the freezone?

    Unusually I’m lost for more words.

    • Terril, if it takes ruining myself I am going to get people to start getting pan determined, rather than self and other determined.

      • It is so unfortunate that people seem to take such great pleasure in holding people in a condition rather than allowing them the opportunity to change. Else they want to tell you exactly how you should go about it. Yesterdays responses were full of this and it seems people still want to go at it. Whatever….

        A very heartwarming and obviously heartfelt tribute.

      • They are at the gates with pitchforks calling for your “ruination” as you speak…

        Not perhaps understanding the idea of living life more as a game than as a poisoned burden.

        But seeing Mr Cooley in a different light, as a man and a fighter for ideals rather than just as one shakesphere would have called for being first to die, perhaps will jog some dim recognition in them that all is not exactly as seen from one viewpoint…

        And in truth one viewpoint is never the truth, but merely a component of it.

      • bb,
        I had something to say about a bad banger you had for breakfast today, then I read Dave’s post.

        Life as art, Marty’s eulogy for a being large.

    • Terril – lighten up dude, come into the moment, people change because their minds can change.

      How do you know if Marty hasn’t given Mayo an apology in quiet, off the public radar screen. The Freezone has survived in spite of the past actions whether just or unjust.

      Not saying Earle, Marty or anyone else involved in past actions were right or wrong. Depends on whose ox was being gored. One must consider their states of mind at the time and like I said, such minds can change and come to a place completely the opposite of what they were.

    • Terril, come to present time!

      If it makes you feel any better I was also part of the op, that brought down Mayo’s AAC.

      Right or wrong a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

      Don’t you think it’s time to call an amnesty?

    • Marty’s actions show he has been working up through the conditions and he has earned my respect and the respect of all who want to see beings go free.

      We all have participated in actions that seemed right at the time and were criminal when viewed from a more pan-determined viewpoint. There is no reason to stay stuck in shame, blame or regret.

      It’s what we do now that determines our worth to Independent Scientology whether Freezone or other.

      Terril is still stuck in the incident. That is unfortunate, as there are ways to get unstuck and contribute to the forward motion of the group.

      Any of us who are still fighting old battles, need to see how we can come to present time on this and resolve our issues through commuinication.

      • Old Auditor. Thanks. Look at this way. What do you think I am going to do when Tommy Davis comes knocking at my door? I am going to invite him in and make my home his.

      • Re: Tommy Davis

        I will do the same with Tommy due to the fact that Karen Hollander and I tag teamed to recruit him into the Sea Org. Talked him out of going to college like he’d planned. Look where that got him. He was a personal friend. When he leaves, I will still be there for him. I know he’s a great person underneath the programming. If one wants to be a friend of mine or not despite my views on Hubbard and Scientology is their choice. I wouldn’t be the one operating with the impulse to disconnect based on another person’s opinions. Tommy will need to find himself again when he leaves, without a “Church” or a group telling him what he needs to believe to survive outside of the Cult. He’s already been living a life of over-analyzation into complexities and compartmentalization of mind and spirit. All he will need when he gets out is love and friendship. Just like anyone else. Hopefully he will join in the effort to expose the crimes and abuses of the Cult.

  7. DM would have caved himself in after a 30 million dollar mistake like that if he was sane.

    • And that is a key point. . 5 million vs. $30 Million? That is part of what the IAS money was going towards. That is a 29.5 million dollar vanity mistake. Where is the oversight and accountability?

  8. Marty, Thank you for this touching post. You are already a hero! You are very pan-determine and with lots of great qualities.

    It is very sad to see there are people like Terril Park who are still stuck in the past and can not see the future. Hope those people will come to their senses and create a brighter future for themselves and mankind. Just as you are doing.

    Thank you Marty for being there and communicating.

  9. My Hat off and a respectful bow to Earle! Thanks Marty for these awesome stories of truth. By the way, has anyone realized before me tha the climate at int Headquarters is a dramatization of the implant “you are not supposed to tell” type? Very sickening situation indeed. Only when you come off that joint for good you can reexperience sanity and freedom. Does that makes any sense to you?

