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Prosecution in Danny Masterson trial scheduled to rest after odd turns on Wednesday

[Philip Cohen and his client, Danny Masterson]

The prosecution in the Danny Masterson trial is supposed to rest its case today, we think.

We say “we think” because so often during this trial what we’ve been told is coming turns out to change. But it’s our understanding that after finishing up with actress Tricia Vessey this morning, the government will rapidly try to get through a couple more witnesses (Jane Doe 1’s mother and Rachel Smith) and then rest in time for the lunch break, when the jury will be sent home for a three-day weekend.

Perhaps the prosecution’s case will be held over until Monday, we just don’t know. But before this morning’s testimony resumes, we want to go back over a couple of things that happened yesterday which we can see left readers with questions.

First, we know that you are just as disappointed as we are that the prosecution has decided not to call Lisa Marie Presley after Judge Charlaine Olmedo limited her testimony. Deputy DA Reinhold Muller had said in court Tuesday that Presley planned to testify that Scientology had instructed her to dissuade Jane Doe 1 from going to the LAPD after her April 2003 sexual assault by Masterson. As we pointed out, there’s another name for that: obstruction of justice. And Presley’s attorney was apparently so concerned that she would be testifying about a crime she herself had taken part in, he told Mueller that if she was asked about it on the stand, Lisa Marie would invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Wowsers. Mueller said he told the attorney that the statute of limitations would probably keep her safe, but he offered her immunity so she would testify. She then gave a recorded statement to the DA’s office on Friday. But Judge Olmedo ruled that Presley couldn’t testify about Scientology’s role, and that she could only offer evidence of “prior consistent statements” that Jane Doe 1 might have made to her. She said that the testimony about Scientology would be more appropriate for the civil lawsuit that was filed by the Jane Does in 2019, and that it was irrelevant to Masterson’s criminal case.


Well, we see her point. But the prosecution apparently decided that there wasn’t enough left for Presley to testify to that would be worth putting her on the stand. Yesterday morning, they announced the bad news that they wouldn’t be calling her at all.

But the most important thing that happened yesterday was that Tricia Vessey, known as Jane Doe 4 or “Tricia V.” in court, took the stand to testify. (Tricia has given the Underground Bunker permission to identify her.)

She was allowed to testify as what’s known as a “past bad acts witness,” and Danny Masterson is not being charged on her allegations. But you know if you were following our updates on Monday that the defense had fought bitterly to keep her out of the trial altogether. And after Judge Olmedo did allow her in, the defense tried to limit her testimony to only one of two sexual assault incidents, both of which allegedly took place in 1996.

The reason that defense attorney Philip Cohen gave for not wanting the second incident in was that of the two, it suggested an inference of drugging. He argued that the jury has heard enough from the first three Jane Does about becoming mysteriously intoxicated after Masterson gave them drinks that it would be prejudicial to pile on a fourth. And Judge Olmedo, after overcoming his strenuous objections about allowing Vessey in at all, gave him that small victory and told Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller that he could only ask Vessey about the initial incident.

In that incident, which she described on the stand yesterday morning, she said that the cast of a film had a wrap party at the restaurant La Poubelle (which is on Franklin Avenue across the street from the Scientology Hollywood Celebrity Centre), and then went to Masterson’s house which was then in Laurel Canyon. She said she had a couple of glasses of wine at the restaurant, several more at Masterson’s house, and also took a hit on a marijuana “blunt.” By that time, she was “lightly drunk” and sleepy, and she and another cast member, Justin Pierce, found an empty bedroom to get some sleep. She said that Pierce took the bed, and she simply went to sleep on the floor. Some time later, Masterson came into the room and began dragging her away on the pretense that he was protecting her from Justin. (Sadly, we can’t ask Justin for his version. He ended his life in a room at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas in 2000.)

Vessey testified that she remembers Masterson carrying her down the hall with his arms around her waist, and then later coming to and finding that he was on top of her and was inside her.

We can tell you that we found her testimony to be riveting. She did not rush, she seemed very thoughtful about how she described her memories, and when she got emotional a few times it had a lot of impact.

Cohen, however, was livid. He had an epic tantrum after the jury was pulled out of the courtroom, claiming that Mueller had elicited testimony from Vessey that there was a suggestion of drugging in this first incident. He also complained bitterly that she had been allowed to report something Justin had said. We were pretty confused, because we didn’t really see that there was much evidence of either, and we still don’t after looking back at our notes. Judge Olmedo denied his motion for a mistrial, saying that the reference to feeling intoxicated that Vessey had made was not what Cohen made it out to be. (We agreed with her.) Cohen believed that a line had been crossed, but if it had, it really wasn’t very obvious to the court or this observer.

