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With not guilty plea, Danny Masterson assigned a trial judge his prosecutor knows well

[Danny and the judge]

We were listening yesterday as Danny Masterson’s criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau entered a not guilty plea for the That ’70s Show actor at his arraignment on three counts of forcible rape, which carry a potential penalty of 45 years to life in prison. Masterson himself was not in court.

He was originally charged on June 16, but several different delays had pushed his arraignment to yesterday. Once again Mesereau objected to cameras being in the courtroom, saying that media reports of the case were tainting a potential jury pool, and that it was the media which was largely responsible for the case being charged to begin with.

Prosecutor Reinhold Mueller denied that, saying that the media had nothing to do with it. The court overruled Mesereau’s objection and agreed to have cameras present, but didn’t permit a live video stream of the matter. (We were still getting a live audio feed at that point thanks to the court’s new public access system.)

After entering the plea, the case was kicked upstairs to the courtroom of Judge Charlaine Olmedo, who becomes the trial judge for Masterson’s case. An initial date of March 24 was set for discussing when to calendar a preliminary hearing, a major step before trial itself.

Olmedo is a former deputy district attorney who in 2018 presided over a complex sexual assault case prosecuted by Mueller, resulting in the conviction of former drug rehab owner Christopher Bathum on 31 criminal counts and a 52-year prison sentence. It was a case that generated a lot of local media interest, and included allegations that Bathum had drugged and raped seven different women.

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Mueller can’t be disappointed that he’s landed in Olmedo’s court again. And Mesereau didn’t object.

The two sides will now begin working toward the preliminary hearing, when testimony is presented by Mueller in order to convince Olmedo that there’s enough evidence to warrant a trial. It will be our first opportunity to witness Masterson’s accusers testifying about what they went through and it should be harrowing based on what we already know about their experiences.

As we’ve said before, the DA’s office is under no obligation to offer Masterson a plea agreement, but if one comes our understanding is that an offer would only be proposed between arraignment and the preliminary hearing.

Mesereau has objected that because the alleged rapes of three women occurred between 2001 and 2003, the incidents are beyond the statute of limitations. But Mueller successfully argued in a previous hearing that because he is seeking a potential life sentence under California’s strict “One Strike” sexual assault law, he can bring the case at any time.

We are still waiting to learn details about what travel restrictions Masterson may be under after being arraigned. Previously, he had to turn in his firearms collection after the victims were put under a protective order by the court.

Meanwhile, a hearing had also been scheduled yesterday in the civil lawsuit brought by four of Masterson’s accusers. They had asked for an emergency hearing and hoped to put a stay on the case in order to protect the criminal prosecution.

On December 30, Judge Steven Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to force four of the five plaintiffs, the ones who were Scientologists, to take their complaints to Scientology’s internal brand of “religious arbitration.” And he also found that Masterson himself could participate in that proceeding.

His accusers argued that it would be a violation of their rights to be subjected to questioning in such a setting, since they’re under the protective order in the criminal case and because they enjoy further protection under “Marsy’s Law” as victims of sexual assault.

But Judge Steven Kleifield declined to hear their motion yesterday on an emergency basis, and ruled that they will have to wait until May to bring up their request for a stay. Kleifield saw no immediate danger in what the women are facing.

Both Scientology and Masterson’s attorneys argued in their oppositions to the emergency motion that at this point it’s not really up to Kleifield whether or not to stay the case, since he’s turned the case over to Scientology.

They both argued in separate briefs that if the plaintiffs were going to ask for a stay, they should have done it before Kleifield made his ruling on Scientology’s arbitration motions. And they both argued that what the plaintiffs were really doing was looking for another way to cancel Kleifield’s arbitration ruling.

Sure, Scientology and Masterson’s attorneys are doing their best to make Chrissie Carnell Bixler and the other women look unreasonable for objecting to Kleifield setting them up to be put into a room with their alleged rapist in a jackleg court martial put on by the vindictive organization that tried to prevent them from going to the police with their rape allegations to begin with.

How dare these women.

We understand that the case could be put on hold in another way. If the plaintiffs file a petition for a writ of mandate with the California appellate court they could ask for a stay and put the case on hold. And we expect that they might do that soon. (The legal team will probably do it sooner this time than they did for Valerie Haney, whose petition was denied because they waited too long to submit it.)