  10. Concerned Citizen

    That 30 million dollar mistake, which DM is unshakably sure is not his fault, but the fault of those who failed to do as he ordered, is reminiscent of a tape lecture in which LRH mentions Roosevelt, and mentions how idiotic it was to demand unconditional surrender.

  11. Concerned Citizen

    Thanks Earle, for all you did, for the smiles. Many of us appreciate it

  12. Condolences on the loss of your friend Marty.

  13. I, as Terril, considered Earle Cooley an enemy, and it strikes to read what you wrote. It wasn’t a battle for freedom what the Co$ fought against Mayo, but of enslavement and monopoly – exactly what the Co$ is now. But looking at Earle Cooley from your point of view I took a broader view. I believe there have been great people on both sides, lied to enough to believe that fighting the other was the right thing to do.

    • Mostly Lurker: “enslavement and monopoly”? Quite the contrary, Earle Cooley was defending LRH from a huge, well funded assault from the Justice department and IRS – with virtually all major media 100% on board. Terril, Robin Scott, and others want us all to not-is what side Mayo and his minions supported in that epic struggle.

      • Illuminating.

        Ah, the details that all make sense.

      • Hi Marty,

        Sorry for the loss of your friend. That was a nice eulogy.

        What would probably be helpful for many is to detail exactly the jobs Earle did, and how they helped Scientology, go into more specifics about the justice department and IRS assault you mention (with media support), and also expand on what you mean about Mayo. Obviously people don’t have the same information as you, and it might help people become more pan-determined in this area.

        My understanding is that Mayo and the people at the advanced ability center never financially supported this assault, but were busy defending themselves from attack by the church whilst getting people up the bridge. Also, Mayo was a close friend of LRH, and was given the tech hat until his return (according to a letter he received from LRH). Here’s Mayo’s open letter where he states that: http://www.freezone.org/reports/e_mayool.htm Perhaps you could also give your viewpoint on this as well, and help clear up this 3D secondary.

      • so what side did Mayo and “his minions” support in “that epic struggle”?

        As I was there, then the only side I saw them take was the anti DM side. If you know different pray tell

  14. Wow. Thank you for sharing this Marty. Brought me close to tears.

  15. In amongst this whole sad story I think we forget there are real people involved. Some are bad but they do good things and some are good and sadly they do bad things.

    It may be hard to view Earle with any sympathy but in the same way that I came to befriend many “SP’s” after I left I now find myself appreciative of your story about Earle.

    It is more information that breaks down the polarizing, stereotyping and bigotry on both sides of the debate.

    For that I am grateful.

    • Well said. Certain message boards would do well to have a similarly tolerant and pan-determined view.

      On Mr Cooley, he was the star of the show at Portland 1985. With a beingness and voice that filled the stage he captured the attention of the attending public. It was electricrifying, and makes the calculated teleprompt-driven utterances of Dear Leader look positively amateurish. (Come to think of it, has DB EVER addressed the public without a script?)

      • Panther, you hit on something quite important. Only two people in Scientology since the early 80′s could carry a large Scientologist audience without a script – Earle Cooley and Heber. From my perspective, and I believe Mike Rinder will confirm this, DM recognized this and promptly worked by covert and overt means to put them to pasture. Fortunately, Earle had an incredible career and continued to pursue it. Heber, unfortunately, did not and wound up denigrated in the hole. But, you hit the nail on the head with “calculated teleprompter-driven utterances”. Thank you.

    • Thank you glinner for your insight, which I will repeat –

      “It is more information that breaks down the polarizing, stereotyping and bigotry on both sides of the debate.”

      This world could be a happier more pleasant place to be if people, including those in governments, had this awareness.

  16. Dear Marty,

    Are you telling us that the Marcab Midget cost the church $29.5 Million through sheer obstinacy/stupidity?

    • Loping Wolf. Out of obsession to dominate others. I don’t have the final figures – but whatever it cost to litigate for another 15 years plus a check for nearly 9 million – what the 15 years of litigation earned the church the privilege of ultimately doing.

