>> good evening. thank you for joining us. to many the church of scientology is known as much for famous follower as it is for its famous or infamous controversies. and they don't take criticism lightly. when former sigh ycientologist remini made comments in a public forum it set the stage for a showdown between a powerful organization and one of its highest profile defectors. dan harris has the story. >> going through a personal big change for me and my family. >> reporter: in behind the scenes moments from dancing with the stars, leah remini wearing sweat pants and hair back, fires a shot across the bow of the controversial church of scientology. >> the church is looking for me to fail so they can say to parishioners see what happens when you leave the church. they're waiting for me to fail. >> reporter: remini who starred in the hit sitcom "king of queens." >> i wanted to perform in the --
>> reporter: not only accused the church of wanting her to fail on dancing with the stars and spoke broadly about her experience in scientology. >> i was always so scared to be myself. we are used to everything that happens to ourselves is our fault. used to taking a lot of negativity on yourself. >> reporter: just the latest development in a remarkable story of personal and public faith which broke this past july. >> actress leah remini speaks out overnight about her dramatic decision to leave the church of scientology. >> reporter: when remini became perhaps the most high profile celebrity defector from the church. >> i think it is a privilege to call yourself a scientologist. something you have to earn. >> reporter: a church known all over the world for famous members, tom cruise, john travolta. remini whose mom was a devout believer joined the church of scientology at age 9 and briefly enrolled in the elite order.
for years as remini rose through the ranks in hollywood she was a proud public supporter of scientology. according to people close to remini her relationship with the church began to sour in 2006 at the wedding of tom cruise and katie holmes where remini we're told asked the head of the church, tom cruise's best man, where his wife was? she has not been seen publicly in many years making her current whereabuouts a soue of feverish speculation among critics. janet wrightman is the author of inside scientology. >> she was his wife, close adviser, integral part of every aspect of his life. so her absence has been quite noticed by particularly people who would have been in the upper echelons of the church. >> reporter: remini was we are told friend with shelly. here they are together at a scientology gala in 2005 in a
picture posted by journalist and scientology critic tony ortega. people close to remini say she was berated for asking about his wife. a rebuke that shocked her badly. the church publicly denied the story about remini confronting him at tom cruise's wedding. as for the whereabuouts of shely miscavage. after the wedding people close to remini say her relationship with the church only got worse. with her private concerns and questions, growing more and more intense, and until this summer when she and her family left scientology. at first, remini was tight-lipped about the departure only saying this to access hollywood. >> i'm good. i have my family. my real friend are behind me. and i think -- that says a lot. >> reporter: then in august, remini took her face-off with the church to a whole new level. filing a missing persons report
on shelly miscavage. hours after remini filed the report, the lapd told abc news the case is closed. the report that shelly was missing is unfounded. the church which had handled remini's departure gingerly released a statement saying this ill advised, ludicrous, self promotion and media inquiries it generated caused an inexcusable distraction for the lapd. the episode was nothing more than a publicity stunt for ms. remini. janet wrightman argue the church must see remini as a real challenge. >> oh, my gosh they're worried about her. leah remini believed in this. she feels betrayed. >> reporter: many who have left the church of scientology say it can be wrenching they include oscar winning screenwriter paul haggas who called remini brave. >> and debbie cook, who ran the
flagbase in clearwater florida. in court testimony in a now settled lawsuit with the church and also in this interview with "nightline," cook accused church leader david miscavage of being physically abusive. while he never hit her, he did order his secretary to do so. >> you are in a room with him he tells his secretary to slap you. >> yes. >> hard enough you fell down? >> yes. >> why did he ask her to do this? >> because he was displeased how i was answering a question -- it wasn't -- it wasn't what he wanted to hear in some way. >> reporter: the church says claims that miscavage was abusive are lies. david miscavage's own niece, jenna miscavige hill published "beyond belief" saying leaving the church means she was cut off
from friend and family. sound like leaving is difficult? >> it is. i have had people who have been my friends, friend my whole life. i can't talk to them. >> reporter: the church repeatedly denied members are forced to cut themselves off from former members. >> my friend leah remini. >> reporter: on ellen, leah remini made a similar claim. >> it's hard. we have lost friends that can no longer talk to us who are in the organization. >> that is the thing. when you leave the church. they can't talk to you or you can't talk to them or snug. >> correct. >> these are friends that we have had for dozens of years. but i have great friends, other friends that are not in the church. that have stood us. our family is stronger and together. that's all i can ask for. >> you have me. we're your friends. >> reporter: on "dancing with the stars" last night it became clear that for remini the wounds are still fresh. >> okay.
