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What Danny Masterson’s prosecutor revealed about the case in yesterday’s hearing

[Danny Masterson at his Sept 18 appearance, prosecutor Reinhold Mueller yesterday]

We know that the Danny Masterson affair is a complex one, and we’re doing our best to keep you up on all of its complex details.

Masterson, a Scientologist, is facing 45 years to life in prison for raping three women who were Scientologists at the time they were attacked but they aren’t Scientologists today. All three of the women are also suing Masterson in civil court along with two other people, one of whom was a Scientologist and one who wasn’t. Those five plaintiffs are also suing the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige, but Miscavige is still evading service of the lawsuit more than a year after it was filed.

Two weeks ago Danny’s “demurrer” was overruled in civil court, and this week his other demurrer was overruled in criminal court. Next week four of the five plaintiffs in the lawsuit are facing the chance of being forced into Scientology’s internal “religious arbitration” and derailing a lawsuit that’s about to be put on ice anyway. And on November 2 Danny will be arraigned on the criminal charges but he won’t actually be in court when it happens.

It’s all very confusing, we know.

But we wanted to make sure that some very interesting details which happened in yesterday’s hearing do not get overlooked, because Masterson’s prosecutor dropped some major hints about where the criminal case will be going.

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Yesterday, Judge Miguel Espinoza, whose court handles arraignments, sent the parties to the court of Judge Eleanor J. Hunter to deal with the demurrer that Masterson filed last month.

We’ve pointed out that it’s unusual for a criminal defendant to file a demurrer at this point, before he’s even formally arraigned and has entered a plea. And the reason that defendants don’t often do this is because it costs a heckuva lot of money. Danny probably paid tens of thousands of dollars to his legal team of Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum to produce the document, which objected to the criminal charges by saying it had taken prosecutors too long to bring charges for incidents that happened between 2001 and 2003.

In yesterday’s hearing, Appelbaum cited case law and challenged the idea that Masterson should face charges on incidents that took place so long ago. And while she was doing it, she brought up the point that no aggravating factors are being alleged at this point. Danny is simply being prosecuted under California’s “One Strike Law” and facing a potential life sentence because there are multiple victims.

When it was his turn to respond, Masterson’s prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, took apart Appelbaum’s analysis of the law and reiterated what he’d said in court filings, that it was clear the DA could bring charges at any time against someone if the potential penalty was life in prison. And because of the multiple victims, Danny is facing a potential life sentence under the strict One Strike law, also known as “667.61.”

But then, Mueller threw in something that really made us sit up and take notice as we reviewed video of the hearing. Here’s what he said…

Mueller: Defense counsel is saying that there’s nothing additional, or that we do not have to, People didn’t have to prove anything additional other than that there were additional victims. So in other words other aggravating factors under the 667.61 would be if there was tying or binding or victims was, were drugged or there was a firearm use, we would have to prove that in fact there was a firearm used or that there was tying and binding. Well, we do have to prove something here we have to prove that there were additional victims that were raped. That’s our burden of proof. So to say that we have nothing additional to prove it’s just, it’s not, it’s a little disingenuous.

(Emphasis ours.) If the media missed that message from Mueller yesterday, we assume that Mesereau and Appelbaum did not.

In our reporting of this case since 2017, we’ve told you about interviews we’ve done with witnesses and we’ve cited some of those factors: That the woman we refer to as Victim B (Jane Doe #1 in the civil case) alleges that when she fought back against Masterson as she was being raped, he brandished a firearm. And that a witness there that night at Danny’s Hollywood Hills home saw Masterson and a friend dragging Victim B back upstairs to Danny’s room when she was trying to get away.

And as for drugging, we’ve reported that each of Masterson’s victims reported being incapacitated in one form or another. Again, Victim B’s testimony is most clear on this point.

Let us hazard a translation of what Mueller told Danny Masterson in yesterday’s hearing.

“Danny, after you enter your not guilty plea and we move on to a preliminary hearing, I only have to prove that we have evidence that you raped two or more women. And that’s all. But after we get past that prelim, then we can start adding aggravating factors, factors that you know we know about, like brandishing a firearm, drugging women, and kidnapping in concert with your best pal at the party. And when we do, you’re going to wish you were only facing 45 years to life.”

And why would Mueller want to send such a message at this point? Let’s keep in mind that it’s at this stage, after the arraignment on November 2 and before the preliminary hearing, that the DA would raise the possibility of a deal, perhaps something in the 15 to 20 years range. And if Danny doesn’t take it, then the aggravating factors come on, and Masterson will be looking at some really serious time as the case moves to an actual trial.

Another way to think of this is, Mueller takes pretty much the opposite approach that the attorneys representing these women in the civil lawsuit have adopted. In that case, the Philly dream team led with a lot of noise and bluster, threatening to overwhelm the Church of Scientology with a slew of lawsuits and the best attorneys in the land. And ever since then, they’ve been playing defense as two of their three cases have been derailed or dismissed, and the many other lawsuits they promised never materialized.

Mueller instead takes the opposite tack, coolly and competently leading with a solid but modest opening salvo — rape charges regarding three women (remember, seven women came forward to the LAPD) — and with a hint yesterday that things are going to get a lot nastier for Danny as this case progresses.

