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Danny Masterson wants rape charges thrown out, citing our jury foreman interview

[Danny Masterson and his attorney Philip Cohen during the trial]

Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing in Los Angeles, Danny Masterson’s legal team has filed a motion to dismiss his rape charges based largely on what was said in an interview conducted with the jury foreman from the first trial, which ended with a hung jury on November 30.

That interview was conducted by Chris Shelton and your proprietor, and was posted here on December 8.

At the trial, the jury was unable to come to unanimous verdicts on all three counts of forcible rape that Masterson was facing, with splits of 10 to 2 for acquittal (Jane Doe 1), 8 to 4 (Jane Doe 2), and 7 to 5 (Jane Doe 3). The jury foreman told Judge Charlaine Olmedo that those numbers weren’t budging after days of deliberations, and so she declared a mistrial.

A few days later, Shelton learned that the jury foreman’s daughter was a fan of his work and was also a reader of the Underground Bunker, and she encouraged her father to give us the interview.

In the interview, we went through each of the three cases, as well as the testimony of Jane Doe 4, actress Tricia Vessey, to find out what disagreements the jurors had. We were surprised to learn, for example, that the jury had essentially disregarded the Scientology component in the cases, and also the testimony by the prosecution’s expert, Dr. Mindy Mechanic, who explained that women who are attacked by someone they know, or someone they are in a relationship with, will react very differently than women who are attacked by strangers.


But we told the foreman that we were generally impressed that the jury had carefully considered the evidence in the case and had taken their task seriously, even if they could not come to agreement and unanimous verdicts.

Now, Masterson’s attorneys Philip Cohen and Karen Goldstein are trying to convince Judge Olmedo that the juror’s observations, and our comments to him, suggest that a retrial, currently scheduled for March 27, would not change matters and so charges should be dismissed.

Immediately following the pronouncement of a hung jury, the deliberating jurors, as well as the alternate, spoke freely and candidly in the jury room with all trial counsel. The clear sentiment of the jurors, virtually to a person, was that there were significant evidentiary and credibility problems with the government’s case. And while there was disagreement as to the ultimate vote, on one thing the jurors all appeared to agree — no reasonable jury was ever going to come to a unanimous finding of guilt on any count.

Shortly thereafter, on December 8, 2022, the jury foreperson gave a lengthy recorded interview to one of the daily trial commentators, Tony Ortega. In that interview, the foreperson provided specific details as to how the jurors approached and undertook the deliberative process and what evidence was important to their conclusions. The insight provided by the foreperson during this interview confirms what the post-trial discussions of the jurors with all counsel had indicated — this was a conscientious, thoughtful, and deliberate jury which took its job and its individual opinions with all seriousness, and its vote totals resulted from such seriousness rather than from any bullying or browbeating from one or two of its members. And, as a review of the foreperson’s interview reflects, the way in which these deliberations were conducted (deliberations which ultimately consisted of 14 independent and voting jurors) supports exactly what the vote tally reflects — the likelihood of conviction on any charges at a retrial is low.

Cohen later singles out our praise for the juror’s descriptions of how the jury had deliberated.

Even Mr. Ortega (the interviewer and a trial spectator who appeared less than favorable to the defense case throughout his trial commentary) had to commend the jury for how conscientiously it approached its task. Early in the interview, Mr. Ortega told the foreperson, “[I]t’s already obvious to me that you paid very close attention to the details and were back there talking specifically about the details of what you heard on the witness stand…I’m very impressed that you knew all this…”

Mr. Ortega later elaborated, “Well, it sounds like the methods you were using were really, really good.” “[I]t sounds like everyone got a chance to say what they wanted to say, that all the evidence was very thorough. I think the thing people worry about in juries is you end up with one or two people that are really unreasonable and are not participating…But it sounds like you’ve kind of got people on both sides, and that everyone was cooperating and participating.”

Similarly, after hearing the foreperson describe the jury’s process, Mr. Ortega’s co-interviewer, Chris Shelton, stated, “I’m not at all judging you guys for the decision-making process you engaged in. It sounds like you were, you were passionate, you were in there, you were interested, you were doing the work that is expected of you. And I couldn’t ask anything more.”

So Cohen concludes that because this jury took its job seriously and could not convict Masterson, another trial would be a waste of time.

What Cohen does not cite were multiple assertions by the jury foreman that the prosecutor, Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller, could have done a better job presenting the material, and that if he had it might have made a difference. And in a retrial, that’s exactly what the prosecution would take under consideration.

Cohen then runs through each of the cases, citing the issues that the jury foreman had.

Jane Doe 1 testified to Masterson brandishing a pistol during the alleged rape. But neither of the first two LAPD officers who interviewed her mentioned a gun in their reports. And Jane Doe 1 herself does not mention a gun in a 2003 written statement. (This statement, however, was written for the Church of Scientology, and Jane Doe 1 testified that she was instructed by ethics officer Julian Swarz not to include a reference to a gun.) Jane Doe 1’s testimony also differed with the initial LAPD officer about where she received a drink from Masterson, and the 2003 document differed with where she woke up the next day. Photos of Jane Doe 1 in Florida days after the attack appeared to differ from her description of being bruised and in pain.

Jane Doe 2 testified that she had gone to Masterson’s house because she felt pressured by him, but her mother had testified that she felt “excited” to go there, and the jury foreman indicated that this was an important detail to the jurors who voted to acquit. Cohen also points out that Jane Doe 2’s testimony that she feared his being violent contradicted what she told an LAPD detective. He also pointed out the jury foreman was swayed by Cohen’s argument about cross-contamination between the witnesses.

