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Danny Masterson wanted to delay trial to August: See how Judge Olmedo responded

[Judge Charlaine Olmedo and defendant Danny Masterson]

Last week, there was a late-requested hearing in the Danny Masterson criminal case. Masterson wasn’t there, but his defense attorney Philip Cohen was, and he was asking for the April 17 retrial to be moved back to August.

The reason? Cohen told Judge Charlaine Olmedo that her rulings of just two days before, allowing a fifth accuser in the case (Kathleen Jenkins), as well as Claire Headley as an expert on Scientology, would require more time for the defense to prepare for these new witnesses.

Judge Olmedo denied that request and the start of jury selection is still set for April 17.

But even though nothing changed, we were still curious to hear Cohen’s arguments for a delay, and Judge Olmedo’s reasons for not granting it. So we obtained a transcript from the hearing, and we thought you’d be interested in it as well.


Judge Olmedo had Cohen begin things with his reasons for a delay. Here is what he said…

Cohen: Thank you. I appreciate the court allowing me to file and to argue. I do believe there are a number of grounds that I did not state at our prior hearing, and those are covered in my declaration, because they were work-product information. The only new bit of information that I found out, and I believe it’s the last paragraph of the declaration, is the schedule of an expert. And the Court may or may not remember, it’s one of the same experts that we had named in the first trial who is prepped and knows the case.

I really don’t have a lot more to add, your honor. I would appeal to the court from one standpoint. Aside from the factual things laid out in my declaration, there is a significant change in how this case needs to be prepared. There is truly a, I believe, a necessary reworking. At the first trial the word “Scientology” never came out of my mouth, literally, in any question that I asked, and I don’t think in this trial that can be avoided in any way. The entire presentation needs to be reevaluated, number one.

Number two, for all the reasons stated in the declaration, there is absolutely tangible investigative work and, as I indicated, I believe, tangible witnesses that need to be subpoenaed and/or produced at trial. I think the biggest takeaway I would try to articulate is that when I and Danny and Ms. Goldstein indicated back in November that we were ready for a March trial date, it was based, through all parts, that it was going to be substantially similar to what we just tried.

For all the reasons I argued the other day and put in my motion, from my position, it is not substantially similar at all. But for that change, I’m ready to go, and this motion would have never been filed. I have grave concerns as to how the defense presentation can be prepared, can be effective and can be presented based upon what now has been, again, this significant change.

I balance all of that versus the detriment to a continuance, and I always try to look at things from the other side’s perspective to kind of know what I should be arguing and what I should anticipate. Trials are difficult for everybody. Trials are difficult for witnesses. Trials are difficult for named victims. Trials are difficult for lawyers. Trials are difficult for a judge. Trials are always difficult, whether they go tomorrow, whether they go six months, whether they go any — trials are difficult emotionally, physically. I agree with all of that.

But I think at the bedrock of this whole system, first and foremost, is the due process of the defendant, first and foremost. And not just compelling but a reason that overwhelms that, I think that’s what should carry the day. I hope the court has been involved with me in court long enough. I am not looking just for an excuse not to try this case. I am not afraid of going to trial in any case or in this case. Again, but for a number of rulings in this case two days ago, this request would never have been made. I truly, truly believe there is a need for it, and that’s why I made it.

Judge Olmedo then asked Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller for his response.

Mueller: Your honor, the People are opposed to any additional continuance at this point. Obviously, the People are not aware of whatever additional investigation needs to be done that has been filed under seal. But at least from the information that I have, it appears that much of the argument or the thrust of the argument has to do with the additional 1108 Kathleen J., the toxicology expert and Claire Headley. These are all…

Judge Olmedo then interrupted, asking for the dates that the defense first learned about each of these potential witnesses. There was some discussion as it was established that Masterson’s defense was first told about Jenkins and Headley before the first trial began last October. The defense was also told that the prosecution was considering bringing in a toxicology expert before the first trial. And as for the Rape Trauma Syndrome expert, Dr. Barbara Ziv, her name was submitted on March 15, but she was replacing the earlier expert, Dr. Mindy Mechanic who had largely covered similar ground in the first trial. Mueller then explained why the prosecution was not interested in further delay.