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SOME OF OUR PAST REPORTING ON THE MASTERSON CASE

March 3, 2017: LAPD probing Scientology and Danny Masterson for multiple rapes, cover-up
March 8, 2017: Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress
March 11, 2017: Scientology made Danny Masterson’s Victim B search past lives to explain being raped
May 9, 2017: Masterson hires Michael Jackson criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau in rape probe
Nov 2, 2017: Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
Nov 26, 2017: EXCLUSIVE: Scientology interrogated Danny Masterson and accuser, didn’t notify LAPD
Feb 14, 2018: PROSECUTORS PREPARE CHARGES CARRYING LIFE SENTENCE FOR DANNY MASTERSON
Apr 27, 2018: Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
July 8, 2018: Masterson witness fears for safety as investigation drags on and on
Nov 30, 2018: LEAH REMINI: Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey, do your job already
Aug 14, 2019: RAPE ACCUSERS SUE DANNY MASTERSON, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, AND ITS LEADER
Jan 22, 2020: Cedric Bixler-Zavala blames Scientology for poisoned dog he had to put down yesterday

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Feb 3, 2020: Here’s Scientology actor Danny Masterson’s legal response to his rape accusers
Feb 10, 2020: Another dog poisoned: Bobette Riales says harassment worse since suing Scientology
Feb 26, 2020: SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
Feb 29, 2020: Amended complaint filed against Danny Masterson with new stalking allegations
March 14, 2020: Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
May 4, 2020: Masterson: Drop me from Scientology lawsuit if the ‘Jane Does’ won’t name themselves
June 17, 2020: SCIENTOLOGY CELEB DANNY MASTERSON CHARGED ON MULTIPLE RAPE ALLEGATIONS
June 19, 2020: Records show that Danny Masterson is a woeful Scientologist — would he turn on the church?
June 23: 2020: The key thing about Danny Masterson’s ‘DJ Donkey Punch’ nick is why he stopped using it
Sept 30, 2020: Could Danny Masterson’s odd legal fight over his Hollywood house endanger his freedom?
Oct 11, 2020: Danny Masterson asks to halt civil lawsuit while criminal case is ongoing, as expected
Oct 12, 2020: Bijou Phillips on her husband Danny Masterson: A macho ‘Strong Island’ guy
Oct 16, 2020: Danny Masterson ‘accidentally’ outs Jane Doe accuser after judge told him not to

 

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Leah Remini podcast: Listener questions

Leah and Mike take listener questions this week and answer that eternal question we’ve been hearing now for years: What’s with Leah’s fingernails?

Says Mike: “We asked you for questions and you came through! Many more than we could possibly answer in a single episode. So, we will no doubt do more of these. Your question may have made the list this week. We covered a broad range of topics, from scientologists coming back after death, to the 411 on Leah’s fingernails.”

Here’s the episode…

 

 
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SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks, the series axed by Seven News

In July the Australian Seven News network cancelled at the last minute a ten-part nightly news in-depth investigation of the Church of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks operations. All ten episodes have now been leaked to the Internet, and we’ve collected all ten links in one place. Judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.

 
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SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.

 
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Source Code

“The whole theory of psychotherapy fell down and went boom the moment we discovered that we were not treating the first dynamic when we were running engrams. Psychotherapy went by the boards. It died. It turned up its heels, and it has now even ceased to give an odor.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 20, 1954

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“The invalidation and refusal to declare the Clear state is one of the most evil crimes I can think of. As can be seen, it causes no end of difficulties, no matter how you look at it. In fact, it can, on occasion, even be lethal. Fortunately, we have a good crew out here who know what they are doing with regard to the state, and how to sort it all out. The Tech is even able to handle situations where it’s been abused or incorrectly applied. Pretty nifty!”

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Past is Prologue

1996: Scientology this week purchased the assets of the Cult Awareness Network at an auction in federal court. The mailing lists and other sensitive files were apparently not sold. “The Cult Awareness Network, Inc.’s service mark and trademark rights, including rights to the use of the CAN stylized logo, were sold as part of a $20,000.00 purchase of CAN assets in the federal bankruptcy court. Steven Hayes, of the law firm of Bowles & Hayes, bought the assets. The purchase becomes final in seven days. Mr. Hayes will control the service mark and trademark rights at that time. It not clear yet whether Mr. Hayes, or others associated with him, could take action against organizations using the words ‘Cult Awareness Network’ in their name without his permission, or merely for the stylized CAN/Cult Awareness Network logo that appeared in the past on CAN’s literature.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Hubbard was like 12 when he was in Asia. The only thing he was studying was jerking off.”

 
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Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Demurrer filed by Masterson, arraignment delayed to November 2.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 29 in White Plains, NY. Jeffrey’s is set for October 24.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for a writ of mandate filed with Cal 2nd Appellate District, Sept 10.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Oct 26 (motions to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Oct 19: Feshbachs still considering further appellate relief.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.

 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientologist anti-vaxx group fundraises on the idea its big California loss was a win
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s astounding pre-history in a new book you really need to read
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s Flag Building brain injury: In Clearwater, it’s déjà vu all over again
[FOUR years ago] Chris Shelton: What Louis Theroux missed about the Scientology experience in his film
[FIVE years ago] Two years after Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ debuted, it’s still a flop
[SIX years ago] Scientology is turning Larry Hagman’s house into a drunk tank for celebs
[SEVEN years ago] Next in the Garcia Fraud Lawsuit: Scientology Is Asked to Explain Its Arbitration System
[EIGHT years ago] 35-Year Scientologist Steve Poore Says Church Leader David Miscavige is “Scared to His Core”
[NINE years ago] Jesse Prince Back From the Brink; Scientology Petition Takes Off: It’s The Thursday Stats Roundup!

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,095 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,599 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,119 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,139 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,030 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,337 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,205 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,979 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,783 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,099 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,665 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,584 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,752 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,333 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,594 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,632 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,345 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,870 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,400 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,960 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,100 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,420 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,275 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,394 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,750 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,053 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,159 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,561 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,433 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,016 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,511 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,765 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,874 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 20, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 14 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele

 

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