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How Danny Masterson’s criminal judge has iced out Scientology leader David Miscavige

[Judge Charlaine Olmedo and David Miscavige]

After last year’s preliminary hearing in Danny Masterson’s rape case that was held in Los Angeles in May, we wrote a story about one particular and very odd thing that happened during it.

Here’s a few paragraphs from that story to refresh your memory…

We’re thinking back to day two of the prelim, which took place on Wednesday, May 19. On that day, sitting next to us in the front row of the courtroom was attorney Vicki Podberesky, which we noted in our reports from the courthouse that day….

Podberesky represents several Scientologists who may be called as witnesses in the case. She has been handling Scientology’s messes for a long time. She was involved in the Daniel Montalvo case, and she also made things difficult for Karen de la Carriere and Jeffrey Augustine after the death of Karen’s son, Alexander Jentzsch. We had no doubts that Podberesky was in the room on behalf of Scientology. And so what she was doing puzzled us at the time….

She was typing on a small laptop. Her fingers were really flying. We were pretty busy with our own note-taking during the testimony on that second day of the hearing, but we couldn’t help noticing that Podberesky was clearly transcribing the event as it was going along, her bursts of typing matching the rhythms of what was being said. When testimony would stop for a moment, so would Podberesky’s typing….


It dawned on us why a high-priced attorney was sitting in the courtroom at Masterson’s preliminary hearing, banging away at her laptop like she was a court stenographer: She was, we figure, providing a live account of everything being said for [Scientology leader David] Miscavige.

This was especially interesting because at one point, we overheard Podberesky giving defense attorney Tom Mesereau encouragement about questioning one of Masterson’s accusers about the contents of a Scientology text, the book “Introduction to Scientology Ethics.”

“It’s not in there! It’s not in there!” she urged him in a whisper — but they were just a few feet away from us, and we couldn’t help overhearing it.

With that encouragement, Mesereau then turned to the witness stand and asked Chrissie Carnell-Bixler (who, among the three accusers is the only one using her actual name), if she could find something in a particular chapter of the book which proscribed Scientologists from reporting each other to the police. After a break, she acknowledged that she couldn’t find anything. But later, prosecutor Reinhold Mueller asked her to look in another chapter of the book, and sure enough there was a line there telling Scientologists not to inform on other members to “civil authorities.”

It ended up being a disastrous moment for the defense, as Judge Olmedo would go on to cite that “scripture” as she held that the women were prevented from coming forward sooner because Scientology opposed it. (Scientology since then has been apoplectic with rage about her words.)

It was an embarrassing moment for the defense, and we couldn’t help wondering, if Podberesky was giving a live description of the hearing to Miscavige, had he told her to encourage Mesereau to use the book, which backfired so badly?

Anyway, the reason we’re bringing this up again is that we have finally obtained a transcript of the last court hearing in the Masterson rape case, which took place on February 8, and it supports something we had heard from a couple of people who were there.

Earlier that day, Masterson’s attempt to get the case thrown out on a motion to dismiss was denied in another courtroom on the ninth floor of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, and now they had moved back to Judge Olmedo’s courtroom to begin talking about preparations for the August trial, and to deal with some subpoenas sent out by Masterson’s new attorney, Shawn Holley.

This was the first time the parties were in Judge Olmedo’s courtroom since our story about Podberesky had appeared last June.

As the hearing began, Judge Olmedo announced that things were changing in the way the case was being handled. After discussing how many attorneys could be present at one time at the prosecution and defense tables, she then turned to electronic devices.

Now, who may have computers and cell phones out and in use while court is in session: Only the attorneys assigned to the criminal matter may use their computers and/or cell phones in court during court proceedings unless permission is granted by this court. This includes all members of the audience and all attorneys not assigned to this criminal matter in this court. Recording and photographing any portion of the proceedings in this matter at any time is expressly prohibited by anyone other than the court reporter assigned to this courtroom.

When we were there last May, we had to put our smartphone in a pouch because only attorneys could have them in the courtroom. But journalists were allowed to use their laptops in the gallery and take notes as the hearing was taking place. (Judge Olmedo said no live-tweeting, however).

This time, we heard from our sources that not only were journalists not allowed to use phones or laptops, but even the attorneys in the courtroom were barred from using them, except for the lawyers at the actual tables.

The transcript supports this, and we note the specific prohibition against computers or phones being used by “all attorneys not assigned to this criminal matter in this court.”


In other words, Judge Olmedo had shut down David Miscavige’s ability to have a minion in the gallery typing him a live version of what was going on.

Does this mean that Judge Olmedo reads this website, learned what Podberesky was doing, and made sure it wouldn’t happen again (and particularly for the trial, scheduled to last four weeks and begin on August 29)?

Well, we won’t presume.

But still, you know. Take that, Dave.


