A Thurston Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order to JZK, Inc., last Thursday prohibiting Virginia Coverdale and other ex Ramtha School of Enlightenment students from posting RSE videos online.
Judge James J. Dixon issued the order Nov. 1.
During the hearing, lawyers for JZK, Inc., and Coverdale argued whether the video postings violated contracts signed by RSE students, or represent constitutionally-protected free speech.
The order addresses videos posted by Coverdale and other former RSE students who are unnamed in court documents.
The videos show RSE founder JZ Knight, purportedly while channeling Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old warrior spirit from the lost content of Lemuria, making disparaging statements about gays, Catholics, Jews and Mexicans.
The first video posted by Coverdale included footage from a candidate forum held at RSE. It was attended by Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, who later gave up donations from the channeler and denounced Knight for offensive comments revealed in subsequent videos.
Other videos were posted by former RSE students with a group called “Enlighten Me Free.”
Some of the videos alleged RSE committed health, safety and fire code violations.
Other videos were posted online by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think-tank.
In one of the videos, Knight decries Mexicans who “just breed like (expletive) rabbits,” and remarks, “they’re poison.”
In another, Knight comments that gay men were once Catholic women.
Knight even criticizes organic farmers, saying she has yet to see a good looking one in person.
“They have rotting teeth, have a lot of (frows) on their face … they need a whole facelift,” Knight says.
Her remarks are greeted by peels of laughter from the audience.
Knight, who lives just outside Yelm city limits, donated money to several Democratic candidates’ campaigns, prompting most of them to donate the money to charity after the videos were posted.
Coverdale, Knight supporters claim, is a woman scorned. They say she had an affair with Knight’s former lover and was later dumped by him.
They also argue Coverdale is being used by Republicans to damage Democratic candidates supported by Knight.
JZK, Inc.’s lawyers told the judge that the video postings violate a contract signed by RSE students in which they agree not to copy or distribute RSE materials.
Knight supporters and RSE officials released a statement from Coverdale’s brother in which he says his sister is motivated by revenge.
According to court documents, Dixon emphasized that the purpose of the court hearing was not to decide the merits of the case.
Dixon said he expects the case “will be hotly litigated and contested and argued by very competent, capable lawyers from both sides, and perhaps also from sides that have yet to weigh in, and that this case will not resolve any time in the immediate future,” according to court transcripts.
The temporary injunction “maintains the status quo” until the case can be fully resolved and all sides have had adequate and ample opportunity to be heard, present evidence and argue the law, Dixon said.
Coverdale’s lawyer, Shawn Newman, said his client did not receive the videos from the school, but rather from an anonymous source.
The school’s contract with students has “a very broad” definition, pointing to a passage that says, “Anything you believe you received from Ramtha, whether in a dream, a vision, or from some disciple, or any other source, you cannot communicate,” said Newman.
“If you think about it, what about these fire safety and health violations?” Newman asked.
“Would that be — should the court allow this multimillion dollar for-profit entity to come in and gag people that are reporting legitimate violations, not only of health, safety and fire violations, but employment security issues and things like that?”
JZK, Inc.’s goal is to “shut down a whistle-blower who has the guts to point out problems at the school,” Newman said, according to court records.
In response, JZK, Inc. lawyer Jeffrey Grant pointed out that the contract was signed by thousands of people and has “never been challenged, never been questioned, has never been tipped over.”
He said the company is trying to protect the school’s information, not limit Coverdale’s freedom of speech.
“She can continue to say what she wants to say,” Grant said. “What she can’t do is use the material that has come from the school.”
In regard to the passage of the contract referencing students’ dreams, Grant said, “We’re not talking about dreams here. We’re talking about tactile, actual documents and web material and video that has been released.”
“This is tangible information and tangible product that we’re trying to stop. This is where the agreement comes into play in this particular situation.”
Grant argued the injunction was needed to stop continued dissemination of RSE materials.
He said he thinks “the record is clear that the defendant continues to do that through the use of the electronic voices that she’s been able to land on.”
“I mean, we don’t really know exactly what it is that she has and what she intends to release. We know that she’s disseminated information that’s covered by the agreement that she promised not to distribute. We know that she claims to have more and wants to distribute it, and we are trying to stop that.”
Dixon’s order prohibits the defendants from reproducing or distributing RSE materials and requires them to preserve and protect all hard copies and electronic data regarding to JZK, Inc.’s allegations.
The defendants are slated to appear before Dixon 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, to show cause why an order granting preliminary injunction should not be entered, said court documents.
A standby hearing is 1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19.
Newman said the standby hearing is scheduled because Dixon has a trial scheduled for Nov. 14 and may not be available on that date.