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Today: Danny Masterson’s last chance to avoid criminal trial in October?

[Attorney Philip Cohen and his client, Danny Masterson]

At a court hearing on May 31, Danny Masterson fired his famous defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, which bought Masterson a six-week delay for his criminal rape trial. The trial is now scheduled for October 11. Also on that day, Masterson’s remaining attorneys, Philip Cohen and Shawn Holley, argued for one count of the three in the case to be thrown out because of how long it had taken for the charge to be brought against the That ’70s Show actor.

They count they are focused on is the case of Jane Doe 1, who alleges she was raped in the early morning hours of April 25, 2003, at Masterson’s Hollywood Hills house. In June 2004, Jane Doe 1 reported the incident to the LAPD in defiance of the Church of Scientology (she was a member of it then). Scientology then had members submit affidavits calling Jane Doe 1 a liar, and the District Attorney’s office decided not to file charges.

Twelve years later, in 2016, the LAPD reopened the case, and in 2020, the DA filed charges against Masterson. But his defense team argues that this delay tramples on Masterson’s constitutional rights because some of the witnesses who might have been key in 2004 were never interviewed or can’t recall things now. And if the DA didn’t think it was a chargeable offense in 2004, why was it one in 2020?

Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, at the hearing on May 31, explained that what’s different is that in 2016, when Jane Doe 1’s case was reopened, she was no longer alone. Two other women had joined her to make similar allegations, and others came forward later. When the DA’s office filed charges in 2020, it said that it had considered the allegations of five women, and chose to file charges in regards to three of them.

Mueller also disputed the idea that the delay from 2004 to 2020 had prejudiced the case against Masterson. But Judge Olmedo said that she couldn’t render a ruling without further briefing from both sides.


In the supplemental brief that Mueller filed, he explains that the DA’s office in 2004 simply didn’t realize that there were other victims whose allegations were all very similar to Jane Doe 1’s, which bolstered her case…

At the time of the initial declination of [Jane Doe 1’s] case, the reviewing deputy district attorney was unaware of the additional two prior victims and one later victim who each had reportedly been raped by the same defendant under factually similar circumstances. Discovery of the additional victims did not occur until they each reported to law enforcement in December of 2016 and January of 2017.

Mueller went on to explain what he meant by the cases resembling each other…

The similar circumstances include the defendant being closely acquainted with the victims as well as having mutual friends in common; all three incidents occurring within an approximate 2-1/2 year period of time between 2001 to 2003; each incident taking place at the defendant’s residence on Holly Mount Drive; defendant offering the victims alcoholic beverages and becoming inexplicably intoxicated while sexually assaulted; each victim was reportedly raped in the defendant’s bedroom on his bed; in two of the alleged rapes, defendant either pulled or commanded the victims into the shower in his master bathroom where he then sexually assaulted them before taking them to his bed where he committed further assaults; and the use of physical force by the defendant to restrain each victim and accomplish his acts by overcoming their will.

Further, the defendant and each victim were members of the Church of Scientology at the time of their incidents. Both [Jane Doe 1] and [Jane Doe 3] reported their rapes by the defendant to a Church Ethics Officer on staff at the time. Both were told it’s not rape and that they could not report it to law enforcement. Doing so would be a “high crime” and they would be declared a “suppressive person.” Both were provided Scientology-related reading material(s) by the Ethics Officers who directed them to review specific Church policies. And both were made to attend an ethics program under the direction of the Church officials as a result of their disclosures. Each of the three victims delayed reporting to law enforcement out of fear of being declared a “suppressive person” by the Church and suffering the consequences therefrom.

It was only after these additional facts became known in 2016 that the DA’s office come to the conclusion “that sufficient evidence exists to warrant bringing charges and to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Masterson’s attorneys, Cohen and Holley, responded that Mueller’s assertions didn’t address the argument in their motion, that the passage of time has made some witnesses unavailable and others unreliable, which they say prejudices the case unfairly against their client.

They claim that Jane Doe 1’s claims are “weak,” and that additional women coming forward doesn’t make them stronger. “Regardless of how the prosecution tries to characterize its case, the applicable balancing test, in light of the significant prejudice caused by the delay points to a violation of Mr. Masterson’s right to a fair trial and to the need for dismissal,” they write.

The defense team insists that, in contrast to Mueller’s argument, “…the essence of the [Jane Doe 1] case has hardly changed.”

Today in court, Cohen and Mueller will argue this issue and Judge Olmedo will decide if the Jane Doe 1 count should remain, and if she does, we should be in the homestretch until the trial itself.