because you just started working on this. >> okay. okay. >> you are judging yourself. >> leah is hard on herself. this summer she had a difficult experience. to the degree it will affect her, i had no idea. >> what will this experience do? >> it will get me out of my head. out of beating myself up. out of these bad habits. >> reporter: she may think the church is rooting for her to fail. the judges loved remini's samba performance. >> 8. >> reporter: giving her solid 8s and a standing owe vae ining ov crowd and shot to compete next monday night. as for the church they issued a scathing statement saying. we know this may come as a surprise to some one as self absorbed as ms. remini but we could care less if she wins or loses on "dancing with the stars." for "nightline," dan harris in new york. ♪ >> thank you, dan. doesn't seem this fight is ending anytime soon based on her
impressive performance, leah remini may have a few more weeks to speak her mind on the show. >> next, terrorists being recruited in the american heartland. how are they doing it? hey america, even though she doesn't need them, cheryl burke is cha-cha-ing in depend silhouette briefs for charity, to prove that with soft fabric and waistband, the best protection looks, fits, and feels just like underwear. get a free sample and try for yourself.
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states. videos with the potential american jihadi in mind are all part of the cell. abc's brian ross investigates how they're doing it. >> reporter: after four days o terror, unrelenting terror -- [ gunfire ] >> reporter: kenyan troops were able to give the thumbs up, the westgate shopping mall in nigh ronigh -- nairobi had been secured from the terrorists. at a great price, the president said. >> i report with great sadness that 61 civilians lost their lives in the attack. six security officers, also made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the criminals. >> reporter: survivors tell stories of heroism.
a new video showed this man, crawling to help rescue a mother and her two children. then running in a crouch to safety. the terrorists seen in this photo challenged hostages to recite the koran saying they only wanted to kill non-muslims. this woman told abc news corresndent she tried to memorize a muslim prayer sent by a relative in hiding. >> i was able to mem rye orize case they found me. >> reporter: five terrorists were killed during the siege with the president saying attackers and civilians are buried under the rubble caused by explosion. >> three floors of the westgate mall collapsed and there are several bodies still trapped in the rubble including the terrorists. >> reporter: while the terrorists were ultimately defeated, the protracted worldwide attention on the attack may have been all they were after in the first place. >> this is a major success for them.
this was a mission to kill and maim at a very high level. and to receive the kind of attention that it has done. >> reporter: the group claiming responsibility came across the border into kenya from neighboring somalia. it is called al-shabaab, arabic for "the youth or the boys." started as a nationalistic guerrilla group, al-shabaab pledged allegiance to al qaeda and one of its most potent affiliates in the world. >> the fact they separated muslim and non-muslim, it is not madness, ideological terrorism. >> reporter: terrorism carried out with 21st century tools of social media. throughout the siege, they sent audio and written messages to reporters via twitter. a warning in arabic to day that kenya should pull its troops out of somalia or else. you have seen what you will
reap. which is only the beginning. this follow-up written message in english. rest assured, kenyans are in for a big surprise. is that the face of terrorism in 2013? >> actually, social media. youtube videos, tweets are part of terrorist organizations propaganda and part of, their operations. >> the former fbi agent -- awe when they do something like this they want a lot of people watching. >> reporter: the al-shabaab unit turns out videos, many aimed at americans featuring american recruits like this young man who supposedly came from minneapolis but was killed in fighting after recording this tape. >> if you guys only knew how much fun we have over here. this is the real disneyland. come here, join us. >> reporter: powerful word of mouth according to london's royal united services institute. >> from the group's perspective, these individual are useful they
help project their ideology on one hand and help bring funding and bring recruits. >> reporter: there have been more than 50 americans who have signed on as recruits to al shabaab according to u.s. officials. and the twin cities of minneapolis-st. paul have produced more than 20 of them. >> i think it certainly is surprising any time you find out middle america has become a hotbed for terrorist recruiting. >> reporter: officials say most of the twin cities recruits came from neighborhoods with somali refugees, resettled by the united states in the 1990s where leaders say many young men remained vulnerable and under recruitment. >> 15 days ago, two more young men disappeared. it is happening. >> reporter: one of the recruits to al shabaab from minneapolis later killed in somalia. >> i know young kids who are very vulnerable right now. i know recruits are talking to every day. taking them to dinner. taking them this.
