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After the holiday weekend, Danny Masterson’s criminal rape case returns with a vengeance

[Shawn Holley and her client, Danny Masterson]

Here in the US, we’re getting ready for a long weekend as we celebrate Memorial Day on Monday. But after the celebrating, on Tuesday the next hearing in Danny Masterson’s criminal rape case is scheduled to happen in Los Angeles. (We don’t believe that Danny himself will be present for it.)

Masterson is facing trial for violently raping three women who were Scientologists at the time. If he’s convicted of all three rapes, he’s facing 45 years to life in prison. Masterson has maintained his innocence, he’s pleaded not guilty, and he’s hired some of the best defense attorneys in the business.

After he was charged by the Los Angeles County DA’s office in June 2020, Masterson hired famous defense lawyer Tom Mesereau, and the very sharp Sharon Appelbaum. We’ve chronicled, however, that the defense has stumbled in some odd ways that suggested to us that Mesereau and Appelbaum were taking direction from Scientology leader David Miscavige. Late last year Masterson added two more pricey lawyers to his team, former original OJ Dream Team lawyer Shawn Holley, and Philip Cohen.

We reported previously that the defense team’s latest move was to file a couple of new motions, signed by Holley and Cohen, and those are scheduled to be considered at Tuesday’s hearing.

The lengthier of the two motions is calling for dismissing the case of the victim known as Jane Doe 1 because the DA’s office took too long to bring charges that were based on her allegations.

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Jane Doe 1 alleges that she was forcibly raped on April 25, 2003. She has testified that she overcame the objections of the Church of Scientology and reported the incident to the LAPD on June 6, 2004.

Just 19 days later, the Los Angeles DA’s office declined to file charges against Masterson and the case was closed.

It was opened again by the LAPD 12 years later, and Masterson’s attorneys say that their client “has been severely prejudiced” because of that delay.

Complaining that it’s a “he said, she said” case, the attorneys lay out what they say are discrepancies in Jane Doe 1’s testimony, which they have also tried to do in previous motions to dismiss that were denied.

Specifically, a witness who would have likely been able to recall and provide critical favorable evidence to the defense had he been interviewed in 2004, now has no recollection. Another similarly favorable defense witness has died, and other witnesses have faded memories of key events. In addition, the complete original police file that led the District Attorney’s “rejection” of this case in 2004 has been lost. All of these things significantly impact Masterson’s ability to present a full and complete defense at trial, and all of these things could have been avoided had the government filed this case in a constitutionally-timely fashion.

As they recite the background of the case, they claim that Jane Doe 1 only began talking about Masterson brandishing a gun during the 2003 incident in her interviews with police in 2017, and not in her 2004 reports. However, Jane Doe 1 testified about this in the preliminary hearing last year, complaining that the LAPD’s 2004 investigation was incompetent.

It’s already been reported that one reason why the LAPD closed its case in 2004 was that Scientology overwhelmed the investigation with statements from its members. And here, Cohen and Holley say that the LAPD heard from several witnesses — all Scientologists — that Jane Doe 1 had described the incident as the “best sex she’d ever had.”

Jane Doe 1 was asked about this in the preliminary hearing and denied that she’d said it. At trial, the defense will be free to call any of these Scientologists to testify to these claims, and they will then be subject to cross-examination.

What clearly concerns Masterson’s defense team, however, is one former Scientologist who will be testifying in the criminal trial on behalf of the prosecution, a man named Damian Perkins.

Perkins was very close friends with [Jane Doe 1] in 2003. He says he watched Masterson wrap [Jane Doe 1] in a towel and take her upstairs and thought little of it because he “knew she was in good hands.” Perkins says that 60 to 90 minutes later he was sitting in the living room talking to Jimmy Debello when [Jane Doe 1] came up to him and said, “Oh my God Danny just raped me!”

You can see why the defense is concerned about Perkins testifying. But they complain that Debello, who, if he was sitting there, could confirm what Perkins claims, has told police that he has “no recollection” of that night.

Masterson’s attorneys blame the LAPD for not interviewing Debello in 2004, when his memory would have been fresh. In his opposition, Deputy DA Mueller calls this speculation: We will never know what Debello would have said in 2004, and that isn’t changed by the length of time that’s passed.

