Fox-13 News, 4/05/2000 MALE NEWSCASTER: Scientology is on trial in Clearwater. [TV screen in background says "Scientology" in white letters on blue background] FEMALE NEWSCASTER: The church wants the judge to dismiss criminal charges, charges filed after a parishioner died under the care of other Scientologists. And Fox-13's Steve Nichols tells us now, so many church members showed up for today's hearing, an extra courtroom had to be opened up. [Scienos in courtroom hallway and in courtroom, Judge Susan F. Schaeffer] STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: Hundreds of Scientologists filled out into the hall outside this St. Petersburg courtroom, so many that the judge ordered up a camera and sound system and turned the second courtroom into a TV room. VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Your honor has massive papers before you-- [pictures of Lisa McPherson; outside St. Petersburg courthouse; Scn building; more footage of Scienos in courtroom] STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: The case of Lisa McPherson is very important to Scientologists. She suffered some sort of psychosis in 1995 and died under the care of fellow Scientologists. Now the church is charged with practicing medicine without a license and neglecting a disabled adult, charges these Scientologists see as a personal threat because their religion simply does not believe in psychiatry. BENNETTA SLAUGHTER--caption "Bennetta Slaughter, Scientologist"): They think man is a body, it's a mind, it's a piece of meat, if you will. That's really opposite religion. [Scieno lawyer] STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: Freedom of religion is the church's big defense against the practicing medicine charge, and its attorney's say there was no neglect. ERIC LIEBERMAN (caption--"Eric Lieberman, defense attorney"): It has to be abuse and neglect to cause great bodily harm. What they were doing was preventing great bodily harm. [prosecutor Doug Crow in courtroom; picture of Lisa] STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: But prosecutors argue psychiatry was no longer the issue in the final days of McPherson's life. As she grew weaker, her problems became medical. DOUG CROW (caption--"Doug Crow, prosecutor"): Cause of death was not an element. Risk of death, creating a person's death through negligence is the element. [Judge Susan F. Schaeffer; Doug Crow] STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: Chief Judge Susan Schaeffer asked lots of questions and made comments that made both sides squirm. JUDGE SUSAN F. SCHAEFFER (caption--"Chief Judge Susan Schaeffer, Pinellas County): It would seem to me what that statute is clearly saying is if you've got some people that are doing that they ought not be doing such as practicing medicine, charge them--don't charge the church. [Eric Lieberman in front of charts and diagrams on display in courtroom; Doug Crow] JUDGE SUSAN F. SCHAEFFER: Your position is your people can be as negligent as they want to be, and if they're free from prosecution then so is the charge, and that's a scary proposition. [Eric Lieberman in front of charts and diagrams on display in courtroom; Judge Susan F. Schaeffer] STEVE NICHOLS--VOICE OF: Technically the church's corporate body is being accused. Judge Schaeffer says she doesn't buy that approach. The church is the defendant here, and she'll hear more arguments Thursday. In St. Petersburg, Steve Nichols, Fox 13 News. FEMALE NEWSCASTER: And in other court documents local Scientologists claim the McPherson case has sparked religious bigotry. They say there have been physical attacks and businesses owned by Scientologists, they say, have lost customers and employees. Some even had shots fired through their front window.