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The Scientology spy in the hallway: The Danny Masterson trial gets underway

[Hallway at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, photo by California Historical Society]

Yesterday morning, the Danny Masterson criminal trial began with jury selection, and your proprietor was feeling on the spot.

It turned out that only two journalists had bothered to apply to be pool reporters during jury selection, when there would only be a single seat for media in the courtroom. So that meant your proprietor was on duty yesterday and today, and our colleague will take over on Thursday.

As it turned out, very little happened yesterday, and after about a half hour additional seats became available as potential jurors were allowed to leave, and more reporters came in. So we were the sole reporter for only a short time.

But in the hallway before things started, we didn’t know that. We only knew that we’d need to keep notes and type fast so we could give an accurate report to the half dozen reporters who had approached us and asked to receive copies of our notes after the day’s session.

And it was while we were contemplating that, waiting for things to start, that we noticed someone come down to our end of the hallway and take a seat.


He didn’t appear to be a juror, and he wasn’t a lawyer. He was dressed casually, and seemed out of place. He simply sat down on one of the benches and waited, as we studied his face, sure that we’d seen it before.

Danny Masterson was already inside the courtroom. We’d seen him arrive with his very tall friend, Chris Wadhams, an actor who had generously given one of his kidneys to Danny’s wife, Bijou Phillips.

Masterson’s attorneys were already in the courtroom too. This new person didn’t seem to be with anyone. Who was he? It nagged at us.

Then, Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller emerged from the courtroom, walked directly to the man, who stood up, smiled, and shook Mueller’s hand as the prosecutor said his name.

And then it hit us like a ton of bricks.

Of course. We knew who he was, and hearing the name come from Mueller cemented it for us.

And then, we watched in amazement as Mueller led the man into the courtroom.

Oh, wow.

Now, we want to make it very clear that all of this happened before we went into the courtroom to begin our duties as the pool reporter, and so we didn’t share with the other journalists just what we’d witnessed.

And we didn’t even say anything about it in our afternoon video reporting outside the courtroom.

We wanted to consider this a bit. We wanted to cogitate on it.

Because what we’d just seen was a known Scientology spy walk into Danny Masterson’s courtroom with Danny Masterson’s prosecutor.

Now look, we want to be careful about this. We don’t want to do something that causes a problem for either the prosecution or defense. We’re interested in a fair and thorough trial that has the best chance of arriving at an accurate verdict.

So we’re not going to name the Scientology spy we saw in the hallway just yet, even though we’ve confirmed his identity with others who personally knew him.


Here’s what we can tell you. We have written about this person in the past, as well as the complex operations he was involved in.

Scientology has earned its reputation for bullying and retaliation, and for cultivating the friends of former members or other people it considers enemies in order to spy on or intimidate them.

The spy in the hallway is someone we have written about because more than a decade ago, he was recruited to target a well known former Scientologist in a complex, multi-year operation.

Then, more recently, something far more important occurred.

This man’s name came up again in private conversations when we learned that he had been named in attempts at intimidating one of the key witnesses in the Danny Masterson case.

We have talked to this witness and we know that they have been the subject of this intimidation, and that there is independent evidence of it.

This is why we were so stunned to see this Scientology operative, someone we know there is documented evidence was recruited to spy on and intimidate Scientology’s enemies. And he was sitting in the hallway just a few feet away from us.

And then, even more surprisingly, he received a friendly greeting from Deputy DA Mueller and then followed him into the courtroom.

We don’t know what occurred in the courtroom. We were only let in as pool reporter later, and by that time the man had left. We didn’t actually see him leave, and we suspect that he did not emerge again into the hallway. That would imply that we was allowed to leave through the exit used by the staff. But we couldn’t swear to it. It is possible that he might have been able to emerge from the courtroom and pass by us in the hallway, but we were looking for him and didn’t see him.

Yes, we know this is a potentially huge story. If a Scientology spy who was personally involved in intimidating a witness in the Danny Masterson case is now willing to testify about it, the consequences for the Church of Scientology, well, we don’t want to speculate. We just don’t know yet how this is going to turn out.

But that’s what happened on only the first day of the trial, when nothing was supposed to happen at all.

We think Scientology might be in for a bit of bother.

If you missed it yesterday, we sent out this rapid report after the morning’s hearing on the Substack for our supporters. We’re getting good feedback on these videos, even if we feel a bit silly talking at a smartphone in the middle of a sports field outside the courthouse.




Scientology deals with LA mayoral mess with charm offensive

Scientology has a lot to deal with right now, what with Mike Rinder on his publicity tour for his book ‘A Billion Years’ and the two Los Angeles mayoral campaigns trying to outdo each other with how much they think Scientology is a festering boil on the city landscape.

David Miscavige isn’t going to take that sitting down! The church has now put together a slick 10-minute video that tries to make the case that Scientology is the best thing that ever happened to LA.

This thing is really over the top. And it’s so long we struggled to get through it. And that tells you that Scientology is really worried about its reputation in what has historically been its global home. (As we’ve been pointing out for years, however, Scientology’s presence in LA has been steadily waning as the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida gains a more central role.)

