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Odd coincidence: For now, Paul Haggis and Danny Masterson both have trial dates of Oct 11

[Masterson and Haggis]

After a court hearing in New York yesterday, Paul Haggis finally got the trial date that both sides in his case have been requesting for more than two years. But when we heard the date, we had to do a double-take.

For now anyway, the civil trial of Haleigh Breest versus Paul Haggis in New York, and the criminal rape trial of Danny Masterson in Los Angeles, both have start dates of Tuesday, October 11.

While this presents an untenable situation for a dedicated Scientology watcher like your proprietor, we have a feeling that things will change between now and then so that we can pay full attention to both matters.

Both trials have been a long time in coming. On March 3, 2017, we first broke the news that the LAPD was investigating Masterson over allegations by three women who claimed that they’d been raped by the That ’70s Show actor. At that time, the accusers were unhappy with the way the LAPD was handling the investigation, and we didn’t know if the District Attorney’s office would file charges against Masterson.

Later that year, on December 15, 2017, Paul Haggis and Haleigh Breest filed lawsuits against each other at nearly the same time. Haggis’s suit was filed that day at 2:02 pm. Breest’s lawsuit against Haggis was recorded at 6:38 pm.


In his lawsuit, Haggis was alleging that he was being extorted by Breest, saying that the film publicist’s claims of being raped by him after attending a 2013 movie premiere was just a shakedown attempt. His lawsuit was later dismissed. After news of the lawsuits broke in the news, three additional women came forward and were interviewed by the Associated Press as they were added as witnesses to Breest’s case. Two of the women, who are unidentified, claimed that they had been harassed by Haggis, the third claimed that she had been raped by him in 1996.

In the Masterson case, his accusers continued to wait for the DA’s office to make a decision about charging him, but then in August 2019 they filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology, alleging that they were being harassed for coming forward. (That case has a significant hearing tomorrow, the first after the lawsuit was revived by an appeals court that struck down a ruling in favor of Scientology ‘arbitration.’)

Masterson was finally charged criminally by the DA in June 2020, but the case has been delayed by the pandemic and by Masterson’s strategy of filing every possible motion and appeal to slow the case down.

While Masterson was trying to slow down his case, Haggis was trying to speed his up. The lawsuit was being delayed by a clogged New York civil court system and exacerbated by the pandemic. With Breest’s agreement, Haggis filed a motion pushing for a court date last year hoping to get the case moved up in the queue. In an interview, he told journalist Bryan Seymour that he believed evidence in the case — specifically, Breest’s electronic communications — would prove his claim that his encounter with her was consensual. (Haggis had gone public as a defector from Scientology in 2009, and in 2011 he predicted to New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright, “These people have long memories. My bet is that, within two years, you’re going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church.” Supporters of Haggis, like Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, have suggested that the allegations against Haggis are part of a Scientology operation.)

Haggis’s motion for a trial date was denied in September 2021, and the case dragged on without any action. But then, last week, Haggis was arrested in Italy with allegations that he had sexually assaulted a British woman over several days at a hotel in Ostuni where Haggis was about to teach master classes at a film festival. Haggis’s attorney claimed that it was a case of a consensual encounter that turned uncomfortable because the woman believed Haggis was going to put her in a future James Bond movie. For now, Haggis is confined in a hotel on house arrest as local officials try to figure out what actually happened.

And then, surprisingly, the court back in New York, after no word for months, suddenly wanted the two sides in the Breest v Haggis lawsuit to come in for a pretrial hearing yesterday. As a result of that hearing, the case now has an October 11 trial date.

In the Masterson case, meanwhile, on Thursday Judge Charlaine Olmedo will rule on Masterson’s latest attempt to dismiss the matter. If she denies his motion, trial is, for now, scheduled to begin in Los Angeles on October 11.

Will they both really begin then? We think it’s possible, but probably not likely.

Haggis has been asking for a court date, saying that he believes evidence in the case will prove his version of events, and so we wouldn’t expect that he’d want to delay it further. But if he’s still stuck in Italy in October, can the trial proceed? We emailed his attorney, Priya Chaudhry, but other than confirm the trial date she didn’t give us any guidance about whether Haggis could testify in the case remotely if he’s still in Italy.

Masterson’s chances for pushing his criminal trial back may be more likely. He managed to get it moved from August 29 to October 11 by firing his famous defense attorney Tom Mesereau and promoting the attorneys who had been writing motions for him, Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen. At a hearing on May 31, Judge Olmedo asked Holley and Cohen if they were prepared to be Masterson’s lawyers through trial, and they said they were. She then granted the six-week delay.

Our experts tell us, however, that Masterson could probably get away with this one more time, replacing Holley and Cohen with yet another set of attorneys, and getting another delay. One expert told us they think a January trial is probably more likely in the Masterson case.

