Tuesday, February 21, 2017

People Of The State Of Illinois v. Mark Bunker

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

Scientology had me arrested by off duty Chicago police officers while I attempted to conduct a video interview of two dentists who had been defrauded by Scientology to the tune of $100,000.

The dentists had been trying for two years to recieve a refund of $20,000 for Scientology courses they had never taken. Scientology refused to give them the refund. After the dentists contacted the LMT, I flew up to Chicago to conduct an interview so the couple could share their story.

The Chicago Police Department had helped arrange a meeting between the dentists and the Chicago Scientology Org on the evening of January 25, 2000. I went along to videotape a brief interview with the couple before and after their meeting.

When we arrived at the Chicago Org, two off-duty officers, dressed in black leather jackets, ran out of the front door of the Org. They raced past the dentists and grabbed me by his arms. Within seconds, they had arrested me for trespassing even though I was on a public sidewalk the entire time.

After being placed handcuffed into the back of a squad car, I spent four hours in a jail cell at the Belmont and Western precinct until released on $75 bail. When I reclaimed my possessions from the police, everything was returned except my videocamera which had been placed into property lockup and supposedly shipped to another location.

The following day, I returned to get his camera and was sent from one location to the next before finding it back at the Belmont and Western precinct. When the camera was finally returned from the police lockup, the videotape had been removed from the camera. Although official requests were filed to protect the videotape as evidence, the tape was never recovered.

The State tried to place the blame for the disappearing tape on me or the dentists but the camera, which recorded the entire event and arrest, was running and recording as the police took it into their possession.

By the time I returned to Clearwater, Florida, Scientologist PR representatives Pat Jones and Al Buttnor had been showing my mugshot from the arrest to neighboring businesses, warning them that I was a criminal.

Scientology assigned Elliot Abelson, one of their top attorneys, to handle the case. He flew to Chicago repeatedly to hold meetings with the state attorney. He provided them with enough “Dead Agent” material to at one point convince them to add charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and battery against a police officer and to treat the incident as a hate crime.

By the time the case went to trial it was once again a simple misdemeanor trespassing charge. Most such cases are thrown out as being too trivial to try in court or the defendant chooses to plea guilty for a small fine but Scientology put enough pressure on the State that they took it to trial.

I fought the charge and, in the end, won the trial. It took over a year for it to get to court and cost a lot of time, money and energy to prevail but it brought out into the open the tactics Scientology will use in an attempt to prove that their critics are “criminals.”

In the end it took just 25 minutes for the jury to find me “Not Guilty.”

My Arrest in Chicago

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

I was arrested while trying to conduct an interview with two Chicago area dentists who had been defrauded by Scientology.

One year later, I stood trial in Chicago and the jury found him not guilty in 25 minutes.

Transcript:
Description of video is in italics.

Mark Bunker across the street from the Chicago org

MARK BUNKER: Ahh–January in Chicago! There’s no better time and no better place than this to be arrested–take it from me! I’m Mark Bunker, and welcome to Xenu TV. Right behind me is the Church of Scientology Chicago org. Just two nights ago, this is where I was arrested.

William and Barbara Z. across the street from the Chicago org; Hubbard Dianetics Foundation logo–yellow lettering on blue background

WILLIAM: We had asked Mark to come with us and, uh, we were gonna ask permission for him to come inside and get our refund, our money back.

BARBARA: What happened was, two police, or two men–

WILLIAM: Plainclothes Joes–

BARBARA: –in black jackets jumped Mark and, uh, wrestled the camera from him, and we didn’t know–

WILLIAM: They didn’t announce that they were police, they didn’t read him his Miranda rights.

MARK BUNKER: Yes, this is the place. Two nights ago right here I was on the sidewalk in front of the Chicago org when two off-duty police officers raced out, grabbed me and put me under arrest. Don’t believe me? Watch the tape!

caption–”FOOTAGE MISSING”

MARK BUNKER: Oh, that’s right, we don’t have the tape because the police stole the tape! It’s missing!