Mueller: We have had communication with our victims. We had conversations with them that there is going to be a potentially a defense request to continue this. I think, at that point, we were thinking it might be out until June. So we had that conversation with them.

We had a two of the three named victims who were opposed to any further continuance. So based on that, again, with the information I have, obviously not knowing what’s under seal, the People would be opposed to further continuance.

Judge Olmedo then asked for Cohen’s reply.

Cohen: Let me start with a conversation — I made a recommendation to the Court before the ruling two days ago. I don’t know if the Court recalls or not, but I had indicated to the Court, depending upon what the ruling was, I was going to be asking for a continuance. And I represented to the Court I had spoken with the People, and they did not object. And then Ms. Anson had indicated the caveat that she had a trip in June.


The reason why that’s real important is as of that time, just prior to the Court’s ruling, the Government apparently believed that a continuance was a righteous request. The Government indicated, we don’t object to your request. Based, I assume, one, upon courtesy; two, they appreciate what has happened in this case. So why they have now taken the position they do object when, two days ago, they took the position that they did not object? I can only assume — because it’s the only reason we’ve been given — is that because two of the three Jane Does object.

Now, that being said. I understand Marsy’s Law. I understand the purpose of it, and I understand it tries to do a lot of good things. But there is nothing in Marsy’s Law by the language of the California Constitution, by case law, there is nothing in Marsy’s Law that says a victim’s desire in terms of a trial date supersedes, overrides, is more compelling than a defendant’s due process. I think that’s really important to put out there. Everybody’s inconvenienced at some point in trial, all of us. That’s not what guides a trial date. What guides a trial date is due process.

Number two, I understand and appreciate Mr. Mueller’s representation the Jane Does want to get this done. I don’t think I was speaking out of turn, and I don’t think I was factually incorrect when I said the turnaround time on a new trial following a mistrial in this case is unbelievably fast. I’ve tried cases following a mistrial more than a few times. Typically, especially on a case of this gravity, typically it’s not unusual to have six, eight, 12 months before a retrial, for a whole slew of reasons.

So to take — for the government to take the position that there is something so onerous about the delay in this particular case from November 30th to the request of August, I don’t think is factually correct. I don’t think it’s logistically correct. I don’t think it’s equitably correct. I can’t speak for anyone else or the Court’s experience. From my limited experience, it’s the fastest I’ve ever been asked to or presumably gone to trial between hung jury and a retrial by far, by months.

Turning to the reasons laid out by the Government, I appreciate the Government does not think the defense needs more time. I don’t know where that conclusion comes from. Proving a negative is the hardest thing someone can do in the law and in life, quite frankly. And now to prove a negative with respect to Kathleen J. — and, yes, your honor, we did get a significantly redacted report in September. But what did that report say on it? It’s in the declaration. “We do not intend to calling this witness.”

I got a million other things I’m dealing with prior to the first trial. I get a report that says, “We do not intend on calling this witness.” My thought of that report stopped then as soon as I read that. What did we then obtain just a week ago, perhaps, a week and a half ago is an hour-and-20-minute recording of the interview that led to that summary report. And the recording, I would proffer to the Court — and, again, it’s articulated in my declaration — the recording raises a number of issues that are never mentioned in any report, at least the report that we have, a number of issues which I spelled out for the court.

So to conceptualize this case of when did you first hear of Kathleen, being September, and somehow that has any nexus between when the government announced that Kathleen would be called at this case when we then got actually substantive information about Kathleen, two very different things. With respect to Claire Headley, it’s kind of the same posture. Yes, we had Claire Headley’s name and CV. Upon receipt of Claire Headley’s name and CV and I’m preparing for trial, this is the first trial. As the Court knows, I came in as lead trial counsel somewhat latter on in the process, quite later on in the process.

