Former Scientology private eye wants to haul us into court in rape lawsuit
On the morning of Monday, March 27 we left our underground bunker and schlepped out to Nassau County again for another hearing in the saga involving a private investigator who at one time was stalking Leah Remini and Jennifer Lopez — and also your proprietor — on behalf of the Church of Scientology.
His name is Yanti Michael Greene, or at least it was, until he changed it legally in the middle of litigation to “Michael Moretti Ford Cruz” without informing the people who were suing him or the judge where the lawsuit was taking place. That judge, Sharon Gianelli, eventually found Greene guilty of criminal and civil contempt after he was caught trying to hide incriminating video footage from the court.
That footage, according to an expert, is convincing proof that Greene raped a semi-conscious woman, Susanne Gold-Smith, in the back seat of his SUV early in the morning hours of May 17, 2018. However, Greene, a retired NYPD detective, has never been charged with a crime for the alleged rape, and he has maintained the rather ludicrous claim that he was raped by Gold-Smith in the encounter.
We were back in court on March 27 because Susanne Gold-Smith and her husband, David Smith, were awarded more than $300,000 in the contempt order against Greene, and they’ve been trying to collect it. They deposed the former NYPD detective about his sources of income, and are asking the court to garnish his wages.
It’s a complex case with multiple lawsuits and countless motions and orders, and it didn’t help that the judge handling the hearing that morning, Judge Francis Ricigliano, had never handled any of it before. So we sat for some time as Judge Ricigliano tried to make sense of all the file numbers and how they related to each other, and which parties were present and which weren’t.
Greene was present and was representing himself, pro se. And he was surprised to learn that this did not mean that his personal company, the Moretti Group, was properly represented and was, as a result, not present.
“I wasn’t aware I couldn’t represent it,” Greene said, sounding at a loss and realizing that his company was in a position to be saddled with a default judgment for not showing up.
Leading up to the hearing, Greene had posted some fairly astounding documents with wild claims, as we’ve reported previously. Gold-Smith’s attorney, Daniel Szalkiewicz, referred to it as “cockamamie” material in his response, and Judge Ricigliano, unfamiliar with the case, asked Szalkiewicz about it.
“Cockamamie — is that a legal term?” he asked.
“Unfortunately in this case it is, your honor,” Szalkiewicz answered.
Judge Ricigliano admitted that he hadn’t actually read any of the pleadings, and that he would need to do so before rendering a ruling at some point. In the meantime, he asked the parties to sign up for dates to hold depositions, and a sheet was passed around. At some point, Szalkiewicz voiced an objection to the court, saying that Greene had not only signed up himself for a deposition but had added a couple of names of people who were not parties to the litigation.
Greene said he wanted the non-parties deposed, and he was told that would occur only under a separate authority. He could submit those names, but the court would have to approve them.
After getting the parties signed up, Judge Ricigliano scheduled a hearing for late June, by which time the depositions should be finished and they could move closer to trial.
“Does that make sense, or is it cockamamie?” the judge asked, with a smile.
Anyway, in the weeks since then, as we’ve waited to hear if the court has come to a ruling, we learned that Greene submitted not just two additional names of non-parties he’d like to get deposed, but a total of twelve people he wants the court to subpoena.
Three of those names we thought you’d be interested to see. Here they are, with descriptions by Greene, from the letter he wrote the court last week…
TONY ORTEGA: Former Editor of The Village Voice. Plaintiffs paid Tony to create, print and post online, globally false (defaming) and or negative stories about me with regard to this litigation.
JEFFREY AUGUSTINE: A private investigator and self proclaimed “journalist”, Plaintiffs pay him (to this day) to create, print and post online, globally false (defaming) and or negative stories about me with regard to this litigation.
KAREN DE LA CARRIERE: Married to Jeffery Augustine, and paid by Plaintiffs, she illegally took a photograph of me inside the Courtroom during a hearing then posted it online via her husband attached to yet another defaming online, global, “news article”.
Jeffrey and your proprietor have both written about this case at our respective websites. And no, this reporter has not taken a penny from anyone involved in the case. Jeffrey tells us that’s the same case with him. And Karen, we understand, has not been in New York since the 1990s. So we have no idea why Greene thinks she was skulking around the courthouse taking photos of him.
This is the second time we’ve seen Greene refer to a photo of him he claims was taken at court, but we haven’t seen such a photo.
Well, we’re told the court is not very likely to haul us into court simply because Greene wants it to. But it’s the thought that counts, we suppose.
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