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Scientology asks judge to yank files from police

The Church of Scientology is asking a federal judge to get rid of records that the Police Department has maintained as part of a 13-year investigation into Scientology.

The organization says that police, by releasing the contents of those files to the Times, have violated the "personal, associational and religious privacy rights" of Scientologists.

Those arguments are part of Scientology's statement, filed in a counterclaim last week, in a legal fight over the police files. After the Times published stories about the investigation in January and Scientology asked the city to immediately deny further public access to the information in the files, the city went to court to try to keep the files open.

Scientology further claims that police gave the Times access to more information than the police had given the church in its earlier requests for public records.

Scientology's counterclaims and its legal strategy of moving the case to federal court mean that the city will have to spend more money to defend the lawsuit, lawyers say. Estimates now run up to $20,000; an earlier guess placed the cost below $5,000.