You look at the preliminary hearing transcript, and the Court made it very clear in the preliminary hearing transcript that this case was not going to be about Scientology. This was a simple case regarding these three allegations. The court then made 402 rulings before the first trial, and it was absolutely abundantly clear that this case was not going to be about Scientology and that neither Claire Headley nor any other Scientology witness was going to be called. So what happens to that notification of Claire Headley? That goes into the other pile because there is all this other stuff to do. The first time that the, that the defense became aware that the court’s prior rulings, some of them were significantly going to change was, obviously, two days ago.

There is a whole slew of information that needs to be obtained, reviewed, learned to such an extent that it can then be worked with with what’s been proffered as an expert witness. From my perspective, that in and of itself, in and of itself is good cause for a continuance under these circumstances. With respect to the toxicologist, Mr. Mueller indicated that the defense had put a toxicologist on their witness list before the first trial. Absolutely we did. I don’t know what the connection is between that and the fact that just yesterday, for the first time in this entire case, pretrial, first trial, post-trial, pre-second trial, just yesterday I was given the name of a toxicologist that the government intends to call.

As we talked about the other day, cross-examining an expert is a whole different world than cross-examining a non-expert or lay witness. So, again, I’m trying to understand. And if Mr. Mueller wants to interrupt me, please do. I’d like to have a conversation rather than just give a speech. But I’m really trying to understand what the government believes is the detriment. You have a — I think at least people would call me a decent attorney who works pretty hard…

Judge Olmedo: It’s not the Government’s belief. It’s the Court’s belief. And even if the parties stipulated to a continuance, it’s subject to the court’s discretion. The stipulation, by itself, doesn’t create good cause. I would leave that argument to the side and just argue to me your good cause.

Cohen: I understand that. But I think it’s important to know or try to discuss — we’ve got all these things on one side. What’s on the other side? You know, this is not a year-old case from mistrial to new trial. There has not been all these prior continuances for this or that. This is significant new information. The defense is acting — hopefully the Court believes — in absolute good faith. It’s not just to delay, delay, delay to be dilatory.

There was never, ever an indication from me that I was not absolutely ready to go on the April date before this case became something much different than it was. So that’s what puzzles me. And I was, way too late last night working on this, and I just kept trying to think: What is the reason to deny it? And I don’t know what that is given the stakes in this case, given what we’re dealing with, given this new information, given the work that absolutely needs to be done and I don’t think could be done in order to properly prepare.

Judge Olmedo: All right. Thank you. All right. Both sides submit?


Mueller: Submit.

Cohen: Thank you.

Judge Olmedo then began her lengthy ruling.

Judge Olmedo: OK. The court incorporates by reference all of the case law cited in the March 28th written, my March 28th written order, my findings and rulings contained within that written order regarding the motions in limine and the general case law as it relates to continuances. In my written order, I specifically address the issue of continuances. I am also going to be making the following additional findings and orders:

First, in both the moving papers and arguments, there is discussion of my past rulings and words, and I will address this more specifically in my order. However, my words, my rulings, my orders are explicit, and oftentimes how they are summarized is not true to the actual wording of the order and/or finding. For any reviewing court, if there is one, I stress that my words, orders, and findings accurately reflect the record and the intention behind my findings and orders.

This is one of the reasons that I’ve started providing some written orders so there can be no misunderstanding or question as to what I’m ruling and how I’m ruling and why I’m ruling the way I am. Second, one thing I have noticed and I have not commented previously is that Mr. Cohen is usually the attorney who is before the court. However, the court has noted on most of the pleadings I’ve received that there are three attorneys of record representing Mr. Masterson, that being Ms. Shawn Holley and Ms. Goldstein.

So I’m a little perplexed why we discuss solely Mr. Cohen’s need or work product or efficiency when there are still other — two other attorneys one who belongs to a large law firm. In fact, we have a paralegal from Ms. Holley’s law firm who has been here throughout. We have a paralegal here. I’m not sure which law firm. She is shaking her head — not Ms. Holley’s. We have a paralegal. So there are other attorneys here, and, presumably, there is additional support aside from those three attorneys who might assist with whatever work the defense feels that they need to do to get ready for trial.