Derek Lambert and Karen de la Carriere



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Source Code

“Let’s take CCH 1, ‘Give me that hand.’ It could have possibly also — I am not saying you should run it with this command, but you — ‘Reach me. Reach me. Reach me.’ You get the similarity here? See, PC really is at cause, see? You could just say, ‘Reach me.’ And make sure that he did and it would be quite interesting. I don’t advocate that you fellows do this, although once in a while, some squirrel auditor develops some technology by which he can use Scientology to make a girl more accessible. Now personally, I find it difficult to understand this, because I myself, you see, have never needed Scientology! I don’t waste a brag, but I just want to point this out. Here you have a situation where that’s a poor show. But you actually could take a girl and have her reach your right knee and your left knee and your right shoulder and your left shoulder and your nose and the top of your head and your right hand and left hand. And every now and then, ask her how she feels about you. And if you don’t flatten the process, just about the time this thing goes into the plus state, she’ll tell you she’s mad about you, she thinks you’re wonderful. That’s right.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 29, 1962


Avast, Ye Mateys

“There is not one person aboard, swabbie, snipe or clerk who is not vital to maintaining our presence on Int lines either by keeping the ship running or safe or actually pushing comm pkgs or admin actions. To the several million Scientologists in the world our presence is felt even when it is only quietly acting within orgs over the world. There’s an awful lot of lightning and thetan power in this theta line and everyone on board is contributing to it. Whatever the grease on your nose or the callouses on your ball point finger you are helping to keep this line in existence and contributing your energy and actions to pushing it through. Next time you’re tired or upset — remember that.” — The Commodore, March 29, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“In retrospect the one thing I’m most grateful for was my tenacity to not stop with my studying of the R6 materials until I see its practicality. It took quite some work but eventually I began to see what LRH discovered and was dealing with. I still marvel at the diabolical accuracy by which the bank itself operates, yet creates such incredible confusion. It’s quite something to see the myriad of complexities people squabble over and then do the darnedest of things calling it a solution. Man operating as a meat body and doing the things he does is a ‘result of pattern’ not of evolution or any other fancy terms of pseudo sciences. I certainly don’t profess to be greater, bigger or better compared to another at anything, I left that cyclic & competitive game sometime back. My body is old and is doing its thing and we get on more or less pretty well. We don’t play the dynamic game actively anymore but I see the demise of Church of Scientology as resulting from infiltration and then destroyed from within as the greatest crime ever to be committed in the sphere of suppression inflicted upon our species.”


Past is Prologue


1996: The St. Petersburg Times detailed Scientology’s request for changes in Clearwater’s housing regulations. Scientology wants to pack in twice as many Sea Org members into the Hacienda Gardens, the barracks for low ranking SO and many RPF. “The change would cut in half the required living space and eventually provide homes for the 300 new Scientology staff members needed for the ‘Super Power’ facility, said Richard Haworth, a spokesman for Scientology’s Clearwater-based Flag Service Organization. Hacienda Gardens, 551 N Saturn Ave., has 200 units populated, in large part, by members of Scientology’s Sea Organization, who wear Navy-style uniforms and sign billion-year contracts to devote themselves to Scientology. Sea Org members, as they are called, spend 10 to 14 hours on the job daily. That unusual work schedule, and the fact that they eat their meals at Scientology dining halls and not at home, means that the city’s normal living standards aren’t necessary in Hacienda Gardens, Haworth said. ‘The units are used primarily for sleeping and are seldom used for cooking, entertaining, etc.,’ the Scientology request said. ‘If this variance is not granted, then, among other results, the applicant will be required to acquire additional property for housing purposes, which property will then be removed from the tax rolls.'”


Random Howdy

“I rarely ever downvote comments. I do downvote rude comments and drive-by comments by Scientologists (or people pretending to be) who are too chicken to hang around and argue their beliefs. If a real Scientologist showed up here and seriously debated their beliefs with someone, I wouldn’t downvote them.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. Trial scheduled for August 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
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 May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for April 8.

Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

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.’ Valerie’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] Jokes aside, there is quite a bit of crossover between QAnon and Scientology
[TWO years ago] ‘PROTECT THE ORG’ is Scientology’s highest purpose says new edict
[THREE years ago] Scientology ‘body-routing’: When no one wants what you’re selling
[FOUR years ago] Leah Remini on Scientology’s stalking — nothing is going to stop her third season of ‘Aftermath’
[FIVE years ago] SCIENTOLOGY TV: It’s really happening! Spectrum blocks out a channel for Miscavige
[SIX years ago] Scientology pampered some of its big donors with a trip back in time to Phoenix in 1954
[SEVEN years ago] LIVE-BLOG: Watch Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary ‘Going Clear’ and comment with us
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology answers the Garcias — And turns over a trove of internal documents
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Job One: Saving the Whales


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 2,618 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,123 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,643 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,663 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,554 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,861 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,729 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,503 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,834 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,307 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,623 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,189 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,108 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,276 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,857 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,118 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,154 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,869 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,394 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 749 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,924 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,475 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,624 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,944 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,799 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,918 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,274 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,577 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,683 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,081 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,957 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,540 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,035 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,289 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,398 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 29, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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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