Would Debello say that he recollected nothing if he were put on the witness stand at the criminal trial, scheduled to begin on August 29? That’s something we’d be very interested to see. When he said to the LAPD that he didn’t recollect things, was it out of fear? Does he still feel that way? These are things that could be very illuminating to ask him under oath. But Masterson’s attorneys would rather the judge simply throw the case out.

The motion then argues something that the defense has pitched before, that all three victims have shaded their testimony in order to make the incidents seem more extreme, while being cognizant of what the law requires that allows Masterson to be tried so long after the incidents happened. In other words, the women are embellishing in order to fit the legal definition of “forcible rape.” This argument has not swayed Judge Olmedo in the past, even after all three women were cross-examined by Tom Mesereau at the preliminary hearing.

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The motion itself even frames this situation almost perfectly: “Witnesses, of course, are entitled to change their stories, and the impact of such changes on credibility is usually for the jury to determine.”

Well, exactly. At the preliminary hearing, Mesereau and Appelbaum tried to convince Judge Olmedo that the three women had changed their stories over time, and Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller argued the opposite, that these were only superficial differences that resulted from multiple tellings. Judge Olmedo agreed, and found the women credible. Would a jury feel the same way? That’s what a trial is for, and it’s always impossible to predict what a jury will do. But Masterson’s lawyers don’t want a trial to happen and keep trying to get the case dismissed.

The defense’s desperation really appears to shine through when they then bring up another Scientologist, artist Bryten Goss, who died in 2006.

Goss, they claim, made a statement before he died about Jane Doe 1’s sexual tastes, even though the two didn’t sleep together. It’s precisely the kind of testimony that would be precluded by California’s Rape Shield Law, and Masterson’s attorneys know it would never get in at the trial itself, even if Goss were still alive. (The rape shield law prevents testimony about a rape victim’s previous sexual history.) But they throw it in here, perhaps hoping that a media outfit will broadcast Goss’s smear from beyond the grave.

The defense then once again complains that the LAPD losing the original 2004 file on Jane Doe 1 prejudices the case against Masterson. We reported previously that the DA’s office turned out to have its own copy of the file and turned it over to the defense. But Cohen and Holley say the DA’s copy is not complete. Mueller points out that Judge Olmedo has already ruled on this previously, and says the defense is just asking for a second “bite of the apple.”

We also learn from the motion that the first person Jane Doe 1 says she told about the rape was a Scientologist named Shaun Fabos. (He’s son to the donor couple we’ve been seeing a lot in Scientology promotions lately.) The defense team argues that Fabos subsequently heard about the case from Jane Doe 1’s father numerous times before her father died, and that this might have tainted Fabos’s recollection of events.

Or maybe not. Fabos could be called as a witness in the trial and could have his memory tested by both sides. But again, the defense doesn’t want that to happen. They want the case thrown out.

Mueller, in his opposition, points out that there was a good reason why 12 years passed between the initial closing of Jane Doe 1’s case in 2004 and its re-opening in 2016: The coming forward of Jane Doe 2, Jane Doe 3, and Jane Doe 5 in the meantime.

(Not to mention Jane Doe 4, and, we reported previously, up to seven women in total who spoke to the LAPD.)

Mueller also refutes the defense’s claim that without the allegation of Masterson brandishing a gun, Jane Doe 1 does not have a “forcible rape” claim, suggesting that she added the gun later to make up for that fact.

Although the defendant concedes that [Jane Doe 1] has provided other evidence of force in support of her claim of forcible rape, he argues that “[Jane Doe 1’s] allegations of gun use is critical.” [Jane Doe 1] has indeed presented sufficient evidence to establish the use of force in the commission of her rape by the defendant through her multiple interviews by law enforcement, letters submitted to the Church of Scientology, and in her testimony at the preliminary hearing. Defendant suggests that [Jane Doe 1’s] “account of the incident … changed from ‘no gun’ to ‘gun,’ morphing into an allegation of rape by force or fear” after “[becoming] educated on the critical issue of the statute of limitations.” Such is purely an unfounded accusation devoid of any merit and fails to support defendant’s constitutional claim. [Jane Doe 1] never stated there was “no gun” in any of her accounts of the incident. This is a false claim by the defendant who cites no authority in support thereof, nor can he.