engaging them. playing. >> from minneapolis, san diego to maine. prosecutors charged more than a young recruits supporting terrorism including some recruited to go to somalia by a man working as a janitor at a minneapolis mosque, now convicted. >> he was involved in assisting young men who were ultimately sent from minnesota to -- somalia to join al shabaab. he traveled to somalia and provided money they used to purchase weapons. >> community leaders have deplored al shabaab's efforts to target young men. >> we call on youth to shun, reject, to not be lulled into extremist groups like al shabaab. >> the fbi noknows of no credib threats. as concerns are raised that al
shabaab's recruits could bring home what they learned over there. >> what happened in nairobi could happen in any mall in the united states. the mall had more security than most malls in the united states. the fbi and homeland security's role is to keep people like this out of the united states. but once they get in they could do this kind of attack. >> along with the five dead terrorists, 11 suspects are in custody tonight. able. the kenyan president said his government does not yet know if any of the american recruits took part in the attack on the west gate mall. dan. >> brian. thank you for the report. next, a jury will soon offer a final verdict on who is to blame for michael jackson's death. for his family, the answer could be worth over a billion dollars.
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administering powerful drug that led to his overdose. jackson's family and two oldest kids say the concert promoter aeg, is also to blame. the potentially $1.5 billion question in the civil case, who should be responsible for what the doctor ordered? did aeg hire dr. murray or influence him. they argue only jackson was calling the shots. with the king of pop days away from a world tour when he died, the jackson family says aeg put his health on the back burner to make sure he could perform. the judge threw out all the other claims. it comes done to these final arguments. michael's children, paris and prince have struggled without their dad. prince testified about the ongoing pain of the loss and paris even attempted suicide according to her mother. whatever the jury decide. chances are good the verdict will be appealed and the fight will continue.
thank you for watching abc news. and "world news now" is coming up with overnight breaking news. join me for "good morning america" tomorrow and my new segment cal "omg! insider," the top trending stories you need t know. >> kind of putting everything in my own personal life aside. o bleep ]. >> miley's foam finger is back. >> her new video and master plan as she goes topless for "rolling tátáhp#ter robin thicke. >> she says nobody says anything about rob>> [cke grinding up on this 20-year-old girl.u! then -- in thi >> she's been a victim of financial crises. >> lindsay's mom rolls up into court in a rolls royce and dodges time for drunk driving. >> the chardonnay berry doesn't fall far from the tree. "scandal" cast members rally around kerry washington. >> after her emmy loss, who is slamming the ceremony. >> i didn't see any diversity in the emmys at all. i was really disappointed. new "ncis."
inside tonight's new fall shows. >> "omg! insider." >> meet the goldbergs. and a jilted girlfriend's big, fat revenge. >> this is my momd you're going to let me have it. now where yahoo! and broadcast meet for 24/7 access to celebrity news, "omg! insider." >> miley finally sent anas her calculated media mayhem continues. hi, everyone. i'm thea andrews. >> i'm kevin frazier. i have two words -- my bad. no, really.peaks >> for what? >> my bad for getting sucked into the vortex of outrage that's become miley mania. en just whatha she wanted. we're all talking about her. finally miley is talking back and getting just as raunchy as ever. >> i don't think about anything ots gottan like what i am working on at that moment. >> the girl knows how to create moments that keep us talking.heh ♪ the foam finger is back. miley appears to be smoking something questionable and
gyrating in "23," a video track for her alleged boyfriend, mike will, the producer of her new album "bangers." ♪ >> i never really had to sacrifice for my career before. and i've had to a little bit with this record. just kind ofng everything that's going on in like my own personal life aside. >> miley also tweeting seemingly naked pics of herself twerking puttiwith a monkey on her back straddling a furry red mascot, holding a baby wallaby, and she's also going topless on the cover of "rolling stone" magazine on stands friday. >> isn't miley cyrus this genius media manipulator? >> one of the real takeaways from this story is that as much as she seems like she's out o control, she really is in control of all of this stuff. >> a look inside the genius of miley's master plan. >> you might as well make them talk for like two weeks rather than two seconds. >> let's take you back to the vma twerk fest with robin thicke.f