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Danny Masterson lawyers telling tales of woe ahead of October rape trial: Another strategy?

[Danny Masterson’s defense attorneys, Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen]

A week ago this morning, Danny Masterson’s criminal defense attorneys Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen went into the courtroom of Judge Charlaine Olmedo and told tales of woe.

We first broke the news back on August 4 that Holley was using a pretty unusual reason to ask for a delay in Masterson’s upcoming trial from October 11 to late in January: She said she was too busy with the arbitration of suspended Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, which has been going on in secret in Washington DC.

As a result of that story, one of Masterson’s accusers, Jane Doe 1, put out a rare public statement that evening, asking Judge Olmedo not to delay Masterson’s trial — which could put him in life for prison for forcibly raping multiple women — so a baseball pitcher could get a suspension appealed.

Judge Olmedo agreed, and a week ago denied Holley’s unusual request.

We now have a transcript of that hearing, and it turns out that both of Masterson’s attorneys are complaining that they will be unable to give the That ’70s Show actor the defense he deserves as the October 11 trial date rapidly approaches.


We thought we’d show you what they each said, and then put it to you: Are these genuine concerns that could unfairly hurt Masterson’s chances in court, or simply another strategy in a defense that for more than two years has tried just about anything to derail or delay this prosecution?

At Friday morning’s hearing, Judge Olmedo asked Holley to make her case. Holley said she wasn’t going to say the name of the other matter that she’s handling (even though she made it clear that it was Trevor Bauer’s arbitration in her letter to the court), and that she now realized it was going to extend well into November.

Bauer’s 324-game suspension, announced in April, is the longest since the MLB adopted its new domestic violence policy in 2015. The LA District Attorney’s Office declined to press criminal charges against Bauer last year based on the allegations of a San Diego woman who claimed that the pitcher had sexually assaulted her. But the MLB can suspend a player even if that player isn’t charged criminally, and the league talked to at least two additional women, both in Ohio, who also made allegations against Bauer. The pitcher appealed the suspension, resulting in the arbitration.

“My obligations in that case are overwhelming and extremely time-consuming, and it would be impossible for me to give my attention to this case while I am engaged in that case. It is a trial,” Holley said.

Judge Olmedo then asked Deputy DA Mueller for his input. “Your Honor, People’s position is pretty much what we mentioned in our response,” Mueller said, referring to his August 9 opposition to the delay. “At this point, we would oppose any continuance from October.”

He then clarified what Holley had referred to in her motion, that Mueller had told her that he was open to a delay. Mueller explained that if the court decided to move things back into November, he would then be in favor of avoiding the holiday period and moving the trial to January.

Judge Olmedo then went back to Holley to see if she had anything to add.

Holley then said, “Only that, if a continuance is not granted, I will have to withdraw from the case, which I know is not the wish of my client or Mr. Cohen. But I can’t, I just cannot — ”

But Judge Olmedo interjected at that point. “I think you need court permission to withdraw,” she said.

Masterson, the That ’70s Show actor and Scientology celebrity, is facing charges that he forcibly raped three women, all Scientologists at the time, between 2001 and 2003. He’s been charged under California’s strict “One Strike” law, and if he’s convicted of all three rapes he faces 45 years to life in prison. We first broke the news in March 2017 that the LAPD was investigating Masterson, and he was charged by the DA’s office in June 2020. Since then he has filed a myriad of motions and petitions in order to try and get the case derailed or delayed. On June 30 Judge Olmedo denied the last of his motions to dismiss, but then on July 26 and 28 Holley filed her unusual letter and motion asking for the continuance over the Bauer arbitration.

Judge Olmedo said she wasn’t swayed, and denied Holley’s motion. “The Court finds that there is no good cause to continue this matter as set forth in the written order for a continuance of the currently-set trial date,” she said. She then began setting dates for pretrial motions on October 3 and 4, while the beginning of jury selection is set for October 11.

It was then that Cohen decided to speak up.

“I need to make one statement to the Court. I understand the court’s position that Ms. Holley cannot withdraw this case absent court permission. Logistically and practically, it looks like the position that the defense is in now is that there is one lawyer with time to work on this case. That one lawyer is me,” he said. “When I came into this case and asked the Court and the Court agreed to set a trial date, my expectation was there would be two lawyers working on preparing this case for trial. I understand Ms. Holley may remain on absent court permission as a quote-unquote attorney of record. That does me very little good in terms of having an attorney that is working with me in preparation. So I just want to make that clear for all purposes.”