The defense will have plenty of opportunity to cross-examine Jane Doe 1 during the trial, and ask her about her accounts of the incident, including when she said that Masterson had brandished a gun.

But the defense really, really doesn’t want the trial to happen, and so they’ve offered this motion. We’ll find out Tuesday if Judge Olmedo agrees with them and calls the whole thing off.

 

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Sign up for a daily email when we post a new story on Scientology.

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.

 
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Source Code

“GUARDIAN OFFICE WIN: The D/GUS Office got a great big win and a commendation from the state for pulling off a coup for them. Got us off their bad hat list. And how. There is however no truth in the rumour that the FBI was presented to us to run. What would J. Edgar do for personal publicity? ” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 27, 1970

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“WW has orders to heavily recruit Scn org personnel and handle posting and other personnel functions Last Feb PL. They have acked it. If EC WW will do this function well, the Scn network will increase. We are engaged heavily in keeping this network of orgs going. The circular action is for public to enter the Franchise and lower org network and move up to the higher orgs. Thus they get to SO orgs. And we have wherewithal to handle things. When that cycle breaks down, it’s grim.” — The Commodore, May 27, 1970

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

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“There should be an Indie/Freezone OT committee organizing the OTs’ power towards a desirable reality for the planet. There are non-Scientology OTs doing OT committee activities already: Alex Jones, David Icke, Inelia Benz.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1998: Jeff Jacobsen announced the fourth picket in Clearwater this week. “Make your plans now to attend the 4TH ANNUAL protest against the Church of Scientology in Clearwater Florida, Saturday December 5, 1998. This is the anniversary date of the death of Lisa McPherson. Details are still being worked on. In March 1996 we picketed the Bank Building in Clearwater. There were about 18 of us. This was just 3 months after Lisa died, but we knew nothing about her at that time. In March 1997 we picketed in front of the Ft. Harrison Hotel. Hundreds of Scientologists harassed us all day long and got terrible PR for themselves out of that. We had a memorial candlelight vigil for Lisa that night, and the Scientologists harassed us there as well, even blowing out our candles. In December 1997 we picketed for the third time, but the church closed down the Ft. Harrison Hotel, so there was no confrontation this time. We left a wreath in front of the Ft. Harrison Hotel. What will happen this time? It’s impossible to say. But it will be interesting. Our goal is to pressure the church to stop hurting people, and to inform the public of the evil side of this so-called church.”

 
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Random Howdy

“A Scientologist is a person who keeps buying bunk drugs that do nothing and he goes back to the dealer and tells him he didn’t feel anything and the dealer tells him everybody else says the stuff is the bomb and he must have done something wrong, so the dude buys some more and does it again and again and again. He’s a chump.”

 
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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.

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‘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.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference June 9 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 2.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
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. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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.

 
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THE PROSECUTION OF DANNY MASTERSON

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.

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 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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology billionaire donor scores Kobe Bryant’s rookie jersey
[TWO years ago] Miscavige scores: Ohio Gov. DeWine to send out thousands of Scientology pamphlets
[THREE years ago] On Memorial Day, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s stolen valor really rankles
[FOUR years ago] PRAISE XENU: We have more Scientology hip-hop, and even better – IT’S AUSSIE-FLAVORED
[FIVE years ago] ‘Source’ magazine offers a glimpse into what goes on at Scientology’s Florida ‘mecca’
[SIX years ago] Is Scientology using Tommy Davis to get Aussie billionaire James Packer back in the fold?
[SEVEN years ago] John Coale, Greta Van Susteren, and the miracle of Scientology drug technology: A meditation
[EIGHT years ago] Life after Scientology: The post-Sea Org baby boom
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Drug Rehab Network Goes On the Offensive
[TEN years ago] How You Can Help a Film About Kate Bornstein Happen

 
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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 2,677 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,182 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,732 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,722 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,613 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,919 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,788 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,562 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,893 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,366 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,682 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,248 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,167 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,335 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,915 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,177 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,213 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,928 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,453 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 808 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,983 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,534 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,683 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,003 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,858 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,977 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,333 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,636 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,742 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,140 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,016 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,599 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,094 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,348 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,457 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 27, 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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