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Danny Masterson’s attorneys scheduled to enter not guilty plea for him today

[Masterson posted this nostalgic image on New Year’s Eve]

UPDATE: Danny Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau asked for a delay. The arraignment was rescheduled for January 20.

At the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles today, Scientology celebrity and That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of raping three different women. He is not required to be in court, and we’ll be interested to find out if his defense attorneys Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum enter a not guilty plea or find a way to delay the arraignment.

Masterson, 44, is accused of forcibly raping three women in incidents between 2001 and 2003, and if convicted under California’s strict “One Strike Law” for sexual assaults he’s facing 45 years to life in prison.

Masterson was initially charged on June 16, and it was the pandemic that initially slowed down the case and put off his original arraignment date to September 18. But then Masterson’s legal team delayed things further with a demurrer, followed by a petition for a writ after the demurrer failed, that puzzled our legal experts because they were so unlikely to prevail. Two of our observers wondered if the Masterson team was merely putting off the arraignment as long as possible with hopes that a new DA being sworn in might make a difference in the case that could benefit the actor.

George Gascón did create a seismic disturbance when he became LA’s new district attorney on December 7, acting on promises he’d made during his campaign by announcing that he would not be seeking the death penalty in new cases and other major reforms. But if Masterson thought the new DA was going to drop his prosecution, there’s no indication that will happen.

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Gascón did eliminate sentencing enhancements, and if you remember, we’ve brought up the idea that some things prosecutor Reinhold Mueller said in an October 19 hearing suggested that enhancements might be added in Masterson’s case, including the use of a firearm and “kidnapping in concert.”

Gascón’s new policy looked like it was going to eliminate that possibility, and could have been a significant break for Masterson. But then, after a public backlash, Gascón backtracked and said that sentencing enhancements would still be on the table for sexual assaults, and, presumably, could still become an issue for Masterson.

But it’s another major change that Gascón is pursuing that really has us wondering about its possible effect on this case. A centerpiece of Gascón’s campaign was that he wanted to eliminate cash bail and stop putting people in jail awaiting trial simply because they were of modest means.

It’s long practice in this country that wealthy people await trial at home, while poor people await trial behind bars. Gascón wants to level that playing field and make the determiner not how much money a suspect has, but what he or she is charged with. For non-violent offenders that would mean no custody awaiting trial, while violent perps would sit in jail awaiting their day in court.

Just yesterday the California Supreme Court held a hearing on the fate of cash bail in California, and press reports suggested that the court is leaning in the direction where Gascón wants to go.

So where does that leave Masterson, who is currently out of custody on a $3.3 million bond while waiting to be arraigned on violent felonies, three counts of forcible rape?

We’ve put in a request with the DA’s office for some clarification on this, but so far we’ve had no response.

We’d actually be surprised if Masterson wasn’t allowed to remain free on his $3.3 million bond, but at today’s arraignment Gascón certainly has an opportunity to make a very public show of his policy change by asking that bail be revoked.

Assuming his bail remains, Masterson still may have his freedom curtailed. He may have to turn in his passport, and the court can make other restrictions on his movement. Will he be subject to house arrest as he awaits trial? We hope to get you a report as soon as possible.

Once again we’re going to post some basic background information on the case, which the other media outlets seem really confused about, rarely explaining even the most basic facts about the women who say they were violently attacked by Masterson. The actor is accused of raping three different women between 2001 and 2003 who were each Scientologists at the time. 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…”]

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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 the DA’s office is 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.

 
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

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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
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
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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
Nov 16, 2020: Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing
Nov 19, 2020: Danny Masterson takes another expensive and futile swipe at his criminal charges
Dec 1, 2020: If the feds are sniffing around, they might look at Danny Masterson’s besties
Dec 4, 2020: WHOA! Scientology to Judge Kleifield: Wrecking human lives IS our ‘commerce’
Dec 18, 2020: Jane Doe #1’s own attorneys flubbed and ID’d her and her IP address in court documents
Dec 24, 2020: Letter shows Scientology gave Jane Doe #1 permission to sue Danny Masterson in 2004
Dec 31, 2020: MASTERSON ACCUSERS DENIED RIGHT TO TRIAL, FORCED TO ‘RELIGIOUS ARBITRATION’
Jan 2, 2021: Worst part in the Scientology ‘arbitration’ ruling? Danny Masterson can participate.