Third, the defense asserts that this case has changed dramatically as a result of the court’s rulings on Tuesday, March 28th on 402 motions brought by both sides. To be clear, there are four witnesses the court ruled may testify who did not testify in first trial. The first is Kathleen J. Who is an 1108 witness, the second is Claire Headley, a purported expert and former Scientologist. The third is Dr. Ziv, a purported expert regarding rape trauma syndrome and other subjects that were covered by mostly — obviously not all — but mostly covered by Mindy Mechanic, the expert in the first trial.

At least for purposes of Tuesday, there was identification of an LAPD toxicologist who would discuss date-rape drugs generally, nothing specific as relates to this case. And it’s that name that’s been provided to the defense yesterday, which would be March 29th. So let’s look at first Scientology evidence, and then I’ll go through each of the witnesses. In the first trial…

Deputy DA Ariel Anson: Your honor, I’m so sorry to interrupt. If I may ask: Is the Court going to start talking about all the evidence that’s going to come out?

Judge Olmedo: No.

Anson: OK.

Judge Olmedo: OK. With regard to the first trial in the court’s 402 ruling that was on October 4th, the court didn’t just allow Scientology evidence for one purpose as it relates to delayed reporting. The Court made a very explicit order that found that Scientology evidence may come in for a number of reasons. And I’m reading directly from the October 4th transcript:

“To explain, one, the victim’s delaying reporting the crimes to LAPD or authorities outside of Scientology; two, the victim’s credibility on the stand and any fear of reprisal such as harassment or excommunication for reporting the crimes to outside authority; Three, the victims’ conduct before the crimes charged including why the victims were at the defendant’s house, how they knew the defendant, the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the victim; And the victims’ conduct during the charged crimes including accepting drinks from the defendant and submitting to defendant’s verbal commands and the victims’ conduct after the charged crimes including staying with or contacting defendant, going to Scientology officials for assistance and delaying the reporting of the charged crimes to the police.


Scientology evidence is also relevant to evaluating the victims’ credibility on the stand as they expressed a fear of retaliation and excommunication from family and friends. Scientology evidence is also relevant to the defense proffered evidence including the admission of evidence of the civil suit filed by the victims against Scientology, David Miscavige and the defendant, the settlement agreement signed by Jane Doe 1. And defendant as well as to evaluate the credibility of the defense witnesses who are also members of the Scientology organization presumably.

So that was my ruling in the first trial. My ruling and my order is now that Scientology is admissible for the following purposes:

A, to explain the victims’ delaying reporting to the charged crimes including reports made to individuals within the Scientology organization and their response to those crimes, including any correspondence and/or documents; B, to explain the victims’ belief that Scientology prohibits them from reporting crimes by other Scientologists in good standing to an outside, non-Scientologist law enforcement.

This includes the belief that Scientologists hold disdain for the outside law enforcement and secular court systems; C, to explain the victims’ fear of retaliation, fear of being declared a suppressive person and fear of harassment experienced after reporting the charged crimes to outside law enforcement; D, to explain the victims’ actions before during and after the charged incidents and relevance to the charged incidents; E, to explain all witnesses,’ prosecution and defense, ties to Scientology organization, past and present, in order to understand the nature and context of the relationships between the individuals testifying before the jury; F, to explain the discrepancy between [Jane Doe 1]’s first statement as written under the direction of and supervision by Scientology officials and [her] later statements made free from any direct and immediate Scientology influence; And, G, expert testimony regarding relevant, regarding Scientology relevant to the above-listed categories and as further set forth in this record.

So with regard to the Court’s order on Scientology evidence, there has been little change in the Court’s ruling on Scientology evidence. And I will address Claire Headley because I do address that as expert testimony in just a moment. Accordingly, the Court finds this does not justify a continuance of the trial date. My orders are very similar between what was allowed in the first trial and what will be allowed in the second trial.