Anyway, Mueller then began to lead her to another incident that took place some time later, and Judge Olmedo cleared the courtroom to ask him about it. Was he leading Vessey into the second incident, which she ruled on Monday that he could not do? No, he explained, he wanted to ask her about an odd thing that Masterson did at a friend’s house, that he had blocked a doorway while Vessey was in a bathroom. Mueller just wanted to get that small act of intimidation on the record. So we resumed, and Mueller led Vessey through that and said “no further questions.”

Then something very odd happened. Before he could begin cross-examination, Cohen asked for a sidebar. There was a brief discussion, and then Judge Olmedo announced that direct examination would continue and Deputy DA Mueller went back to the podium.

He then continued questioning Vessey, and began leading her into the second incident, the one that Cohen had fought so hard on Monday to keep out.

We can tell you that the reporters were looking at each other, wondering what was going on. But into the second incident they went: About a month after the first one, Vessey said that Masterson had suddenly showed up where she was living in a vehicle with several other guys, who dropped him off. He had with him a flask, and offered her a few sips as they went up to her apartment. About 15 to 20 minutes later she then felt suddenly very intoxicated, and she then remembers him pulling her pants off, and then later being on top of her and inside her.

Not only had she been allowed to testify to yet another sexual assault by Masterson, but also one that carried the implication of drugging. What was going on?

It seemed pretty obvious to us reporters that the decision to allow testimony on the second incident could only have come from Cohen. One of our colleagues followed him into the hallway at the end of the day, pressing him for an answer on that, but she said he refused to say anything. We also followed Mueller and Deputy DA Anson through the hallway, and they also would not give us a hint as to what was said in the sidebar.


Why did Cohen decide to allow testimony on the second incident? He didn’t say, but we suspect it might have had something to do with his epic blowup earlier in the day. Remember, he believed that a line had been crossed during testimony of the first incident, and that might have convinced him he might as well allow the second incident to come in. He certainly focused more of his subsequent cross-examination on that second incident in the afternoon. Namely, he asked Vessey questions about why she would allow Masterson in her apartment after what she had described happened a month earlier in the first incident at his house.

Her cross-examination will continue this morning.

The other small mystery we knew some of you had questions about was the woman in the audience who caused a bit of a stir. She had introduced herself to us as a reader of the Bunker when she first arrived in the courtroom in the morning. We chatted with her at lunch, and she described wanting to come see the trial for herself after reading about it here. In the late afternoon, she was sitting in the audience on the side near the jury taking notes, and the bailiff had come over and took her notebook away.

Judge Olmedo, after sending home the jury for the day, asked the woman to stay while clearing the rest of the audience, which included all of us reporters and the Masterson family and friends. When the woman emerged, she was surrounded by reporters who wanted to know what happened. She said everything was fine, the judge was very gracious, but she didn’t want to say more.

It turned out that she wanted to give the story to us. We saw her outside the courthouse and she told us that the bailiff for some reason had become suspicious because she had been looking at the jury and taking some notes. We have a feeling the court is on a heightened sense of security because of a certain organization with a certain reputation that is tangentially involved with this case, if you know what we mean. But she said that Judge Olmedo apologized, that of course a member of the public can come in, take notes, and sure, observe the jury. She had done nothing wrong. And she said she will probably come back to court today.

We certainly will be there as well, and you’ll get some reports coming at you later today. Here is the short video message to our subscribers at the end of an eventful day in court. We’re releasing it to everyone this morning, and here’s also the version at our YouTube channel.



Technology Cocktail

“It was my task to get workable techniques which could be used on more than one individual and techniques which could produce rapidly a high level of effectiveness in Man. We have those techniques. I do not personally see any reason to go on looking for faster techniques because my experience tells me that they probably do not exist. We are at the roof of this universe. There are hotter techniques, but not for MEST universe. I know three principle data beyond those I have released. It is not likely that I will divulge them, for they are not important so far as the job we have to do is concerned.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1953




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 Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


