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Can Danny Masterson’s attorneys delay his arraignment on rape charges again today?

[Danny Masterson’s attorneys, Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum]

[UPDATE: Masterson’s attorneys convinced the court that he’s entitled to more discovery before arraignment, and so Judge Sam Ohta moved the arraignment to January 6.]

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed rape charges against Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on June 16, and here it is November and the That ’70s Show actor still hasn’t been arraigned or entered a plea.

The Covid pandemic is part of the reason things are taking so long, but also Masterson is paying for high-dollar lawyering from legendary criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau, and so the case has been delayed in unusual ways. The arraignment was first scheduled for September 18, but that morning Mesereau filed a “demurrer” on Masterson’s behalf challenging the legality of the case.

Demurrers are a kind of legal filing and they’re fairly common in civil lawsuits. But we’re still hearing from legal observers who say they’ve never seen a demurrer filed in order to challenge a criminal arraignment. Most likely that’s because most people facing criminal charges don’t have the money to pay for a longshot delaying tactic before they’ve even entered a plea.


The demurrer was filed with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Miguel Espinoza, but it was then denied on October 19 in another courtroom by Judge Eleanor J. Hunter. The arraignment today is scheduled for yet another courtroom at Los Angeles Superior Court, but may move one or more times before the day is done. And at this point, we won’t be surprised if Mesereau finds some other surprise for putting things off yet again. (At the last hearing, attorney Sharon Appelbaum confirmed with Judge Hunter that Masterson would not have to be at this arraignment, and so we don’t expect the actor to be in court today.)

Why keep putting off an arraignment? Well, one of the consequences Masterson faces after being formally arraigned is that the court can put limits on his freedom. His passport may be taken from him, and his movements restricted.

We pointed out on the day of the last hearing, when his demurrer was denied on October 19, that he had posted a photo from the Grand Tetons in Wyoming the day before at his Instagram account. Last week he posted a snapshot of himself with his wife Bijou Phillips, also from Wyoming. But if he enters a not guilty plea today, his wings may be seriously clipped.

We’re interested in getting those details and we’ll have a correspondent on the scene.

For those new to the case, we’ll provide again a short overview of the allegations and links to our previous coverage:

Masterson is accused of raping three different women between 2001 and 2003 who were each Scientologists at the time. We’ve been reporting on these incidents since we first broke the news that the LAPD was investigating them in 2017, and we have a lot of background on their cases and why things have taken so long to get to this point. Here’s a brief breakdown on the individual cases.

Victim A (Chrissie Carnell Bixler)

[From DA Jackie Lacey’s June 17 press release: “The defendant is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, according to the complaint.”] Chrissie Carnell dated Masterson for six years but then broke up with him after, she says, he raped her anally while she was unconscious in 2001. She reported the incident to the church at the time, which encouraged her not to take her allegations to law enforcement. In 2016 she learned for the first time that there were other women who had allegations against Masterson, and so she decided, with two of them, to approach the LAPD. She didn’t plan on making her name public, but when we broke the news of the investigation in March 2017, Masterson’s publicist Jenni Weinman attacked her by name. Most media redacted the name, but a few didn’t, and Chrissie felt at that point that she had no choice but to go public. Since then she’s been outspoken about Masterson and appeared on the final episode of Leah Remini’s A&E series “Scientology and the Aftermath” which is now on Netflix. In August 2019, Chrissie, along with three other victims, filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology over the harassment they say they’ve been through for coming forward. She was also joined as a plaintiff by her husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and the two of them talked to us about the surveillance they’ve been subjected to, which they say has included the death of two of their dogs.

Victim B (‘Jane Doe 1’ in the civil lawsuit)

[Lacey’s press release: “In April 2003, Masterson allegedly raped a 28-year-old woman…”]
Unlike the others, the woman we’re calling Victim B overcame Scientology’s objections and did report her incident to the LAPD at the time. She was a friend of Masterson’s but they were not dating when she attended a party at his house in April 2003. Late that night, she began to feel suspiciously drowsy after a single drink the actor brought her, and he tossed her in his backyard jacuzzi, then carried her up to his upstairs room. In and out of consciousness, she came to and realized that he was raping her. When she tried to push him away, she alleges that he choked her and brandished a firearm. When she complained to the church, it put her through months of bizarre counseling (known as “auditing” in Scientology) asking her to examine her past lives to find what evil things she had done in earlier centuries that would cause her to be a victim in this lifetime. The counseling cost her about $15,000 and was designed to keep her from going to the police, but she defied her “handlers” and went to the LAPD in June 2004. Scientology responded by submitting affidavits from church members calling her a liar, and the police closed the case, telling Victim B that they couldn’t continue it without other victims coming forward. When her case was re-opened in 2016 after Chrissie Carnell Bixler and Victim C came forward, the police department found that the reports from the 2004 investigation had mysteriously disappeared, the Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali reported. After the original LAPD investigation was closed in 2004, a church attorney brought Victim B a hand-written letter of apology from Masterson and asked her to sign a non-disclosure agreement so she would never make her allegations public. Under pressure from the church, which threatened to “declare” her unless she complied, she signed the agreement and was paid in the low six figures. Key evidence bolstering Victim B’s case is documentation by her own mother which included correspondence with the church at the time, including her complaints to Scientology leader David Miscavige, proof that he was aware of the allegations and how the church was handling them.