WILLIAM: Well, these two goons, these two guys in leather jackets, black–dressed in black, um, jumped Mark and were trying to get, uh, the camera away from him, and they were telling him, “Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off” so they knew the, the camera was on and the film was, was in there because it won’t run without the film, and, um, then they were, uh, uh–he was asking them, “Well, why are you doing this to me? Why are you doing this to me? Leave me alone!” And, um, they said, “You can’t film, you know, turn it off, turn it off, that’s enough!”. So they grabbed the camera and tried to push it on the ground, they threw his cell phone on the ground.

BARBARA: We didn’t do anything. We were just standing outside of the building, he was behind us towards the street, away from the building. Two men came out of nowhere and jumped him. So I said, “You’re not police, I wanna see your ID!” and they flipped me a badge and I said, “Well, let me look at it really good because I can’t see it. Can you show me the badge?” And there was no face on it, it was rubbed off. So I said, “You’re a fake police!” I said, “You’re acting like this is Nazi Germany; this is America, you can’t push somebody around who just has a camera! We didn’t do anything!” I said, “What’s your name?” and they said, “It’s none of your business, lady, we’re taking him in!” They handcuffed him and they were gonna take him to the police–I don’t know where. I said, “Where are you taking him?” and he says, “It’s not your business!” I said, “It is so, because I’m a citizen and I wanna know; he came with us. What is he charged with?” So one guy, he said–he told me his name was Joe Blow, he was, like, really cool, and, uh, the oth–the other one said, “We’re taking him in for criminal trespassing.” Then all the other police came, and then at that point we, you know, told them our story. But to make a long story short, they took Mark in handcuffed, no reason, never read him his Miranda rights, never identified who they were when they jumped him–and they took the film! The film is gone! So isn’t that kind of funny? he film is just gone, it’s missing. It took him a whole day to get his camera–plus the police were yelling at him, so…

BARBARA: Pam Vilinsky, who flew in from New York to talk to me, to try to pressure me into taking a small settlement for the money they owe me–she said that they hired these people to protect them. Now, the week before, we had an incident here and the police themselves made the appointment for us to go talk to them about getting our money back. So we had an appointment scheduled with them and they knew it, and they had this all planned. Because they don’t want anyone witnessing what they’re doing; they want to keep it hidden. They don’t want people to know their link with dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, probably veterinarians, how they funnel them in for their business. I would have never–I’m Catholic, I would have never come to this church if I hadn’t been funneled in here through Marcus Group, and that’s a fact.

footage outside the Chicago org

MARK BUNKER (voice of): My arrest was an orchestrated attempt to frighten the Zizics into silence, and this, they didn’t succeed.

WILLIAM: Well, I just feel as though I’ve been ripped off by the Church of Scientology and swindled out of my money and I intend to get my money back, that’s my intention. And I will get it back. And I will tell my friends, all my dentist friends, um, about this Marcus operation and how they’re a fear group for the Church of Scientology, you can be sure of that.

MARK BUNKER: So if you’re ever in Chicago and you have a moment, take it from me, old number 396, stop by the org and tell them, “Xenu TV says hello!”

caption–”Dedicated to Officer Bonifazi and Officer Foria”

caption–”The Lisa McPherson Trust, Copyright 2000″

Transcript courtesy of Batchild

Pre-Trial Hearing Transcripts

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

November 17, 2000

STATE OF ILLINOIS
COUNTY OF C0OK

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY
COUNTY DRPARTMENT MUNICIPAL DIVISION

THE PEOPLE OF THE
STATE OF ILLINOIS

Plaintiff,
Case No.00 217168

vs.
BRANCH 46
MARK BUNKER,

Defendant

EXCERPTED REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS

BE IT REMEMBERED that the above-entitled atter came on for Hearing before the HONORABLE WILLIAM P. O’ MALLEY, Judge of said Court, on the 17th day of November, A.D. , 2000. Read more

Opening Transcripts

June 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

2-05-01

CASE NO. OOMCl-217168

STATE OF ILLINOIS

COUNTY OF COOK

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
COUNTY DEPARTMENT – MUNICIPAL DIVISION

THE PEOPLE OF THE
STATE OF ILLINOIS,
Plaintiff,

-V- No. OOMCl-217168

MARK BUNKER,

Defendant.