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 [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— 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: Day One [6] Oct 12: Day Two [7] Oct 13: Day Three [8] Oct 17: Day Four [9] Oct 18: Day Five [10] Oct 19: Day Six [11] Special interview with Chris Shelton, Oct 19 [12] Oct 20: Day Seven [13] Oct 21: Day Eight [14] First week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [15] Oct 24: Day Nine [16] Oct 25: Day Ten [17] Oct 27: Day Eleven [18] Oct 28: Day Twelve [19] Second week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [20] Halloween special [21] Nov 2: Day Thirteen [22] Nov 3: Day Fourteen [23] Nov 4: Day Fifteen [24] Third week in review [25] Nov 5, Saturday special [26] Nov 6, Sunday special [27] Nov 7, Day Sixteen



Source Code

“Every man there is, is a universe. You talk about God: The most you will know about God for probably a long time to come is you. If you want to know what God is all about, or if you want to know what you’re all about, you want to know what the fourth dynamic is all about, you consult the essential elements of ‘you-ness.’ Not buried, unconscious, submotivated, libido-icated, bypassed symbolizations of the left hind ruddy rod, which we therefore graph and say, ‘It’s all mysterious and you can’t understand you, so therefore we can own you.’ We’re not running that operation.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 10, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“We may or may not have been responsible for the demise of the scandal sheet l’Opinion which was suddenly shot down and seized, statedly because it had printed adverse materials on corruption in the government. This was a vehicle used by MI-6 (British Intelligence), and CIA, the US agency that specializes in false reports. We have clashed with l’Opinion a few times in the past and have generally gotten the better of them. We were about to clash with them again but why bother with a dead body. The other newspapers in that area have now been nationalized and the former company which ran them has been bought out or pushed out by the government.” — The Commodore, November 10, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“We have very good results with Skype processing. There are cases who work better by Skype, there are other cases which prefer processing in person. Wins of a PC is the only criteria of results of processing. What is really bad is when one person starts to make another person wrong for delivery processing, using Skype or not. And this is a real suppression. Skype processing formally is a substitute at havingness scale. It is not too low at this scale. And it WORKS good for many, many, many PCs.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Ray Randolph received email from Cartoonist Jim Berry, who was a target of Scientology for some of his cartoons about Scientology. “The subject of Scientology brought back upsetting memories. Years ago a reader sent me an article about Scientology that appeared in a northern Florida newspaper (Tallahassee?). It was about how the ‘church’ operated with respect to dealing with the people on their ‘enemies list.’ It seems I did one or two cartoons that they didn’t like. In the piece there was reference to ‘Operation ‘Berry’s World,’ or some such title. It told about the leader of the church of Scientology urging all of its members to write and call newspapers across the country and complain about my feature – telling editors and publishers to drop ‘Berry’s World.’ This was an organized effort to kill my career and I had no idea that it was happening. It’s a wonder my feature survived the onslaught. I decline to write anything further about this subject.”



Random Howdy

“Past life Scientologists have to do the Basics all over again just like everybody else. Fair is fair, ya know?”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial began October 11 in Los Angeles.
‘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 March 1 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 at least through December 13.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Case settled ahead of scheduled Dec 6 trial.
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] Jim Dincalci, 1946-2021: Medical officer to Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard on the high seas
[TWO years ago] Trouble in the Scientology FreeZone! Even ‘Indies’ are suing each other
[THREE years ago] Scientology promotes its expensive propaganda TV channel one flier at a time
[FOUR years ago] Bent Corydon on Scientology’s Sunday night massacre: ‘We all clapped at the right places’
[FIVE years ago] If Trump is serious, he has a clear path to go at Scientology — through his Treasury Secretary
[SIX years ago] L. Ron Hubbard on the run: When the Daily Mail was hounding Scientology’s founder in ’66
[SEVEN years ago] Narconon is dead, long live Narconon! How Scientology solved its drug rehab addiction
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton’s next move: Consolidating his Narconon litigation into one big case
[NINE years ago] Scientology Attacks Garcia Filing; Marc Headley Schools Clearwater’s Mayor
[TEN years ago] A Scientology Knockoff That Considers Children ‘Sexy’? Great Xenu’s Ghost!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Thursday Stats: This Week’s Roundup!


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 2,844 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,349 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,899 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,889 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,780 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,085 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,955 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,060 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,533 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,849 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,415 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,334 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,502 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,082 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,344 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,380 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,095 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,660 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 975 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,150 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,701 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,832 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,170 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,025 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,144 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,500 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,803 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,909 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,307 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,183 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,766 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,261 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,515 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,624 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 10, 2022 at 09:00

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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