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Danny Masterson: Attorney Tom Mesereau is out, trial delayed to October 11

[Danny Masterson and his former lawyer, Tom Mesereau]

Judge Charlaine Olmedo denied Danny Masterson’s motion to sever two of the counts against him, but she’s asked for more briefing on the other motion to dismiss he filed in his criminal rape case, delaying a ruling. But perhaps the bigger news from today’s hearing is that Danny’s trial has been moved back from August 29 to October 11 after it was revealed that Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum are no longer on his defense team.

Masterson’s defense has been taken over by Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen, and this morning at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Building in Los Angeles, they delivered lengthy arguments for why Judge Olmedo should grant their latest two motions, asking, 1. To dismiss charges in regards to the victim known as Jane Doe 1 based on how long it had taken to bring her case to court and 2. To sever the remaining two counts in regards to Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 so they would be handled in separate trials.

As we pointed out in earlier stories, some of the material in the new motions was repetitive, asking Judge Olmedo to rule on things she had already litigated in the past. The motions also generally questioned the credibility of the three victims and their testimony. But as we saw last year at the preliminary hearing, Judge Olmedo had found the three women credible after they spent several days testifying in her courtroom. Today, she denied the motion to sever, but she asked for more information before ruling on the motion about Jane Doe 1.

Meanwhile, the date of the trial was moved back to October 11 when Masterson revealed that he wanted to make a change in his attorneys.

At the beginning of the hearing this morning the defense asked Judge Olmedo to go into her chambers to discuss it. She asked if it was really necessary, and Cohen said yes, it would be helpful.


After about 15 minutes in her chambers, they came out and Judge Olmedo said that Mesereau and Appelbaum had been relieved as counsel. She confirmed with Masterson, who was in court today, that this is what he wanted.

And with that change, she also agreed to moving the trial back to October 11.

Then Holley and Cohen gave their arguments for the motions.

We’re already being asked if the less-than-stellar defense of Mesereau and Appelbaum that appeared to be caused by Scientology leader David Miscavige’s interference may have been the cause of being let go from the case.

But we would remind readers that Philip Cohen, writing Masterson’s briefs for the state supreme court, is offering arguments that are practically a carbon copy of what Church of Scientology attorneys wrote in a briefing at a hearing in Judge Ronald Coen’s court in February.

A number of court observers had told us, more than a year ago, that one classic delaying tactic, and perhaps the last one in Masterson’s arsenal, would be substituting counsel with only months to go before trial in order to buy some more time.

So, whether that’s all this was, or had something to do with Mesereau’s introduction of Scientology materials in last year’s preliminary hearing, it’s hard to tell.

For several months Holley and Cohen had been making the arguments in court and it was their signatures on Masterson’s court filings. So today’s move was only a formal one, it appears.

We’re trying to get more information about what, specifically, Judge Olmedo is asking for before she can rule on the motion regarding Jane Doe 1. She indicated that she would rule on it by June 30.

Some additional notes: One observer told us that Danny and Mesereau were in the hallway chatting before the hearing in a friendly way, and even after Mesereau left once his substitution had been announced, Appelbaum stuck around. Later, our observer saw Appelbaum in the cafeteria with the other attorneys.

So this observation may bolster the idea that this was more of a strategic substitution of counsel, for reason of delay, than it was for any hard feelings between Masterson and his former attorneys.

Also the reason that Judge Olmedo did not rule on the first motion today appears to be that there was some argument about whether the defense had been prejudiced by the delay in bringing the case. In his opposition, Deputy DA Mueller had pointed to additional women coming forward as the reason why the case was re-opened. Judge Olmedo apparently wants to hear more from both sides on this specific issue about whether the delay creates “prejudice” against Masterson’s defense.

Cohen did the talking for Masterson, and he was pretty worked up at points, we’re told. Judge Olmedo, at one point, said he “talked in circles,” which can’t be a great thing to hear if you’re Masterson.

Judge Olmedo also expressed a reluctance to move the trial back, but with Holley and Cohen supposedly moving from merely handling motions to becoming Danny’s trial attorneys, she felt obliged to give them some more time.