For now, however, both trials for Haggis and Masterson are scheduled at the same time. Does that benefit either of them if it happens? Which one would get more press? We’re not sure. Please let us know what you think.



Bonus items from our tipsters

Which city are you rooting for?



Source Code

“In Dianetics, if you don’t think you could produce ‘therapies’ which would produce convulsions, break people out in rashes, make them walk on the ceiling and have their ears rot off, you are foolish. You definitely could. You are working here with the basic tools; you are working with what is wrong. And when you are working with what is really wrong with the human psyche, you can of course just specialize in making it more wrong. For instance, you can take a preclear down the time track and turn on a fever that won’t turn off for two or three days. That is spectacular! You can actually send him down the time track and get him into a fever engram and take his temperature or see that his skin is very hot to the touch, and he will have a fever.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 28, 1951


Avast, Ye Mateys

THE ENEMY: Nelson Rockefeller finances and pushes forward the Totalitarian idea of Population Control by Psychiatry and his foundations try to shove us around. In the news he and his family interests are under heavy attack in South America. Rhodesia’s anti-Ron government just gets in deeper and deeper. I wrote Smith a Constitution permitting black representation while maintaining white interests that Britain and the Rhodesian white both would have bought. The govt answer was refusal to extend my visa. That the people of Rhodesia remained on our side is attested by three orgs there now. That Smith is on the side of psychiatry is attested by a new big psychiatric clinic next door to the jail. The enemy is having a very hard time. He is going counter to a world where comm is pushing freedom into being. We are going with the flood tide of world opinion. The enemy is floundering against it. We only have to expand and endure to win.” — The Commodore, June 28, 1969



Overheard in the FreeZone

“We all are just being happy slaves without even noticing. I hear Scientologists say ‘In my next lifetime I am going to…’ They actually want a next lifetime with all package included: being born again, not being able to talk or walk for a very long time, having to be taken care of, studying all over again what you already studied, possibly (if you are Pre-OT) getting back in Scientology when you are already an adult and doing some of the services all over again till you cognite you are a past-life Scientologist and even so requiring sometimes long hours of auditing to get your memory back, etc. I know some have been fortunate to discover it fast and even being able to pick up a Scientologist family, but that has not been the norm. Scientology is supposed to end the long cycle of death and birth, not to promote it. Will someone please explain to me where is the freedom in that?”


Past is Prologue

1995: MTV this week aired a special news broadcast about cults, and included some discussion of Scientology. Stacy Young and cos PR person Leisa Goodman were interviewed. A transcript was posted to a.r.s, anonymously. Some excerpts: “Loder: But according to former scientologists, members aren’t given the church’s full liturgy until after taking many expensive courses. Although scientology executives deny it, former longtime members say that eventually followers are told that some of these “engrams” are the remnants of space aliens called “body thetans” who are placed there by the galactic overlord ‘Xenu.’ Stacy Young: It’s a very science-fiction world, um, it has a, galactic confederacy … it’s a very romantic … view of the world. Loder: I don’t understand, there’s like a galactic overlord Xenu… is there a whole staff of characters… or is that not true? Goodman: Ohh uhh… I don’t think … I don’t really know what you mean. What you’re talking about.”


Random Howdy

“Two eggs over easy, hash browns, and either two Italian sausage or four bangers and dark rye toast. Thanks. Oh, and a double tequila sunrise in a pint glass.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference June 30. Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘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: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
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] Leaked price list: What it costs to stay at Scientology’s ‘spiritual mecca’ in Florida
[TWO years ago] Scientology will see you now! Orgs are reopening in safe and not so safe places
[THREE years ago] Your brain on Scientology: ‘I am the hurricane’
[FOUR years ago] Scientology rock ‘n’ roller goes back to his days with L. Ron Hubbard at sea
[FIVE years ago] Federal judge tells Scientology to cool its jets, says arbitration is ‘imminent’
[SIX years ago] How Google is getting gamed in the fight both for and against the Church of Scientology
[SEVEN years ago] Project Normandy, 2015: Paulette Cooper has landed in Clearwater — Scientology’s ‘Mecca’
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s secret plan to take over the world — here it is!
[NINE years ago] Blogging Scientology’s Bible: Vance, We’ve Reached the Finish Line!
[ELEVEN years ago] Grant Cardone Takes to the Huffington Post to Head Off “Haters”


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 2,709 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,214 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,764 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,754 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,645 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,951 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,820 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,594 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,925 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,398 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,714 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,280 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,199 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,367 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,947 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,209 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,245 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,960 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,485 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 840 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,015 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,566 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,715 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,035 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,890 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,009 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,365 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,668 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,774 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,172 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,048 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,631 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,126 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,380 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,489 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 28, 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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