EXCERPT OF REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS of the trial before the Honorable WILLIAM P. O’MALLEY, Judge of said Court, on the 5th day of February, 2001. Read more

Trial Transcripts Vol I

June 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

2-06-01

CASE NO. OOMCl-217168

STATE OF ILLINOIS
COUNTY OF COOK

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT – FIRST MUNICIPAL DIVISION

THE PEOPLE OF THE )
STATE OF ILLINOIS )
vs. ) Case No. 00-217168
MARK BUNKER 1
REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS of the hearing
before the Hon. WILLIAM O’MALLEY, on the 6th day of
January, A.D., 2001. Read more

Trial Transcripts Vol II

June 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

2-06-01

CASE NO. OOMCl-217168

STATE OF ILLINOIS
COUNTY OF COOK

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
COUNTY DEPARTMENT – MUNICIPAL DIVISION

THE PEOPLE OF THE
STATE OF ILLINOIS,

Plaintiff,

-V – No. OOMCl-217168

MARK BUNKER,

Defendant.

REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS of the trial before the

Honorable WILLIAM P. O’MALLEY, Judge of said Court, and a
jury, on the 6th day of February, 2001. Read more

Transcripts of the Dentists’ Testimony

June 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

February 6, 2001

Note: The names of the dentists have been removed at their request. Read more

Announcement of the Verdict on A.R.S.

June 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Mark Bunker's Chicago Trial

Chicago jury out only 25 minutes:

MARK BUNKER FOUND INNNOCENT

(Reported by Bob Minton, 6 Feb 2001 18:37 and posted to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology)

Mark’s defense contingent arrived in Chicago on Saturday eager to show a Chicago jury that Scientology is a lying mafia-like cult. Meetings were held during the weekend to sort out strategy with Julie Aimen, Mark’s Chicago attorney, Denis deVlaming, Mark’s Clearwater attorney, Stacy Brooks, Frank Oliver and other potential witnesses, including the star witnesses, Bill and Barbara Zizic. Naturally, fun was had by all especially when they went to see a very funny play on Saturday afternoon, The Producers by Mel Brooks, staring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. Mark said the play was fabulous. Stacy said that she and Denis deVlaming could hardly stop laughing and Frank Oliver was still laughing when I talked to him 10 minutes after the play was over :-) For Mark, it was the highlight of the trip.

Monday a jury was selected and the trial started late in the day with the prosecutor and one of Mark’s attorneys, Denis deVlaming making their opening arguments. It sounded like it would be a humiliating trial for Scientology. Time was up for the day and court was then adjourned until 10:00 am Tuesday. Present for Scientology’s mafia-like cult was the former Mafia lawyer for the Gambino’s, now Scientology’s in house legal counsel, Elliott Abelson accompanied by Mary Ann Ahmad, OSA Chicago, Pam Valinski, OSA New York, and 2 OSA Int guys whose names Stacy does not remember.

The entire cast for all three sides were back in court sharply at 10:00 am today. The morning consisted of the prosecutors case starting with testimony of Mary Ann Ahmad who in typical OSA fashion stumbled and mumbled her way through the events on the night of the incident. During cross-examination by deVlaming Ahmad had some trouble explaining how a notary public could get the date wrong by a month on a document the Scientologists had submitted in the case. The 2 off-duty cops were not credible at all according to the report I got and did not hold up well under cross by Aimen. After that the defense team of deVlaming and Aimen presented the Zizics and Mark Bunker who were all three credible, compelling and believable witnesses. At 3:45 PM Chicago time the defense rested and the prosecutor brought a rebuttal witness. The Judge went through instructions to the jury and at 4:35 Chicago time the jury was charged to decide the case.

At 5:00 PM sharp the jury came back and announced a verdict of NOT GUILTY.

Bob Minton