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Confirmed: Danny Masterson adds OJ Dream Team lawyer to his defense

[Defense attorneys Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen]

The last time Danny Masterson’s attorneys Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum were in court for a scheduled hearing, on November 10, we reported that one of our readers spotted them sitting down in the cafeteria of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Courts building, and there were two additional people with them.

Our reader recognized one of them, Los Angeles attorney Shawn Holley, who is well known for handling famous clients like Snoop Dogg and Kim Kardashian, and she was even an original member of OJ Simpson’s Dream Team in the 1990s.

We have now received confirmation from the court that Holley has joined Danny Masterson’s defense team, along with another well known LA lawyer, Philip Cohen, who was the fourth person at that cafeteria table.



And another piece of news from the court clerk: Masterson’s attorney Sharon Appelbaum, who was very pregnant during some of the recent hearings, has given birth. So we congratulate mom and hope she gets some time away from the case for those first precious weeks.

At that court date, November 10, the defense asked for a continuation and received it, moving back to February 8 something called a 995 hearing. In the 995 motion, Masterson’s team is asking Judge Ronald Cohen to dismiss the case based on the idea that there was not sufficient evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, held by Judge Charlaine Olmedo in May.

In their moving papers, the Masterson team is reiterating some of the same arguments that they made in May, trying to portray the three women victims as liars who have coordinated and embellished their accounts of being raped by Masterson in incidents between 2001 and 2003.

But they’re also arguing that Judge Olmedo should not have allowed a discussion of Scientology’s policies in the preliminary hearing, and they’re accusing the prosecution of being biased against Masterson’s church.

In opposition papers, Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller points out that Masterson’s briefs have been filled with references to Scientology. And we also remember quite well that it was Mesereau who used a Scientology book during cross-examination at the hearing (and with disastrous results).

One of the things we’ll be interested to see is whether the addition of Holley and Cohen brings a different kind of focus to Masterson’s defense strategy. So far, we’ve been fairly stunned to see the ways in which Mesereau and Appelbaum have acted as if David Miscavige was their client instead of Masterson. But with the 995 hearing a longshot, and an August 29 date now firmly set for a criminal trial, perhaps it was time to stop messing around with Scientology and get serious about finding their celebrity client a more traditional defense that will, primarily, go after the victims and question their credibility.

As for paying for his dream team, now doubled in size, Masterson is looking at some serious legal bills. His Hollywood Hills home and its $7 million price tag is just now passing 60 days under contract and still no indication that the sale is final. We can imagine that it’s a complex transaction, especially when he’s asking so much in a neighborhood where the sales have been more like $2 million. Perhaps some of our real estate savvy readers can weigh in on this.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Sure, Scientology hasn’t opened a new org in a couple of years, thanks to the pandemic, but the pressure is still on members to come up with even more cash for more new “Ideal Orgs.” Here’s the latest hype email to land in their inboxes…


Dear All,

Two weeks ago we sent out a one-question survey to determine the best day to hold an event to kick off the new year for an All-Ideal East US. Thank you for your responses!

We are excited to announce the official date of our upcoming Ideal Resolution event! This is now scheduled for Sunday 2 January at 2:00pm Eastern time.

Join us for a celebration and year in review of 2021 — and most importantly a look at what’s to come for the future. We’re embarking on our greatest year ever with more Ideal Orgs on the runway to completion than any other time in history. Get briefed by Mrs. Brandy Harrison and Mrs. Sita Benetatos from the International Landlord Office on the targets for 2022 and start the New Year with your team at our Ideal Resolution event!

This will be a combined event for the following orgs:
New Haven
Long Island
Battle Creek

And their mighty Alliance Orgs of:
New York

The event will be held in the orgs, as well as virtually. You can register for the event at:

And please let us know by response here that you can attend!


Thank you and let’s kick off the New Year with a Tone 40 drive to create an All-Ideal East US!

Ryan Rodriguez


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Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.