There was also a lot of other argument about the witnesses in the case that we named in our Friday story. From what we’ve been told, however, this was very close to what the written papers had already argued, so we won’t repeat it, since it tends to be highly speculative on the defense’s part (and Olmedo said as much).


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Source Code

“Tech — on both the 1st and 3rd dynamics — is proceeding at lightning speed. And early tech and books are coming into their own also. If everyone on Flag and on station ships know and wear their own hats well and insist on the fellow next to him wearing his, we have a potentially brilliant future. First and Third Dynamic Tech was never better, or orgs are doing well. We can greatly improve our actions and lines. If we can continue to best the enemy and get things running right we will really E-X-P-A-N-D. It took 100 years to abolish slavery. We are 20 years up on abolishing barbarism in psychiatry in a much faster moving age. If we keep at it and get better on our own jobs and get the breaks, I give us three years to have full command of the situation.” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 31, 1970


Avast, Ye Mateys

“SHIP REVENGE: I made a derogatory comment about the current abilities of Flag. Promptly the ship itself started getting even with me! A hot water line burst and flooded a corner of my cabin. My bridge cabin got varnished without being properly scraped down and wasn’t available. I got no real sleep and had a bath one finger deep and dressed in a torn up repair area. I hastily and humbly apologize to the ship, admit my overt and will mend my ways! Three bows and the sign of triangle to Apollo! I hereby warn all snipes, sailors, stewards, officers, mates and midship mites that it doesn’t pay to abuse, revile, mock or insult the ship or she will take her revenge!” — The Commodore May 31, 1970



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The video I posted describes that they remote viewed (years ago) the emergence of Q Anon. And further indicates that the arrival of Q Anon was made possible thanks to the LRH Journal 67, where Ron describes who the SPs are on this planet (Bankers and the 12 SPs). Subsequently they describe Ron’s Journal 68 and give a quote by LRH of it. Then the narrator in the video indicates that he has seen that the war was won by Scientology and that is why Q Anon is able to make his appearance.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Dennis Erlich reported new acts of harassment this week. JJ Gaw, Scientology investigator, visited his landlord, looking for dirt. Also, the company that holds the mortgage on Dennis’ house was hit for some documents, billed to the landlord. More random acts: “Two nights ago I noticed that the automatic lights in front of my house didn’t turn on when I approached. Checking the bulbs, I found them to have been screwed out 2 turns. “Three weeks ago someone came by and sanded the street number off the curb in front of the house. No other houses on the block got this treatment.”


Random Howdy

“No way is D.M. going to intentionally beach a whale. The obvious solution would be to send someone to their mansion to audit them. I’ve read they do this. First of all, it makes the whale feel special, and secondly, it prevents the whales from going to the Orgs and seeing how empty they are.”


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.
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.



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] For Memorial Day: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s bogus war injuries
[TWO years ago] VIDEO: Scientology shill admits infiltrating NAACP to forward crusade against psychiatry
[THREE years ago] DOX: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wanted kids to form his personal military
[FOUR years ago] Bad boys, part two: Scientology’s involvement with drug smugglers had a long legacy
[FIVE years ago] As Scientology coverage blows up, get ready for major network attention on Clearwater
[SIX years ago] Hold your horses! We can tell you who were the big celebs at Scientology’s grand opening
[SEVEN years ago] What happened when an actual scientist of the mind checked out L. Ron Hubbard in 1950
[EIGHT years ago] Apparent suicide of witness to a mysterious Scientology drug rehab death
[NINE years ago] Is After Earth Will Smith’s Scientology Coming Out Party?


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 2,681 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,186 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,736 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,726 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,617 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,923 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,792 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,566 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,897 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,370 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,686 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,252 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,171 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,339 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,919 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,181 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,217 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,932 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,457 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 812 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,987 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,538 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,687 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,007 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,862 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,981 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,337 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,640 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,746 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,144 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,020 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,603 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,098 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,352 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,461 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 31, 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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