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Source Code

“Now, I have actually seen auditors get jealous of their preclears simply because the preclear did so well. And the auditor couldn’t rest till he dropped a vase on the preclear’s foot or upset the ashtray or did something. I know of one case — very, very remarkable — of a guy very highly connected, and in fact the source of trouble in the Wichita Foundation, who had a blind man with his sight on and who forcefully and violently kicked the foot of the bed on which he was auditing this blind man. You know, the sight came on and he kicked the foot of the bed. And the shock was considerable there and it took the blind man’s sight off. Nobody else processed the blind man, either. As far as I know he’s blind to this moment.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 6, 1955

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“WRITING: My writing hat has backlogged due to storms and ship reorganization. I am trying to get onto it. So much new data has been developed that the recording of if would be 10 full time jobs. Fortunately it is simple in structure.” — The Commodore, January 6, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“David Miscavige is likely to be swept up in a series of mass arrests in the coming weeks/months. There are 163,469 sealed indictments waiting to be unsealed. 12,275 politicians, CEOs, etc., have been quietly forced to resign. Ships are stationed on the east and west coasts, the military is ACTIVE, and Gitmo is waiting. Military Tribunals may try those charged. Q communicates on a military hardened website called 8kun. He communicates to the Anons. If you remember, the Anons made history calling out the Church of Scientology. The Anons ‘never forget’.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1996: A message was posted to AOL this week from Scientology’s Internet PR replacement (for Leisa Goodman), Debbie Blair. She objects to the current definition for Scientology in their online encyclopedia. “We are in touch with the respective editors of the hardcopy publications to obtain corrections, but do not want to wait until they republish before an accurate definition is published on-line. I have attached accurate definitions of Dianetics, Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard. I am also attaching entries from other publications which updated and corrected their definitions. I would appreciate if you would replace the existing, inaccurate definition of Scientology with the one enclosed: ‘Sci-en-tol-o-gy — adj. Trademark. Scientology applied religious philosophy. It is the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, universes and other life. Scientology is a ‘route’, a way, rather than a dissertation or an assertive body of knowledge. Through its drills and studies one may find the truth for himself. The technology is therefore not expounded as something to believe, but as something to do. The Scientology religion was founded in 1952 by L. Ron Hubbard. [Latin ‘scio’, knowing in the fullest sense of the word, and Greek ‘logos’, study. Literally ‘knowing how to know.’]’.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Scientologists have had a King Arthur fetish going back to day one. LRH moving to England buying a ‘castle,’ very expected and cliched to say the least. Knights of the Three Card Monte Table, here to save the world.”

 
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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 Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
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 writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
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 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.

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.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

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 on Netflix.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology’s ‘Purif’ detox gets the ‘Reckless Ben’ treatment in video debuting here today
[TWO years ago] Scientologists told to seize on Australian stabbing death as a recruiting opportunity
[THREE years ago] Scientology actress Jenna Elfman fully stoked by church’s new expansion push!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s disgusting secret: Young teens used to interrogate adults about their sex lives
[FIVE years ago] Scientology becoming a ghost town; ALSO: Illinois man arrested for threatening Miscavige
[SIX years ago] Ryan Hamilton makes it 26 lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab scheme
[SEVEN years ago] VIDEO LEAK: Scientology’s November IAS Gala, featuring a slimmed-down David Miscavige
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Finds a Better Use for ‘Dianetics’!
[NINE years ago] Scientology in Turmoil: Debbie Cook’s E-Mail, Annotated

 
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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 2,173 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,677 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,197 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,217 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,108 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,415 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,283 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,057 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,861 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,177 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,743 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,662 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,830 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,411 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,672 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,710 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,423 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,948 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 303 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,478 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,029 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,178 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,498 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,353 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,472 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,828 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,131 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,237 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,639 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,511 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,094 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,589 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,843 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,952 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 6, 2021 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, 15 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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