Source Code

“I was up there at Oak Knoll for about a year, Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. And I used to walk around — all I had to do — I was a line officer and all I had to do was take off one collar ornament, and I became a doctor….And a little doctor up there by the name of Yankewitz, I used to prowl around there once in a while, Yankewitz was a pretty good guy. And he came, he headed this project, and it had to do with endocrine system. They were trying to do something for people released from Japanese prison camps. These people couldn’t eat. And if they did eat it went immediately into fat. They couldn’t absorb any protein. And I had discovered that there was an immediate index between protein and healing tissue. I used to talk to Yankewitz about it, and he’d listen tolerantly, because he didn’t think I was doing anything, see….And it was out of that year’s study that I concluded rather conclusively, on a very large series of tests, that the body cannot be monitored by what we call structure. And by monitored, I meant healed. It can be changed by structure, but only deteriorated. It’s a one-way route….I’m sorry that I don’t have the records. I’m sure they’re still at Oak Knoll, because I know nobody in the government ever read any records, they just make them.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 15, 1953



Avast, Ye Mateys

“We have 2 or 3 fellows who are trying to run away from it all to escape to some fancied bliss. Now and then I try to tell someone, ‘don’t go diving off that cliff’ and now and then they say cheerily ‘But I’ve GOT to, you see…’; and away they go. I just don’t like that dwindling scream followed by the thud.” — The Commodore, December 15, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Auditing on SOLO NOTs has really helped me to fine tune my understanding and appreciation of truth. The meter responds when you get that as-isness. The mass blows and the needle/tone arm show the release of the mass that is associated with what had formerly been an untruth or a not-is. If there is an argument or upset that you get into with another person, you can always resolve it if you back track and duplicate exactly what had occurred (the truth) and then it goes and with its departure it takes any residual upset or resentment connected with it. The truth does set you free — as the truth gives you as-isness.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Jason Scott, victor in his case against the Cult Awareness Network, has changed attorneys. Scientologist Kendrick Moxon, who has attempted to liquidate CAN, was dismissed. In his place, Graham Berry. “Mr. Moxon’s replacement, as attorney for Jason Scott, is Graham E. Berry of the Los Angeles law firm of Musick, Peeler & Garrett. Mr. Berry has successfully represented a number of defendants against the Church of Scientology and its related entities. Recently, he replaced Faegre & Benson of Minneapolis as FACTNet, Inc.’s lead lawyer in Scientology’s internet related litigation against FACTNet, Lawrence Wollersheim, and Robert Penny, now pending in Federal District court, Denver, Colorado. In replacing Kendrick Moxon, Jason Scott said that he had not seen a penny of his judgment against the Cult Awareness Network and that he was now retaining Graham Berry to try and negotiate a settlement that would both put a reasonable sum of money in his pocket and perhaps enable the Cult Awareness Network to emerge from the bankruptcy it filed as a result of his judgment against it. In addition, Mr. Scott said that he was tired of being a Scientology poster-boy, and that he felt Kendrick Moxon had discarded him after he had obtained the judgment against the Cult Awareness Network. Now, said Mr. Scott, he merely wants to settle his claims against CAN, obtain some money, reunite with his wife and family and put this whole saga behind him.”


Random Howdy

“The irony is that a supposed spiritual technology that is claimed to be based in science and logic to some degree is actually the most fundamentalist ‘religion’ ever created. The Westboro Baptist Church and the Taliban have nothing on Scientology when it comes to fundamentalist dogma.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29, 2022.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), false imprisonment, aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Next hearing scheduled for December 21.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference December 17 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 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: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 on Netflix.


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

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] Tom Cruise rant: Sensible Covid frustration, or insane Scientology screed?
[TWO years ago] Scientology trying to use its UN connections to fight its favorite bogeyman, psychiatry
[THREE years ago] Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman: Spied on by Scientology until it ripped them apart
[FOUR years ago] Louis Theroux’s showdown with Scientology over a public road: The nutty new chapter
[FIVE years ago] CLAIM: ‘Frail’ looking Shelly Miscavige spotted near Scientology compound in California
[SIX years ago] Today in L.A.: Can Scientology kill a forced-abortion lawsuit in the name of religion?
[SEVEN years ago] More about the goons Scientology sent to intimidate Marty Rathbun and Louis Theroux
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology celebrates the holidays!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Leader David Miscavige: Getting Desperate?
[TEN years ago] Martin Bashir Compares Newt Gingrich to Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, and more in our Thursday Stats Roundup!


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 2,515 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,020 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,540 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,560 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,451 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,758 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,626 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,400 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,731 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,204 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,520 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,086 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,005 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,173 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,754 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,015 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,051 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,766 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,291 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 646 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,821 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,372 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,521 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,841 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,696 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,815 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,171 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,474 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,580 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,978 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,854 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,437 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,932 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,186 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,295 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 15, 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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