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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
Nov 16, 2020: Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing
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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

“We have only 476 special terms, most of which mean what they mean in English. That’s right, that’s the whole vocabulary, 474 of these items. I wish elementary physics could say as much. And with only knowledge of 24 of these items and how to handle these items, you can make the blind see. You could also bring the dead back to life. Well, you think I’m kidding. That’s no trick. It’s whether or not they want to be alive that’s the point. I remember one black man that was busy dying and so on, and I looked him over and I, all I had to say was the magic words, you know? He’d been drowned and he hadn’t been drowned very long. It was very easy you know? And I said so-and-so and so-and-so and I found out he was connected with enough woe in life that it was no wonder that he had busily drowned. I just asked his friend who was standing there, ‘This man lead a happy life?’ ‘Oh boss,’ he says, ‘Oh no, no he have an awful time, awful time.’ I said, OK, cart him away.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 21, 1961

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

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“Our M.O. Dr. Steve Jarvis has just had a 2 page spread article on Scientology in ‘GP,’ the Medical Doctors’ journal in the UK. It is a splendid article, pointing up Scn’s role in psychosomatic medicine. The magazine asked for an article, three MDs in Scn submitted them. Dr. Jarvis’s article won. Copies will be mailed to all parliaments. Coronet magazine in the US printed an article by me, preceding it with a SMERSH write up. However, the article calmly made nothing of the attack and reader opinion is that it will do us a lot of good. Say, I’m busy as all hell on half a hundred hats. What’s going on with the rest of you cats?” — The Commodore, January 21, 1969

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“Getting to that major goal, Clear, still stands as key for anyone who really calls themselves a Scientologist. So it still is for me, and I would need to focus on that, exclusively, if I still have a shot at it this lifetime (body age, 65 yrs!). If I don’t make it, I feel I still have enough awareness imbued, from the dedicated study and application of the Scn philosophy/ AXIOMS/The Factors, and lower level auditing, that, the ‘next’ chapter should, at least, be a little less confusing. My past lives (recalled,) have given me the certainty of returning for another round of games, in a future time and space.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1998: Us magazine carried an article on Scientologist Jenna Elfman this week. “It’s another late afternoon on Fox Stage 21, home of the hit show Dharma and Greg. Elfman is remarkably unsurprised at her own success. She’s genuinely warm, but you know instantly not to mess with her. It’s the quiet confidence of someone who sits in a charmed circle, or in her case, a square — and at the four corners are her husband, her parents who come to every taping of the show, her acting teacher & mentor, Milton Katselas, and the Church of Scientology, of which Elfman has been a member since 1991. It’s clear that Scientology is important to Elfman, and she’s perhaps it’s best representative. While Tom Cruise, John Travolta and indeed, Kirstie Alley, field questions about their religion with weary defensiveness. Elfman chats away happily about it. ‘I think the people that misunderstand the church have a button on flowing support,’ says Elfman, puffing on a cigarette, her last vice. ‘I’m not hostile or critical of anything until I have picked it up myself. I don’t let people talk shit to me about other people. Read a book if you want to know what it is, and if you’re not going to read the book, keep your mouth shut.’ Elfman fields concerns about Scientology with the ease of a world-class goalie. Its cost? ‘You get counseling. You pay for it. If you want to see a therapist, you pay for it.’ It’s appearance as a cult? ‘Hubbard was just a man; he never claimed to be godlike.’ The perception that people can’t leave the church of their own free will? ‘I’ve never tried to leave the church, so I don’t know’.”

 
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Random Howdy

“You’re nothing around here unless you’ve been corrected or admonished by The Proprietor at least once.”

 

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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 arraigned Jan 20. Next conf to set prelim, March 24.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to March 2.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 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: Status conference.
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 lets Diana Hubbard out of the compound again — what’s the occasion?
[TWO years ago] Scientology sells miracles, and we can’t get enough of them
[THREE years ago] Scientology front group targets unwitting indigenous people to spread its propaganda
[FOUR years ago] Scientology is still a fraud in France, but it gets some revenge against anti-cult group there
[FIVE years ago] When L. Ron Hubbard tried to convince the BBB that Scientology was raking it in
[SIX years ago] How Scientology responds to adversity: A classic example from its golden era
[SEVEN years ago] Where is Scientology keeping Barbara Cordova Oliver?
[EIGHT years ago] Isabella Cruise and Eddie Frencher Reunite After He Leaves Scientology’s “Sea Org”
[NINE years ago] Scientology Viscosity: Commenters of the Week!
[TWENTY TWO years ago] Picket Fencing (The Jeff Jacobsen story)

 
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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 2,188 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,692 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,212 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,232 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,123 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,430 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,298 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,072 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,876 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,192 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,758 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,677 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,845 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,426 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,687 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,725 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,438 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,963 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 318 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,493 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,044 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,193 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,513 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,368 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,487 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,843 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,146 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,252 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,654 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,526 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,109 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,604 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,858 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,967 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 21, 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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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