      • Marty,

        I’m starting to feel a bit confused.

        Lets assume that Mayo was that bad (even if I personally don’t think so), shouldn’t we also think that we, who fought Mayo on the other side, were also not that clean?

        I took part in some of meetings of the EU RTC Squirrel mission and, man, those guys went serious lenght in being not that honorable people. Just one accident: they told the border police that Mayo was “some kind of a gangster” in order to have him held up at a european border checkpoint…

        I mean, Marty, what’s the point of getting into a debate of who was good or who was bad? I had people sent to the RPF, I comm-ev’d people, I lied, took part in over regging, executed disastrous orders. Why WE are good and Mayo and all the others who fought the church bad?

        What’s the difference?

        Why don’t we just end this tragedy (1981-2009) by taking all a pandetermined viewpoint? Even if Mayo was that bad, he still was a product of our church. We should own up and take our share of responsibility otherwise I am afraid we will never get out of this mess. Per SOS the TRUTH always contains some kind of aestethic, it can’t possibly be that Mayo was a devil and we on the other side were all the good people.

        One more thing on the IRS and Justice Government attacks: maybe in the US it is different compared to Europe but, Marty, when you have the Justice Department and the Fiscal Authority in EU attacking you, normally it is so for a reason: when you come under their attacks some of your activities are at the least questionable, maybe you haven’t done anything illegal but for certain something you’re doing is at least questionable.

        The real question, from my viewpoint, is not what Mayo and the others did, but the real question should be “how come Mayo, undoubtly a talented and gifted person, ended up against our church?”

        And the second question should be “what our PR fuck ups were that we come so much under scrutiny of the above mentioned government agencies?”

        Marty this is a crucial point if a reformed church of scientology has to take off.

        Paolo

        PS: and regardless of which side he stood, my best wishes for Mr. Cooley family.

        • Paolo: I am surprised you are putting something on me here. I communicated a eulogy for perhaps the best friend I ever had. One quality that made him so was his demonstrated friendship toward LRH. Some felt it appropriate to denigrate him at his eulogy. I stated a FACT about Mayo in defense of the attack on my friend. I did not attack Mayo. If you want to start a debate I can go there. But, this forum does not have the space, nor the attention span for the full truth to be aired. You think I ought to join civil authorities who are being prodded into attacking LRH and the tech with generalities and lies? I won’t. Not with a gun to my head. I hope you are beginning to get the difference between me and Mayo. And I never purported to create, nor do I intend to, a “reformed church of Scientology.” This “gee, everybody is everybody else, and everything that everybody does is ok” attitude is a very dangerous trap.

          • Marty,

            I apologize if my comment upset you in any way. It wasn’t my intention. Please know that I also respect the grief you bear for the loss of a friend.

            I don’t want to start a debate, neither I want to attack you or prod you into anything. You have been patient and helpful answering my questions and you did help me more than once in putting order in a big puzzle. That is enough for me.

            Even if we never met I consider you a friend and I understand that lately you have taken a lot of heat from several sources. Perhaps my comment didn’t take that into account. Sorry for that.

            My position is simple (and by know I am sure you came to understand it): I believe we should find a way to reach reconciliation among the people that have been part of the C. of S.: not only Mayo, but also Cooley (RIP) , you, me and all the rest of the people.

            Perhaps I am naive but I DO believe that truth contains some degree of aestethics: that is why I often come to the rescue of the people who are being criticized.

            Best Paolo

            • Paolo, Thanks. I understand your position and agree with it. I’ll open this all up for great debate on a later post – not on this post though. I am sure you understand why.

          • This is interesting for many reasons. And this comment by Marty (about friendship with Earle Cooley) resonates the most:

            *One quality that made him so was his demonstrated friendship toward LRH.*

            In these years of turmoil and sorting out confusion, that was the one nonnegotiable stable datum for me — because of my certainty of the tech. Even when I left staff, it was because I knew it was not where I could best serve.