In response Judge Olmedo proposed they keep the August 17 date so the two attorneys could raise any issues with her ruling. She even agreed to handle it online so they wouldn’t have to be in court.


Holley then spoke up.

“Maybe this is best taken at that time, but I do want to put on the record, because I think that our conversation in chambers last time was off the record out of courtesy and concern to me,” she said.

But Judge Olmedo didn’t agree. “It was not off the record. The court reporter was present and was taking a transcript and that was visible to all. It was on the record.”

Holley then continued.

“OK. I thought that the conversation about my father’s death was off the record. If it was on the record, then that’s fine. That is the reason that everything got delayed, and I wanted to make sure that was on the record.”

Judge Olmedo then said she would give them written copies of her order, and at the online conversation on August 17 they could raise issues with it if they wanted to.

But even Cohen realized it wouldn’t do any good to keep that August 17 date.

“I guess the only reason I would need to be heard further is if the court was going to reconsider its ruling some way. I assume it’s not. The Court has a written order prepared. I don’t think the Court wants to hear about this.”

Judge Olmedo didn’t blink. “All right. We will vacate that date. If there is an additional motion you wish to make or additional request, then you can just calendar it with [my clerk].”

And that was it. The proposed August 17 hearing was removed from the calendar.

As for Holley’s references to her father’s death and to the Bauer arbitration, we will point out what we did when we first broke the news about her unusual delay request: She has been an active member of Danny Masterson’s defense team for longer than she is letting on.

In her motion, Holley pointed out that the Bauer arbitration had begun on May 23, and Masterson didn’t fire his previous attorneys, Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum, until May 31, making her attorney of record for the upcoming trial.

But that’s somewhat misleading (something that Jane Doe 1’s attorneys also pointed out on their statement to the court on the evening of August 4).

We first noted Holley’s presence on Masterson’s legal team on November 11, 2021, and then confirmed it with the court on December 15. By February we had evidence that new subpoenas were being issued in the case under Holley’s name. And also by that month, a transcript showed, Holley and Cohen, the two new attorneys, were doing all the talking for Masterson in court and Mesereau and Appelbaum had taken a back seat.


All of that took place before Trevor Bauer’s arbitration began in secret on May 23. Also, in Holley’s motion, she admitted that new dates for testimony in Bauer’s matter had not at that point been set by the arbitrator.

So Holley was asking Judge Olmedo to put back a rape trial that could put Danny Masterson in prison for life, which was already firmly set for October 11, so that an arbitration over the suspension of a Dodgers pitcher could take precedence, even though no dates for testimony had been set.

You can see why Judge Olmedo’s decision was not difficult to make.

But you tell us: Are Masterson’s attorneys setting up a situation where they can make a case that Danny has not been given an adequate defense, even though he’s been paying top dollar to big name attorneys for more than two years, resulting in a mountain of legal briefs and delay tactics?

Let us know what you think.


Today’s Scientology happy news. Yes, an excerpt from an actual press release put out by the church this week.

An article by the Catholic Herald says that “Catholicism is a driving force in…countries of central and eastern Europe, such as Hungary and Poland, where Catholicism is heavily associated with…freedom and democracy.” Other sources say that religious vocations and seminars in historical religions are decreasing. Still, the Church of Scientology of Hungary seems to be the complete contrary, having ordained just up to August 2022, 12 ordained ministers, of which 8 are women.

This would correspond more to the trend announced by Catholic Herald for a country like Hungary, even if the religious freedom practices of some officials have room for quite some improvement. There are reports at the UN Human Rights Council, the OSCE and other supranational organizations that show the discrimination that some minority religions still suffer in Hungary.

Ivan Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, said that, “Despite any barriers, Hungarians, and especially the Scientologists, are not the type of people who give up their freedoms and this is proven by the growing community of Scientologists, and in the growing number of charitable actions of our parishioners helping Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians in general.”

While there are different types of vocations in Scientology churches who dedicate their time and skills to support their Church, ordained ministers hold a special place in the congregation. In fact, Arjona says, in a ever-increasing trend, more and more Scientologists in Hungary are choosing to learn more about the religious and practical teachings of Scientology “as well as those of other main religions, and with that make an even greater impact in their communities, by becom¡ng ordained ministers”.



Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 8 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and it’s a conversation with Patty Moher about her amazing career as a Scientology spy and then her years leaking great info about the church. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 7 available to everyone, with Geoff Levin on Scientology’s celebrities, Pete Griffiths on running a mission, Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, Bruce Hines on the crazy life in the Sea Org, Jeffrey Augustine on recent Scientology court cases, Claire Headley exposing Tom Cruise, and Marc Headley on what it must be like for David Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida.. Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“As there are sharks about the ship, the overboard ceremony is about to be resumed for Dianetic Auditors who flub commands, fail to complete sessions or fail to let PCs have wins or who fail to complete study from the Coaudit group and get onto auditing. Two flubbed Dn sessions out of 10 is about what we’re running just now and that is 2 too many. Dianetics is very simple to do. The great auditors are the VIIIs. We have had several Dianetic auditors who were great. They are now moving on up through VI to VIII. This new scarcity of flubless Dianetic auditors results I am sure from lazy study and false passes on materials and TRs 101 to 104. I want a flood of new Dianetic Auditors who have actually passed their bulletins and drills.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 19, 1969


Avast, Ye Mateys

“SQUIRRELS: Been hearing reports on a couple squirrels — Bernie Green (in NY) and Jack Horner (in LA). They’ve been goofing it up for ages. Typical no case gain cases, up to their ears in undisclosed overts. They’d sell their grandma for a fast buck. Horner is wildly opposed to organizations or systems of any kind. He has the trick of talking somebody off the third dynamic into the first dynamic. He shows them how the system is doing them in and how it should all be only for No. 1. B. Green evidently got that way as a Terrorist in the Middle East. Horner totally flipped when he ruined one too many women. The first dynamic and the fast buck and how all systems are bad seem to be a common denominator to these poor nuts.” — The Commodore, August 19, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone


“LRH said, ‘No squirrel has lasted more than 2 or 3 years in the past sixteen years. And there have been many.’ See how Justin emerged in 2017 and by 2020 see how he crumbled and as a revenge, he is declaring ‘Scientology dead’ and developing his own stuff with its own name. He is now in the process of splintering. The same thing that the previous squirrels did.”


Past is Prologue

1998: The St. Petersburg Times reported that Scientology has purchased the Osceola Inn in downtown Clearwater. “The Church of Scientology has spent $3.2-million to purchase most of a city block across the street from its waterfront Sandcastle property, continuing its spate of downtown land buys over the last year. The property’s centerpiece is the former Osceola Inn, a vacant retirement center at 221 N Osceola Ave. The church will renovate it to accommodate parishioners who travel to Clearwater for Scientology counseling. Since June 1997, the church and companies that represent it in real estate transactions have purchased 12 properties in the downtown core for a total of $7.2-million. Church officials say they expect to attract thousands more Scientologists to Clearwater each year with the expansion. The Osceola Inn property and law office comprise three-quarters of the block bounded by Drew Street on the south, Osceola Avenue on the west, N Fort Harrison Avenue on the east and Jones Street on the north. The remaining portion of the block is a vacant used car lot owned by Ray Cassano, a prominent figure in local Scientology circles.”


Random Howdy

“I know of two people who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses and joined Scientology. You might be surprised at the amount of cult cross-pollination that goes on. There is a certain ‘follower’ personality type in this world.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: 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, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
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. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
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] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 9: Mocking up an automobile out of thin air
[TWO years ago] Valerie Haney reacts to setback in lawsuit against Scientology: ‘I will continue to fight’
[THREE years ago] Even when it gets good press, Scientology reminds us that it uses slave labor
[FOUR years ago] Oh gross: Scientology Sea Org now saluting donors who give for ‘Ideal Orgs’
[FIVE years ago] What Scientology itself says about the way it’s going to change how your mind works
[SIX years ago] Gawker goes dark, but its impact on Scientology — and Tom Cruise — will never be forgotten
[SEVEN years ago] Why Steve Fishman — of the notorious Fishman Papers — is today serving 21 years in prison
[EIGHT years ago] Scenes from the Scientology underground
[NINE years ago] How Does Scientology’s Cosmology Really Work? Historian Jon Atack Has a Theory
[TEN years ago] (2012’s) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 21 & 22
[ELEVEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 19: The Squirrel Busters


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 2,761 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,266 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,816 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,806 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,697 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,002 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,872 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,646 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,977 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,450 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,766 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,332 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,251 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,419 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,999 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,261 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,297 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,012 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,537 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 892 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,067 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,618 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,749 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,087 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,942 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,061 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,417 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,720 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,826 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,224 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,100 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,683 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,178 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,432 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,541 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 19, 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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