We are looking forward to your thoughts on the video. And we hear that some of you are seeing portions of it aired in briefer ads on local broadcast stations, is that right?



Technology Cocktail

“Reverie is the same thing as being wide awake with one’s eyes closed. It is not a special state of being. None at the Foundation now count. The preclear is simply told to close his eyes, the canceller is installed and the preclear is in reverie. Wide awake he could move to any incident he can reach in reverie. Persons who do not go anywhere when told are invariably stuck somewhere on the track although they appear to be in present time. After telling a person to close his eyes, see if he moves on track.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1950




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 as trial begins and Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates on the Danny Masterson trial

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4 [4] Oct 10 [5] Oct 11


— The Underground Bunker Podcast on YouTube

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine


Source Code

“I went to a Picasso show one day with a fellow from Greenwich Village. He was wearing a turtleneck sweater and I was wearing a business suit, and everybody who was coming to the Picasso show was dressed in tails and ermine wraps and evening gowns. This was really swell, it was really upstage…I was interested in the neurosis from which Picasso was probably suffering, but more importantly, in why he was doing it. I was coming to the conclusion that it was just a big experiment, as far as he was concerned, whereby he was testing color and design lines. We were going hot and heavy. This artist would say, ‘Oh, but no! There is so much soul! There’s this! There’s that.’ And I would say, ‘No, it just merely looks to me like he’s got a libido complex or something.’ We got up to the second floor, and he and I had such a falling out about one of the paintings that we reached a static, and we were silent for a moment. We happened to look around and we had about fifty people following us along the line of pictures and listening to us. Some of them were trying hard to look very edified. So I got very interested in the people who were watching the Picasso show and took a series of notes. I wrote an article for the New Yorker on it.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 12, 1951


Avast, Ye Mateys

“THE GLASS: Lowest barometer we’ve ever seen. Got down to 29.27. But it began to rise yesterday even steadily and did not pump (go up and down) which is good as that means HURRICANE and you don’t want to be in a port in the path of one of those. You want to be at sea following Buys Ballot’s law (see Bowditch or other texts), steering away from the center. So we apparently sail on schedule.” — The Commodore, October 12, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“When you identify someone you don’t know as a troll who is trained as a ninja, you might give thanks that you are still breathing without the assistance of paramedics.”



Past is Prologue

1997: Star Magazine reports that Kirstie Alley will marry in a Scientologist-studded ceremony. “Funny lady Kirstie Alley plans to ring in the New Year with a $1 million wedding to lover James Wilder! The ‘Veronica’s Closet’ star wants to tie the knot in early January, as soon as her divorce from Parker Stevenson is final. She and James will exchange vows at the Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Fla. Kirstie’s already a devout follower, but James is a newcomer and has been taking classes at the group’s Hollywood compound. Kirstie’s chartering jets to fly guests in, and is paying for first-class accommodations. Topping the guest list are fellow Scientologists John Travolta–who will give a speech and walk Kirstie down the aisle — and Lisa Marie Presley, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. She’s also shopping for a $3 million waterfront mansion close to the Clearwater Scientology center.”


Random Howdy

“I had really bad nightmares when I was young — one was a nightly reoccurring one that lasted almost a year and almost drove me insane. Something about HR Pufnstuf reminds me of those dreams. My dream would start soon as I laid down because in the dream I was still awake lying in my bed. All of the sudden reptilian hands would shoot up from underneath the end of the bed and grab my legs and pull me underneath the bed dragging me at breakneck speed down a hellish tunnel where creatures were living in the walls to meet my arch nemesis King Frog and his henchman Baby Huey. They would torture me for hours laughing and mocking me.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Jury selection scheduled to begin October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 28.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 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. Hearing scheduled November 17 to argue the arbitration motions.
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.
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.



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] He was a student and teacher at Scientology’s elite boarding schools: Now he’s dishing
[TWO years ago] Bijou Phillips on her husband Danny Masterson: A macho ‘Strong Island’ guy
[THREE years ago] Scientology wants your children: The 1957 lecture they think will convince you
[FOUR years ago] Dave’s shrinkage: Help us determine turnout for Scientology’s IAS 2018 gala
[FIVE years ago] ‘Miss Lovely’ as you’ve never seen her — new photos of Paulette Cooper, war survivor
[SIX years ago] DRONE FLYOVER FINALE: Getting a close look at Scientology’s secret New Mexico compound
[SEVEN years ago] That time Scientology’s Sea Org grunts donned cut-offs and bikinis to fake out L. Ron Hubbard
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: In valleys near and far, it’s time to stand and deliver!
[NINE years ago] TOMKAT PROJECT IN LOS ANGELES: Here’s Your Chance to Help the Show Get to Tinseltown
[TEN years ago] Scientology Metaphysics: How Do Thetans Work?
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Hates Clean Ice: The “Fair Game” Operation That Should Turn Your Stomach


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 2,815 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,320 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,870 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,860 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,751 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,056 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,926 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,031 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,504 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,820 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,386 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,305 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,473 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,053 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,315 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,351 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,066 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,631 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 946 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,121 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,672 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,803 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,141 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,996 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,115 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,471 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,774 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,880 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,278 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,154 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,737 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,232 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,486 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,595 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 12, 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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