            I thought I had lost Scientology as I knew it for good, even though I had checked out freezone possibilities I couldn’t do it. I don’t know why really but when I saw Marty’s videos and started catching up on all that’s been happening, I immediately got in touch. I questioned it the whole way :) but I *knew* it was the right thing to do.

            The auditing I received and the meeting confirms to me personally, the genuine devotion to LRH. If I may make a personal conjecture, Marty describing Earle Cooley as perhaps the best friend he ever had was rooted and because of his purpose of protecting LRH, and his appreciation of Earle’s warrior honor in doing so.

            Since I can personally say LRH is right up there the best friend I’ve ever had, measurable by the tangible contribution his life’s work has made to mine (and I have some true and great friends), there is little if anything more sacred than that.

            My condolences to the Cooley family and to you, Marty.

      • Thanks, Marty,

        Whatever the final figures, that crosses the line to insanity.

      • What Paolo said!!

        Of course Mayo WASN’T fighting scientology – he was fighting Miscavidge. Mayo was an LRH person through and through. As were all the individual AAC’s.

        In 1982 all defections were because of miscavidge.

        All were honourable people who had enough integrity to leave when they saw an SP take control of scientology.

        I know I was one of them

  17. If he were still around Cooley would be coming after you and Rinder next, Marty. It’s very magnanimous to eulogize him so.

  18. Though I moved on from the tech some time ago I still must be a scientologist in that the unfolding story fascinates me. Thanks for the glimpse into Earle Cooley.

    Marty, one thing you can do and are doing is something I don’t believe LRH was able to, not to mention Dave M, and that is tell your story unvarnished… the highs, the lows, the blunders and the ah ha’s… without justification or pretension. The authentic and vulnerable are oh so much easier to like and find common reality with.

    What you call the middle road could also be called the path of heart.

  19. Hey Marty,

    I couldn’t resist a comment here in memory of Earle.

    What most people don’t know, and who weren’t there, is that Earle ultimately worked to safeguard LRH and his legacy, not the church, even though DM might have thought he was calling the shots. Earle certainly saw through the ego power plays.

    You can confirm this Marty, you were closer to him than I.

    He is truly a big being and will be missed.

    By the way, you nailed the re-telling of the “Louieville Slugger” story. I haven’t heard that story in over 20 years!!!

    BP

  20. Marty — You are so right about Earle. His motivation was duty, not money. And as you so well know, that was rare, if not unique, in his profession. A more honorable man I have never met, and the thought that his friendship to you (or me) would ever have been allayed by anything anyone ever said to him, or any amount of money he may have been offered is utterly laughable. Once you were a friend to Earle, it was a friendship that lasted forever. And when times were toughest, there was nobody, and I mean nobody, that I would have chosen to have in my corner ahead of Earle. Good men everywhere lost an icon of dignity with his passing.

  21. DM and Aaron Saxton prove that people who are born in Scientology are often wogs.

  22. Marty,

    I’ve listened to many of the lectures (sunday talks) on mp3 given by Mayo and haven’t heard him once say a bad word about LRH in them.

    Seems to me like there could have been a 3rd party involved at that time. (Or even plants nattering about LRH in the AACs.)

    At the moment though there is just insinuations against Mayo and those at the AAC. A full post with what you know about this would be an effective communication right now.

    • As-is. I’ll address with some more context when I have time. I shouldn’t have fell into the GPM trap on this. When someone calls a person an “enemy” in response to a eulogy – it made me want to defend. I will also address how the GPM came to be and perhaps how we can exteriorize from it and as-is it.

  23. So do we know that Cooley had any change of heart? If not, then I don’t see that anyone needs to “come up to present time.” Just sayin’.

  24. I am Earle’s oldest daughter and happened on this thread while doing a search for a specific article about my dad. Marty, whoever you are, I thank you for the wonderful eulogy of my father…he would have enjoyed it…and not have spent a moment worrying about the naysayers…he spoke his truth and that was all, like it or not. Mr. Miscavige’s eulogy at the tribute in Boston was truly eloquent and special, speaking to vigor that was my father. Best regards and many thanks.

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