Jane Doe 3’s case was complex because it involved two separate incidents. One of those incidents, which occurred in November 2001, was the basis for the rape charge, but Jane Doe 3 had said in a statement to an LAPD detective that she didn’t “fully remember” that night. The jury foreman noted that this differed from her testimony at trial, when she described the incident in detail. Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 2 had post-incident contacts with Masterson that the jury found troubling, and Jane Doe 3 did not have any “fresh complaint” witnesses that she told about the attack at the time.


Jane Doe 4, Tricia Vessey, is criticized in the motion because she allowed Masterson into her house a month after she alleges that he had initially attacked her, leading to the second incident. And also because, in 2017, she had sent a text message to Christopher Masterson, Danny’s brother, indicating her support when news of the LAPD investigation broke in the press. (In an interview with us, she explained that she feared retaliation from the Mastersons and from Scientology if they believed she was part of the investigation. Part one of her interview, and part two.)

It’s Cohen’s job, of course, to make the argument that a retrial would be useless, and so it’s not surprising that he would cite the jury foreman as an authority on how well a retrial would turn out.

We’re interested in seeing what Mueller’s response is, and we’ll be in the courtroom on Tuesday to hear it firsthand.


Technology Cocktail

“In the field of business efficiency, memory, forgettingness and the posing and resolving of problems are the difference between an ineffective slavey and a powerful executive. With these processes, almost any second-rate file clerk could be moved into a valuable asset, and certainly the moving of a business executive from the lower brackets of ability in memory, forgettingness and posing and resolving problems to an upper bracket might mean the make or break of that business.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1954



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

“Now, I have actually seen auditors get jealous of their preclears simply because the preclear did so well. And the auditor couldn’t rest till he dropped a vase on the preclear’s foot or upset the ashtray or did something. I know of one case — very, very remarkable — of a guy very highly connected, and in fact the source of trouble in the Wichita Foundation, who had a blind man with his sight on and who forcefully and violently kicked the foot of the bed on which he was auditing this blind man. You know, the sight came on and he kicked the foot of the bed. And the shock was considerable there and it took the blind man’s sight off. Nobody else processed the blind man, either. As far as I know he’s blind to this moment.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 6, 1955


Avast, Ye Mateys


“WRITING: My writing hat has backlogged due to storms and ship reorganization. I am trying to get onto it. So much new data has been developed that the recording of if would be 10 full time jobs. Fortunately it is simple in structure.” — The Commodore, January 6, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“David Miscavige is likely to be swept up in a series of mass arrests in the coming weeks/months. There are 163,469 sealed indictments waiting to be unsealed. 12,275 politicians, CEOs, etc., have been quietly forced to resign. Ships are stationed on the east and west coasts, the military is ACTIVE, and Gitmo is waiting. Military Tribunals may try those charged. Q communicates on a military hardened website called 8kun. He communicates to the Anons. If you remember, the Anons made history calling out the Church of Scientology. The Anons ‘never forget’.”


Past is Prologue

1999: Gerry Armstrong posted an open letter to Scientology leader David Miscavige this week, describing new evidence of Scientology’s harassment of him. “You will recall that a cult operative broke into the trunk of my car in 1984 and stole my briefcase which contained about 300 original pages of my art, almost all handwritten or drawn. You will recall that my attorney Julia Dragojevic wrote to the org demanding return, and that your org attorney John Peterson answered, denying the theft and possession of my things. Recently I had the happy opportunity to talk with Jesse Prince about all this. Jesse stated that while inside he too was told by both you and Mark Rathbun about your agent’s theft of my things from the trunk of my car and your having possession of them. Jesse recalled you describing my work as weird writing. You stole them, you know were they are and you can put your hands on them. Now get them back to me, and be known thereuntil as a thief.”


Random Howdy

“Scientologists have had a King Arthur fetish going back to day one. LRH moving to England buying a ‘castle,’ very expected and cliched to say the least. Knights of the Three Card Monte Table, here to save the world.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Status conference scheduled January 10, retrial scheduled March 27.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Plea deadline scheduled for December 16.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to time served with three years supervised release, restitution of $9.7 million.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial hearing December 9.
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 November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
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 February 7.
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] Another Scientology ‘Chase Wave’ eyewitness drops by, and brings a check
[TWO years ago] Danny Masterson’s attorneys scheduled to enter not guilty plea for him today
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s ‘Purif’ detox gets the ‘Reckless Ben’ treatment in video debuting here today
[FOUR years ago] Scientologists told to seize on Australian stabbing death as a recruiting opportunity
[FIVE years ago] Scientology actress Jenna Elfman fully stoked by church’s new expansion push!
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s disgusting secret: Young teens used to interrogate adults about their sex lives
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology becoming a ghost town; ALSO: Illinois man arrested for threatening Miscavige
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton makes it 26 lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab scheme
[NINE years ago] VIDEO LEAK: Scientology’s November IAS Gala, featuring a slimmed-down David Miscavige
[TEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Finds a Better Use for ‘Dianetics’!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology in Turmoil: Debbie Cook’s E-Mail, Annotated


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 2,901 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,406 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,956 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,946 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,837 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,142 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,012 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,117 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,590 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,906 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,472 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,391 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,559 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,140 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,401 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,437 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,152 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,717 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,032 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,207 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,758 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,889 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,227 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,082 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,201 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,557 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,860 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,966 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,364 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,240 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,823 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,318 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,572 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,681 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 6, 2023 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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