WTSP Channel 10 News, 4/05/2000 MALE NEWSCASTER: The Church of Scientology is squaring off against prosecutors. The church wants charges stemming from the 1995 death of a church member dropped. But prosecutors say the church is responsible for Lisa McPherson's treatment and eventual death. Scientologists say a new ruling by the medical examiner changes everything in this case. [split screen--on bottom of screen it shows gavel on top of the words "Scientology hearing" (the word "Scientology" is the Scientology logo with crossed-out cross)] MALE NEWSCASTER: 10 News reporter Elaine Lucadano is live at the St. Petersburg courthouse with more. Hi, Elaine. ELAINE LUCADANO (caption--"Elaine Lucadano, St. Petersburg, Scientology hearing"): Hi, Reggie. The court here exactly--they just wrapped up about a minute ago. It will resume tomorrow morning, so no decision in this case today. But we gotta tell ya, hundreds of people, mostly Scientologist parishioners, packed the courtroom. In fact, they overflowed into a second courtroom, there were so many people here. They're here to hear the motion to dismiss those charges against the Church of Scientology. [footage of courtroom with Scienos, caption "Scientology hearing"; picture of Lisa McPherson; Fort Harrison Hotel] ELAINE LUCADANO--VOICE OF: Now church members are uniting here to support what they call a fight for their religious freedom. Scientology attorneys are arguing that Lisa McPherson exercised her religious choice to deny psychiatric help for her mental problems, and instead she sought spiritual help at an isolation treatment program inside the Scientologists' Fort Harrison Hotel. They say she died 17 days into that care not because of any abuse or neglect, but because Lisa had an undetectable blood clot in her lung. [courtroom footage; Judge Susan Schaeffer; Scieno lawyer Eric Lieberman in front of display; Scienos in courtroom; lawyers in courtroom] ELAINE LUCADANO--VOICE OF: That is backed up by the medical examiner, but prosecutors argue that staff treating Lisa were ill-equipped and not trained to detect her illness. They also say she was severely dehydrated at the time she died. And Judge Susan Chaeff--Schaeffer will decide whether or not to drop the charges against the church. If she does not drop the charges, the church will likely have to go to trial in October. ELAINE LUCADANO--ON CAMERA: Now, I spoke with Lisa McPherson's best friend this afternoon. It's the first time she's talked openly about herself, her relationship with Lisa and this case, and I'll be sharing what she has to say. It's very interesting what she has to say. I'll share that tonight with, uh, with you at 6 o'clock. Reggie? [split screen again] MALE NEWSCASTER: All right, Elaine, thanks so much. Elaine Lucadano reporting live from St. Petersburg. [back to newscaster] MALE NEWSCASTER: There will be more legal arguments in the case tomorrow. Now, the ruling in this case could affect the civil case pending in Tampa. The McPherson family is seeking millions in compensation from the church.