Now, let’s go through the witnesses that the defense claims needs, or justifies a continuance. First is Kathleen J., the 1108 evidence Discovery regarding Kathleen J. was provided to defense — or her name and a police report prior to the first trial which was October 11th of 2022. And I think now it’s been indicated that the Toronto police report was provided September 2022. This notice alone afforded defense plenty of time to perform whatever investigation he so chose. By defendant’s own assertion at our hearing two days ago, an inquiry to Canada for documents would take one to two months and, even then, documents might not be turned over.

Thus, even if you were to use the date of March 6th of 2023, the date of the People’s email regarding explicit written notice for the retrial, 30 to 60 days from that date would make the documents possibly produced by April 6th to May 6th. The court did grant a short continuance for the defense in the trial date from April 11th to April 17th. In the first trial, eight days passed from the commencement of jury trial voir dire to opening statements. Using that same time frame as a guide, opening statements in this case would likely start approximately April 25th. It is right now March 30th.

We will still be in the early stages of the People’s case by the time 60th day passes had defendant sent his inquiry out March 6th, the day he received the People’s email. This, of course, assumes that the country of Canada would, in fact, turn over the requested documents, something that even the defense asserts is in no way certain. Thus, it is it is speculative whether or not the items requested from Canada would be turned over at all. The court finds that the defense had proper notice well before October 2022 and that it is speculative whether the items sought will even be available. Accordingly, this does not justify a continuance of the current trial date.

With regard to Claire Headley, who was a former member of Scientology, to testify as an expert on Scientology, the discovery regarding Claire Headley was provided to the defense prior to October 11th of 2022 around the same time frame of the first trial, that being her name and a CV. This notice afforded defense plenty of time to perform whatever investigation he so chose. In excluding this proffered testimony in the first trial, the court’s previous ruling, in fact, found that Scientology evidence was relevant and admissible and beyond the knowledge of the jury.

However, the court previously found that the witnesses, Jane Does 1 through 3, could explain the Scientology policies at issue in this case. Thus, pursuant to 352 in the first trial, the court denied the previous request to admit this testimony. That decision was based upon the mistaken belief that the defense would be consent as had been presented at the preliminary hearing. Only after the commencement of trial and through cross-examination of the victims did it become clear to the Court, and confirmed by the defense, that the defense was now asserting that the questioned incidents had never occurred at all, rather than consisting of consensual sexual activity.

This change in defense strategy, unbeknownst to the court at the time of the court’s ruling on the 402’s for the first trial, resulted in a change of the court’s evaluation under 352, probative value versus prejudicial effect. The broad charge of fabrication in all aspects of the victims’ testimony by the defense makes Claire Headley’s testimony far more probative than prejudicial. The defense has had notice of her status as a People’s expert witness for over half a year. The Court finds defense had proper notice before October 2022. Accordingly, this does not justify continuance of the trial date.

Dr. Barbara Ziv who is proposed to be a Rape Trauma Syndrome expert. On October 4th of 2022, the Court ruled that expert testimony regarding Rape Trauma Syndrome, short-term and long-term memory implications from alcohol consumption and victims’ counterintuitive behavior was admissible. Dr. Mechanic did, in fact, testify in the first trial on these subject matters, and the defense cross-examined on these same subject matters. Thus, the only issue defendant raises is not that he needs more time to prepare for expert testimony other than indicating that because drugs are now added to this testimony, that that necessitates far more evaluation. The Court would disagree with that characterization.

But what defense is really asserting is that he needs more time to prepare specifically for this expert who will testify to the same general topics and subject matter as admitted in the first trial. To justify his need for a continuance, one of the things the defense said he needed was the transcripts — this was two days ago at our hearing date — is that dr. Ziv, needs the transcripts of Dr. Ziv’s prior testimony in unrelated prior cases.

The People, first of all, are under no obligation to provide this type of discovery unless it constitutes Brady material and is within their possession, and the defendant has failed to make any showing of this whatsoever. Pursuant to penal code section 1054.1, there is no obligation on behalf of the People to provide this requested information. While the defendant may wish to obtain all 216 transcripts of previous trial testimony from around the country, the court notes that an expert’s specific and case-related testimony in a previous, unrelated case without more is irrelevant in the current case, and she would likely not be allowed to testify to such prior cases under 352.