Last time, at the May 31 hearing, Cohen got pretty worked up and Judge Olmedo admonished him that he was “talking in circles.” We are curious to hear whether he’s a little more restrained this time, and also if Shawn Holley says much. We don’t expect Masterson to be there himself, but he surprised us last time and did show up. (He needed to be in court to tell Olmedo in person that he was firing Mesereau and his co-counsel, Sharon Appelbaum).

Yesterday, Jeffrey Augustine was on the scene as the civil lawsuit against Masterson made its return to the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield. We had wondered if there might be some fireworks after the case had been revived by a stunning January appellate ruling, but Jeffrey said the proceeding was not very exciting at all.

Basically, the stay on the civil lawsuit remained in place while the criminal case is ongoing and as Scientology will be petitioning the US Supreme Court about the January appellate ruling. Also, a future status hearing was set for October 25. (In the civil lawsuit, Masterson’s accusers are suing the actor and Scientology for harassing them. It’s not about the rape allegations themselves.)

So the civil suit is essentially on hold, and the criminal case has what could be a final hurdle to get over today before heading to trial. We’ll let you know what we hear from court.


UPDATE: MOTION DENIED Judge Charlaine Olmedo denied Danny Masterson’s attempt to dismiss Jane Doe 1’s count against him in his forcible rape case today at a hearing in Los Angeles.

Masterson’s attorney Philip Cohen once again tried to persuade the court that the delay between 2004, when the DA’s office first turned down Jane Doe 1’s case, and 2016, when the LAPD reopened it, prejudiced the matter against his client.

But Judge Olmedo found that the delay was related to additional evidence emerging. She also said that the objections Cohen raised could be included in the trial itself

“Cohen never really got close to anything really damning,” Jeffrey Augustine told us.

He said that there were many interesting issues from the case brought up, including a letter written by Jane Doe 1’s father, with Cohen saying that it contains differences from Jane Doe 1’s own testimony. And with the passing of time, the father can’t be called to testify, because he’s passed away.

But Augustine says it came off as a weak attempt. “Trying to get a case dismissed on a dead guy’s letter that contains a lot of hearsay? Cohen just wasn’t landing,” Augustine says. “Judge Olmedo at one point just asked him to stop, that he’d talked about it enough.”

The thrust of the defense’s lengthy presentation was that there was enough contrary evidence to end the case without a trial, but Augustine says it wasn’t persuasive.

He added that Cohen did seem more effective than Mesereau and Appelbaum, but “he just didn’t have a lot to work with right now.”


Technology Cocktail

“THE INVISIBLE PICTURE GOALS: From somewhere around 110,000 trillion trillion years ago or earlier to 390 trillion trillion years ago, the most difficult GPMs on the track were given. These contain four RIs per set, positive-negative in dichotomy, (example: Wake, Never Wake, Sleep, Never Sleep), the four given five times for every one picture shown. This makes 20 firings per picture. But the first picture is invisible and the thetan afterwards is not expected to find then the first twenty firings of RIs (four in a row, repeated five times). This makes a “vacuum” for a picture and groups the bank. This type of implant is probably the source of vacuums in the reactive mind. The remaining pictures vary during different periods of the sequence, but consist usually of a scene of a cave, a railway, an airplane, a view of a sun and planets. The first “picture” making the total number of five is invisible and is no picture. The pictures have a moving object in each (except the invisible one) which backs up halfway through the series. The trick is to get the RIs out of the invisible picture, particularly the basic first four. The RIs also fire right left, then left right so that the “Never” RI the next time has swapped sides. They go positive, negative, then, with swapped sides, positive negative. They are simple aberrative words. Start, Never Start, End, Never End are always the first firings, followed by Begin, Never Begin, Stop, Never Stop for the second whole series of firings. The same four run through all five pictures. Then the next four go through all five, etc. There are many words used. Early in the series 3-dimensional sets were used, late in the series only 2- dimensional pictures were employed.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1963



Bonus items from our tipsters

Another win for Battle Creek!



Now available: A bonus for our supporters

In order to thank our subscribers for their generosity, we finally decided to put together something that people have been asking us about for a long time: Yes, we recorded the first Underground Bunker podcast this week. It went out Saturday to our paid subscribers, and features the inimitable Marc Headley telling us some great stories about Scientology leader David Miscavige that we had never heard before. And now that Miscavige has made Clearwater his home, what’s that like for him and his minions? Marc has great examples from the past that suggest how things are currently going at Flag. Give it a listen!


