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And now we wait: Jury deliberations in the Danny Masterson trial

[Danny Masterson and Bijou Phillips outside court yesterday, photo by @meghanncuniff]

We will be arriving at the courthouse this morning at our usual time, even though we know there’s not going to be a lot for us to do.

Closing arguments were completed yesterday at the Danny Masterson trial in Los Angeles, and we felt that both Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller for the prosecution and attorney Philip Cohen for the defense distinguished themselves. We had some reservations about some of Cohen’s tactics, however, and we spelled that out in yesterday afternoon’s end-of-the-day video, which we have linked and posted below, if you haven’t seen it yet.

In the video, we mentioned that we spoke to journalists who have attended most of the trial with us, and they expressed completely opposite viewpoints. One felt that Mueller had “sealed the deal” with his final arguments; the other felt that there was no question Masterson would be acquitted.

Truth is, we just don’t know. And that’s why we’ll be sitting around the courthouse waiting for a verdict.

Some journalists told us they expect a verdict to come by mid-day today. Others told us they can’t see it coming before tomorrow.


We only know that the jury will be motivated to come up with something by Friday at the latest. None of us wants to extend this thing into Thanksgiving week.

Here’s our plan: We’ll put out a notice on Twitter (@tonyortega94) when we get the word that there’s a verdict. We have been told that we’ll get that word about 30 minutes before Judge Olmedo will have the verdict read.

When the verdict comes, we’ll post something again on Twitter. But then you can expect an update here on Substack.

Just to remind you, Masterson has been charged on three counts of forcible rape under California’s “One Strike” law. Each conviction would carry a penalty of 15 years to life in prison, with 45 years to life if all three are guilty verdicts.

As we’ve pointed out numerous times, however, Deputy DA Mueller explained at a preliminary hearing that it’s the potential life sentences under the One Strike enhancement that allow these cases to be brought — with a potential life sentence, there is no statute of limitations. In order to qualify for that enhancement, there must be “multiple” forcible rapes.

In other words, the DA’s office filed three counts, knowing that it needs at least two guilty verdicts to send Masterson to prison.

Judge Olmedo yesterday, after the jury had left, brought up the question, what do we do if they find guilty on one case, and the enhancement? We’re not sure how a jury could manage to do that, but Judge Olmedo then pointed out, they’ll deal with it then if it happens.

As we’ve said for many days now, when we’ve polled the other journalists in the courtroom, we have received wide disagreement about the likely outcome. Several experienced, very good journalists have told us they feel a conviction is assured. But several other journalists who are just as credentialed tell us they expect Masterson to be acquitted.

We know you’ve been hearing from YouTube experts that the “body language” they see in the courtroom tells them it’s going to go one way or the other. But our discussions with the other journalists suggests that no one really knows anything. So we wait.

As for updates during the day, we will probably be dropping some notes at the site rather than putting out new dispatches on Substack — we know that if we put out an emailed item, it will likely startle people that a verdict has arrived, and we don’t want to risk your ire over false alarms.

As the day progresses, if we get a better sense of how things are going to work, we’ll let you know. We’re going to try to use the waiting time to work on some post-verdict stories. We already have several interviews lined up that we think you are going to find very interesting.


Closing arguments and the chocolate suit


Was it the best sartorial splendor alert of the trial? It was certainly a surprise to see what defense attorney Philip Cohen wore for closing arguments yesterday, and we had plenty to review in our end-of-the-day video. We released it to everyone here at Substack, but we’re linking to it here in case you haven’t seen it. And here’s also the version at our YouTube channel.



Technology Cocktail

“The best communication is by the thetan’s own creation, dispatch and return of dimension points. That which he thus perceives is really real to him and he takes full responsibility for it. He puts out golden clouds of “flitter” in order to so perceive. Simply by putting out, by postulate, this flitter the occluded case can, after several times trying, unmask the black facsimile behind which he is hiding. This is direct thetan communication, the best.” — 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 [28] Lisa Marie Presley breaking news [29] Nov 8, Day Seventeen [30] Nov 9, Day Eighteen [31] Nov 10, Day Nineteen