With regard to the need for a defense expert to testify to counter this testimony as it relates to drugging or date-rape drugging, the court will accommodate a defense request to take a defense witness out of order prior to any travel plans. As I said, we should be in the People’s case-in-chief by April 25th, which would leave about three weeks of trial time before the expert may be out of the jurisdiction. And so we can take him out of order. The court finds the defense had proper notice of Dr. Ziv’s testimony. First, the subject matter of her testimony was known well before and presented in the first trial. As for Dr. Ziv’s particular credentials, defendant was notified on March 15th of 2023.

Trial will commence on April 17th of 2023. That is that is more than the 30 days required by 1054.7. The court finds this does not justify a continuance of the trial date. Finally, as to the LAPD toxicologist regarding date rape drugs generally, as I understand it, the expert would testify to just the general nature of date-rape drugs, how they’re ingested and their effects or impacts on individuals.

In the first trial, the Court did allow in evidence testimony from the victims regarding beverages provided by the defendant, how they felt after consuming the beverages, the impact on their ability to perceive and recount the events of the evening and ability to move or control their bodies. At the 402 hearing of April 4th, 2022, the Court specifically held regarding the drugging of the victims that, on page 38 regarding the motion to exclude the that victims may have been drugged, that is denied.

The People may introduce that insofar as the victims may testify as to what they consumed, how they felt afterwards and how that impacted their ability for speech, thought, physical action, and memory. And later on, the Court also held the evidence is directly relevant both to explain the victims’ conduct, before, during, and after the alleged incidents as well as to explain their ability to perceive and ability to relate what they perceive.

Finally, it’s relevant in judging their credibility. The Court did address that topic specifically in its 402’s in the first trial. Like the Rape Trauma Syndrome expert, testimony regarding possible drugging was admitted in the first trial.· what is new here is the expert will testify as to the general features of date rape drugs and its effects. The defense may choose to hire his own expert to testify differently than the general features and effects of date rape drugs and, perhaps, can answer a different hypothetical. But without more, the defense has failed to show how he is prejudiced in his trial preparation for this witness such that a continuance is needed.

Moreover, the defendant has, in fact, received notice of this witness’s testimony. Likely, this witness will testify well after 30 days from yesterday’s date making April 29th be the 30th day, and that is notice that complies with 1054.7. With regard to the reason why — and I think that was brought up by the defense — why are we going forward on such a quick time frame. The Court would disagree with counsel that this is, in fact, quick and also that due process controls all.

Certainly, due process is an extremely important consideration, but it’s one that gets balanced against a number of other constitutional rights. Let’s first look at the history of continuances. This case was filed in June of 2020. So that would make June of 2023 three years since that has passed, and it’s regarding incidents that occurred in 2000 to 2003. With regard to the time frame, continuing to allow this case to age is not in the interest of justice. But looking at the continuances — and I’m not contributing them all to you, Mr. Cohen. Certainly, you came in, I believe it was November of 2021. But the history of continuances in this case, and they’re all by the defense. No continuances have been requested by the People:

October 19th of 2020, that was granted;
November 2nd of 2020, that was granted;
January 6th of 2021, that was denied;
April 20th of 2021, that was denied;
April 29th of 2021, that was denied;
November 10th of 2021, that was granted;
February 8th of 2022, that was granted;

May 31st of 2022, that was granted;
August 12th of 2022, that was denied;
October 11th of 2022, that was denied;
February 11th of 2023 was granted;

March 28th, which was the defense request pursuant to the motions, the Court obviously granted a much shorter continuance than what is requested; and then this March 30th request is further denied. But that makes 13 continuances that have been requested in this matter. Looking at penal code section 1050, it states explicitly — I’m quoting it:

“The welfare of the people of the State of California requires that all proceedings in criminal cases shall be set for trial and heard and determined at the earliest possible time. Excessive continuances contribute substantially to court congestion and causes substantial hardship to victims and other witnesses. It is therefore recognized that the People, the defendants and victim and other witnesses have the right to an expeditious disposition. And to that end, it shall be the duty of all courts and judicial officers and of all counsel, both for the prosecution and the defense, to expedite these proceedings to the greatest degree that is consistent with the ends of justice.”

