The following is an excerpt from attorney Jon Parsons’ entertaining book about the SRF and Bertolucci cases, A Fight For Religious Freedom: A Lawyer’s Personal Account of Copyrights, Karma and Dharmic Litigation.
The following scene took place during the final, trial phase of SRF’s lawsuit against Ananda. Mike Flynn was a close advisor to SRF President Daya Mata, and a long-time SRF member – facts he carefully tried to hide during the Bertolucci trial.
Flynn Thrown Out of Court | October 2002
During the morning break on one of the first days of testimony, I was walking down the window-walled corridor outside our eighth-floor courtroom when I heard Flynn’s loud and unmistakable voice. It was booming through the open door of an attorney conference room. “Just say no! That’s all you have to do, just say no!” As I walked past I turned my head and saw Flynn haranguing Brother Chidananda, the witness then still in the middle of testifying, who would retake the stand immediately after the break. It may surprise some, but there are limits to the ethical coaching of witnesses, called “woodshedding,” and it sounded like Flynn had crossed that line. What surprised me, though, was that he did it shouting at a witness in a small room with an open door off the hallway next to the courtroom. What does that tell you? The door wide open. Compounding the folly was the fact that Garcia had already taken the trouble of prohibiting Flynn from officially appearing as SRF’s counsel in the case. Flynn could not represent SRF in the courtroom, yet here he was, telling an SRF witness what to say when he resumed testifying.
As an officer of the court I had the pleasant duty of bringing such egregious misbehavior to Garcia’s attention. His Honor was upset. We soon learned that Flynn had already caught Garcia’s eye by what the judge described as flitting about the audience and “talking in stage whispers” so the jury could hear. Garcia called Flynn forward, and asked him to explain what he was doing. When Flynn started to explain, Garcia cut him off, and asked whether this was the same Michael Flynn the judge had earlier prohibited from appearing as pro hac vice counsel in the case. The exchange turned ugly, with Flynn sliding quickly from defensive, to combative, then loudly accusatory, and concluded with an angry Garcia ejecting Flynn from the courtroom. It was like a dramatic scripted scene out of a movie, only better because it was playing out live and unrehearsed before an enrapt audience. Garcia had pressed some hidden button and a burly Federal Marshal entered the courtroom, whereupon the judge instructed him, in a clear and forceful voice, that Flynn had been thrown out of this proceeding and was to leave the courtroom immediately. If Flynn did not leave, or if he tried to return to the courtroom, he was to be physically escorted from the building, with a marshal always in place to execute the order as needed. As Garcia talked the marshal adopted an aggressive arms-akimbo hand-near-the-gun posture, and began glaring at Flynn. Flynn would not back down, but soon stormed from the courtroom, venting as he went, the marshal close behind. As soon as the door closed behind them the entire audience broke into hushed conversations, requiring Garcia to gavel the proceedings back to order. It was better than the best Broadway.