Victim C (‘Jane Doe 2’ in the civil lawsuit)

[Lacey’s press release: “…and sometime between October and December of that year he is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman who he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home.”]
Like Victim B, Victim C was someone who had known Masterson but was not dating him when she accepted his invitation and went to his house in late 2003. She told us what happened in an interview. Key evidence in Victim C’s case is that a veteran actress (we’re not naming her) told us that Victim C recounted these details to her at the time, in 2003, and that the details of her allegations have never changed.


Lacey decided to file charges based on the allegations of these three women, and she’s seeking a penalty of 45 years to life. But in the same press release she said that she was not seeking charges on the allegations of two other women. One of these two women is Bobette Riales, who is among the four women suing Masterson, and her allegations are from 2003. In a charge evaluation worksheet, the DA’s office explains that the fifth woman’s allegations were from 1996 and sound very consistent with the other cases: “Victim-2 and the suspect are acquaintances. Victim-2 alleges the suspect sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions while unconscious, once in his home and subsequently in her home. The alleged offenses are beyond the statute of limitations for prosecution.”

We previously reported that seven women in total came forward to the LAPD, even if Lacey only made reference to five in her press release.

Masterson has maintained his innocence and has called the civil lawsuit a publicity stunt.


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
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
Jan 22, 2020: Cedric Bixler-Zavala blames Scientology for poisoned dog he had to put down yesterday
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 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


Source Code

“I, one time, asked a bunch of mothers why they didn’t shorten the school hours and so forth and make it a little bit easier on the kids and so forth. And they were shocked. And I very carefully cross-questioned them and discovered that uniformly these ladies had no idea whatsoever of their child being educated — that there was any advantage whatsoever in learning how to read or write or do things in school, but boy, you sure had a lot of free time there with no kids underfoot! Now, that’s a brutal statement, but that’s why they put the kids in school; school is a wonderful method. These people, by the way, had children in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth grades. And they were — they were flabbergasted that I would be interested in whether or, what the child was being taught and what good it was doing the child.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 2, 1953


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The answer you’re looking for is Incident 2 programming. This planet dodged a future of unimaginable darkness when that Whole Track SP Clinton lost to Trump. It was literally the only chance for a miracle. Now the satanists who have controlled Earth for millennia are totally fucked. Be thankful you are here to witness this event, the liberation of a prison planet.”


Past is Prologue

1999: Bob Minton reported that Scientology has been moving against a new organization being organized in Clearwater, Florida, now known as the Lisa McPherson trust. “Bennetta Slaughter, the AMC boss of Lisa McPherson who was in fact THE person most responsible for destroying Lisa, incorporated The Lisa Foundation and The Lisa McPherson Foundation in Florida the day before the incorporation papers filed by Ken Dandar landed at the Secretary of State Office in Florida. It now looks as though the Estate of Lisa McPherson will have to file a lawsuit against Benetta Slaughter to rightfully reclaim its property.”



Random Howdy

“Miscavige became Emperor through the Hubbard-approved Roman rules of ascension, which he achieved by his control of the Praetorian guard of the Sea Org, the CMO. Once becoming Caesar, how could he smash his name into the history books of his hermit kingdom? He can’t add to the ‘tech’ so all that is left for him to do is BUILD BUILD BUILD. It’s all about the ruinous runt’s ego.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to November 2.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing set for October 29 in White Plains, NY delayed to January.
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 denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Nov 6 (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.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


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.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now at Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] VIDEO LEAK: Late-stage Scientology is even more depressing than we thought
[TWO years ago] Freewinds, part 3: How the cruise ship fits Scientology’s methods of obfuscation and lies
[THREE years ago] Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
[FOUR years ago] What the first trailer for Leah Remini’s Scientology series tells us about her show
[FIVE years ago] Chapter by chapter, the best parts of Leah Remini’s book ‘Troublemaker’
[SIX years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology is finger lickin’ good!
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack Answers The Question: How Do Smart People Fall for Scientology?
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology on the High Seas: The Final Dispatches
[NINE years ago] Scientology Leader David Miscavige Fed Gourmet Meals Every Few Hours: Australian TV
[ELEVEN years ago] Proof that Scientology Works!


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 2,108 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,612 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,132 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,152 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,043 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,350 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,218 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,992 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,796 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,112 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,678 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,597 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,765 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,346 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,607 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,645 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,358 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,883 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,413 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,964 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,113 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,433 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,288 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,407 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,763 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,066 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,172 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,574 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,446 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,029 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,524 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,778 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,887 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 2, 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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