Tom Cruise's lawyer and close friend has dismissed claims the actor is now the number two in command in the Church Of Scientology.

Bert Fields described the allegations in Andrew Morton's biography of the Top Gun star as "a bunch of lies" and said Cruise has no intention of reading the book.

According to the Mail on Sunday the book claims Cruise is consulted by Scientology leader David Miscavige on "every aspect of planning and policy" and is altering his career to suit the church's aims.

Morton says Cruise and Miscavige are so close that the leader joined the actor on his honeymoon with new wife Katie Holmes.

One of the most outlandish claims in the biography is that some fanatical Scientologists believe Cruise's daughter Suri is actually the result of a sperm donation by Scientology's dead founder, L Ron Hubbard.

"Morton should be ashamed of himself," Fields told the Mail on Sunday in an interview.

"It's a boring, poorly researched book by a man who never talked to anyone involved in Tom Cruise's life or anyone close to him."

Morton's biography is not being published in the UK and Scientology lawyers are reported to be drawing up a lawsuit seeking $50 million (£25.3 million) in compensation from its publishers.

07/01/2008 13:04:51