Source Code

“Science plays a lively tune and they play it with very glossy photographs. They play it with very good advertisements. They play it with great big, imposing universities, huge facades built out of gorgeous marble, imported from South Dubuque. They’ve got themselves a pretty good face, see? Big stuff. People’s cars go whiz-whiz down the streets and the petrol that goes into the engine will make it run at vast expense. They’ve got it up to a point where an engine can actually utilize over a thousandth of the potential power in a gallon of gasoline. They’ve got it fixed up so they can color your health bread by certain breeds of mold, and so they can get appropriation from other breeds of mold called ‘Congress.’ You’ve got yourself quite a game going here. It’s called science, and you yourself are not totally aware of the fact how that cuts your personal throat.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 30, 1964



Avast, Ye Mateys

“The shark picked up a lot of paper that was thrown over and wants to take the DAC. He’s got a former therapy thing going though. Used to be partners with an electric eel in a psychiatric racket. I told him if we didn’t get some auditors soon I’d discuss his application further. He went off singing an odd song that went ‘Most courteous fish in the ocean, with temper forgiving and mild. Though his record is dark, he’s a Man-eating shark who would eat neither woman or child.’ Good luck to full time DAC on your exams.” — June 30, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The fact is we are in a continual danger condition as beings, and we don’t even realize it. Anyone, of course, has the right to procure another body and another lifetime, I can’t call that freedom though, can’t even call it self-determinism. I don’t think that there are that many Scientologists out there who really, I mean really, understand the situation in which we all are in this planet and guess what, it has nothing to do with humans and has nothing to do with reactive minds. It has to do with evils and powers we are not even aware of. It is either explained or hinted at in so many LRH lectures and yet, it seems to escape us every time.”


Past is Prologue

1997: The St. Petersburg Times reported this week that Scientology has finalized plans for the new Super Power building, to be built across from the Ft. Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida. “The mammoth building would be part of a complex featuring an 800-space parking garage and a 2,500-seat auditorium. A church official said Tuesday that construction is expected to begin this year. With an estimated 340,000 square feet of space, the office building alone would dwarf many of the larger office buildings in downtown Clearwater. It would have roughly the same square footage as the Barnett Tower in downtown St. Petersburg. Under the new plans, the office building would be six stories tall, with a 12-story tower on the southwest corner that would be skinnier than the rest of the building. It would be built across the street from Scientology’s signature building in Clearwater, the Fort Harrison Hotel. A covered walkway over S Fort Harrison Avenue would join the two buildings. Scientology spokesman Brian Anderson said the church was leaning toward a design for the office building that would echo the 1920s-era Mediterranean Revival-style architecture of the Fort Harrison Hotel. Previous plans for a building with a dramatic space-age design are now ‘not as likely,’ Anderson said.”


Random Howdy


“Scientology is in the same category as Christian Science and the Jehovah’s Witnesses as far as being a ‘spiritual’ practice that has caused the deaths of its adherents in the past through the denial of legitimate medical treatment. These crimes need to be stopped.”


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.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15. Arbitration letter due July 1.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25.
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] First, do harm: Scientology’s secret war on mental health
[TWO years ago] That time Laura Prepon helped silence a Danny Masterson victim for Scientology
[THREE years ago] Scientology continues to use the United Nations as a prop for its propaganda
[FOUR years ago] Scientology scam: ‘It hadn’t occurred to me I was getting appalling advice from Church execs’
[FIVE years ago] We have the letter Scientologists are receiving from a federal judge!
[SIX years ago] Scientology produces miracles — but you only get to hear about them in one place
[SEVEN years ago] Paulette Cooper back in Clearwater for the first time since the 1982 Scientology hearings
[EIGHT years ago] That time L. Ron Hubbard was hit by lightning while wearing full armor: It’s science!
[NINE years ago] Tampa Bay Times Portrays Twin Sister of Scientology Leader as Dope-Smoking Slumlord
[TEN years ago] What Katie Holmes is Saving Suri From: Scientology’s Interrogation of Children
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Goon Squads Face Fines After Texas Town Rallies To Marty Rathbun’s Cause


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 2,711 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,216 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,766 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,756 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,647 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,953 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,822 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,596 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,927 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,400 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,716 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,282 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,201 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,369 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,949 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,211 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,247 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,962 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,487 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 842 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,017 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,568 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,717 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,037 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,892 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,011 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,367 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,670 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,776 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,174 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,050 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,633 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,128 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,382 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,491 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 30, 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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