Travolta flies out to dodge trial questions

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The Independent Online
THE ACTOR and scientologist John Travolta has cut short a visit to Paris apparently because he feared he might be called to give evidence in the trial of seven French members of the Church of Scientology in Marseilles.

Mr Travolta flew back to Los Angeles in a private plane on Wednesday, cancelling several television and newspaper interviews that had been set up to promote the French opening of his movie, The General's Daughter. Members of his entourage told the French news agency, Agence France Presse, that Travolta feared that he might be forced to give evidence at the fraud trial of seven French Scientologists. The judgment on the seven, accused of claiming sums of up to pounds 15,000 for bogus treatment, has been delayed until 15 November.

The prosecution asked for a three-year prison sentence against Xavier Delamare, founder of Scientological treatment centres, and for two-year sentences against the others.

Defence lawyers argued that the trial betrayed the religious intolerance of the French state. But the prosecution said the case had nothing to do with Scientology, and instead was a straightforward case of fraud.