Source Code

“The only other thing I could tell that you really need to know about this meter is, when it’s all the way up to the vicinity of 6.0 or even into the black, you’re reading a thetan who believes he is dead. Completely aside from the theta bop, these are the readings of a body if it were dead: But the thetan believes he’s dead up that high. I learned this from plants. When plants think they’re dead, man, they rise right up there and there they are. And a plant can conceive that it’s dead long before it departs. It says, ‘I’m dead,’ goes right on up here to 6.0. After that, you get no needle motion. You get nothing.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 16, 1959


Avast, Ye Mateys


“You know, I get an idea of what it must be like for the Space Command Vessel ‘Astra’ to land amongst the Ooglie-Booglies and try to explain their perfectly innocent but super modern procedures for measuring gravity and communicating. They turn on an intercomm and the Ooglie-Booglies go into terror rumours that the Astra keeps live men in little boxes! Even staid old England has it that we deal in black magic! Certainly anything that works as fast as our tech and admin MUST be magical! REASSURANCE is the keynote of showing anyone around this ship. Show them the fire dectors, the gyro room, the electro-log, the two radars, where they are on the chart, how lifeboats work, copies of the SWPB. Feed them well, give them lots of drinks. Whoever is in charge of the guests should be inventive of things to interest them and be REASSURING, noting and cheering up any misunderstoods. Make good friends out of the guests.” — The Commodore, November 16, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Don’t forget that LRH did a lot of research. I.e., why does the body sleep? Because of the photosynthesis cycle? Even if bodies were manufactured, why do cells retain memory in the form of engrams? Hmm. Also if bodies are manufactured you have to have a thetan in them to animate them, yeah? Hence an entity, yeah? Hmmm when people think they are famous well that’s a matter for auditing. The track is very long and there are many similar planets and times and lives operating on the same implants. Before bodies there were thetans and theta traps and war with MEST biengs. I don’t care who thinks what they were and how fantastical it gets just if they blow charge.”


Past is Prologue

1996: The head of Scientology in France and 14 other members were convinced of manslaughter and fraud in connection with the suicide of a Scientologist in 1988. Patrick Vic was being pressured for money for the Purification Rundown and jumped off an apartment building. From UPI: “A court Friday sentenced the former head of the Church of Scientology in France to 18 months in prison for his role in the suicide of a member of the church. The court in the southern city of Lyon also handed Jean-Jacques Mazier a further 18-month suspended sentence and fined him 500,000 francs ($100,000) after convicting him on charges of second degree murder and fraud. The sentence was more severe than that sought by prosecutors, who had demanded a three-year suspended sentence and a 500,000 francs ($100,000) fine. Fifteen other church members received suspended prison terms of eight months to two years for being accessories to fraud. But the court dropped charges against another eight members, including the church’s spokeswoman, Daniele Gounord, and Jean-Paul Chapellet, the former head of the church’s security section.”


Random Howdy

“My wife used to say the reason I was a such a morbid negative weirdo was because of all the horrible stories my dad use to tell me about Korea and WWII and all the other mondo cane shit he saw during his time in the merchant marines. I think she may have been right.”



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] How do we know the ‘Chase Wave’ happened? ‘Aftermath’ guest Mark Fladd: ‘I was part of it’
[TWO years ago] Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing
[THREE years ago] Scientology banned his book and trashed him as an apostate. Here’s his full-throated reply!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ poster boy gets dunked on by yet another irked judge
[FIVE years ago] How Pete Griffiths sued a Scientologist and ended up being vilified by former friends
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s websites try a little too hard to convince you that all is right in crazy town
[SEVEN years ago] Lisa McPherson in Orlando: What her hotel roommate witnessed, and the Slaughter rule
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Get yer boots on for some Scientology line dancing in Austin!
[NINE years ago] Jon Atack: Did Mary Sue Hubbard Doubt Scientology’s Key Experience?
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Big Gamble: “Golden Age of Tech 2” Is Here!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Watching Gets Fancy!


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 2,850 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,355 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,905 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,895 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,786 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,091 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,961 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,066 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,539 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,855 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,421 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,340 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,508 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,088 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,350 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,386 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,101 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,666 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 981 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,156 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,707 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,838 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,176 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,031 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,150 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,506 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,809 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,915 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,313 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,189 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,772 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,267 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,521 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,630 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 16, 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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