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Episode 70: Steven Fishman Scientology Interview

This episode contains parts 1, 2, and 6 of a seven-part interview conducted with Steven Fishman in November 1988 by false memory expert Richard Ofshe, and attorney Marc Nurik. Fishman was currently facing several criminal charges relating to a mail fraud scheme he’d set up when he was working as a financial planner for the Church of Scientology. In the interview, Fishman reveals various aspects of Scientology doctrine, his own Scientology involvement, and the church’s response to his arrest. He claims that church staff had ordered him to murder his psychologist, Uwe Geertz, and then to commit suicide.

The interviewers, Ofshe and Nurik, are smart, open minded, and speak to Fishman in his own language. They present as affable and non-threatening, asking lots of questions and appearing to follow Fishman’s lines of thought. They don’t interrupt, contradict, or interject. For his part, Fishman appears to have a fascinatingly complex, detailed and coherent worldview, yet it is completely off the wall. He describes how he became the true father of Jesus Christ, and how he eats his soups in alphabetical order “because I don’t believe in randomity.”

The court found Fishman to be sane, and he made a plea bargain, serving three years of a five-year sentence for wire fraud and money laundering. In October 2009, in connection with another fraud scheme, Fishman was sentenced to another 21 years in prison.

Listen to the episode here.