And, finally, looking at the defense assertion that the Court’s recent rulings on the motions in limine justify the needed continuance. The defense position seems to be that notice for purposes of discovery and trial readiness merely provides the beginning stages of trial preparation and investigation rather than being statutorily prescribed just before the start of trial. This notion that once the court rules on motions in limine defense is now able to better assess his trial strategy and thus should be afforded a continuance of a previously set trial date on this basis flies in the face of statutory authority and case law.

Indeed, case law holds that 402 motions being foundational hearings on the admissibility of evidence may need not be adjudicated at all before trial. People versus Bryant, Smith and Wheeler, 2014 case at 60 Cal.4th 335, and People versus Yeoman, y-e-o-m-a-n, a 2003 case at 31 cal.4th 93. Penal code section 1054.7 sets forth the time frame which is considered proper notice. That reads that it’s 30 days before trial, no less than 30 days before trial unless there is good cause otherwise. Penal code section 1382 sets forth that felony trials must be brought to trial within 60 days, generally speaking, from the date of arraignment. If notice within 30 days of the trial date was the benchmark for the start of trial preparation and defense investigation, then, under the defense theory, the 60 days should logically run from the date of notice, not from the date of arraignment. Yet, this is clearly contrary to statutory law. Moreover, such a position would render trial dates set just after pretrial motions in limine meaningless, for every losing party would simply say now that they know really what evidence is coming in, a continuance is warranted, and that simply is not the case. As noted in Bryant and Yeoman, the Court need not even conduct 402 motions.

Moreover, the Court can always change its ruling on admissibility mid-trial based on the circumstances and evidence occurring in trial, whether the door to previously excluded evidence has been opened or the testimony of a witness renders previously excluded evidence more probative than prejudicial or for some other occurrence at trial. In People versus Williams, a 1997 case, 16 Cal.4th 153, a trial court’s ruling on the admissibility of evidence is not binding on the court if subject evidence is proffered latter in trial.

The purpose of notice is to provide both parties with information to prepare for trial. Adequate notice is specifically defined as being at least 30 days before the trial date, not when defense chooses to start its investigation or trial preparation. Thus, as is set forth both in the Court’s March 28th, 2023 order and what the court has stated today, the defense motion to continue is denied. Jury trial will commence on April 17th. The defendant is ordered to be in court on that date, and a jury panel has been ordered for that date.

Any questions or questionnaire the parties wish the Court to consider should be filed with the clerk. The Court will take the requests under submission. As for any of the DA’s unavailability after early June, likewise, that does not justify a continuance, and none will be granted on that basis. The case should be concluded by then. In any event, the People do not have a right to have two attorneys present at all times. Trial will continue until its conclusion, even if it goes into June. All parties are ordered back for jury trial on April 17th of 2023, and that is the Court’s order.

Mueller: OK.

Cohen: I’m not asking to argue anymore. Can I make a factual representations based on some of the things the Court said?

Judge Olmedo: No. If you want, you can submit a pleading. The trial court did not error in cutting short argument by counsel when the Court has already ruled. And we tend to do this. I give you all the time in the world to be heard, and then I ask you to submit. If you think I’m wrong on something, you can submit it in a pleading, a correction or you can seek review I’m not going to continue the dialogue. I’ve ruled.


Mueller: Thank you.

Judge Olmedo: We’re in recess.

So what did we learn? Apparently, that Danny Masterson’s defense is really, really concerned about the prosecution leaning more heavily on testimony about Scientology and about drugging, as well as the addition of a fifth accuser. Also, that two of the three Jane Does are opposed to further delays, and the DA has their backs. Also, that Judge Olmedo has changed her mind about allowing Claire Headley to testify as a Scientology expert witness because the defense changed its approach: From arguing whether Danny had consent during the sexual encounters with the Jane Does, to arguing that those encounters never even happened. Fascinating.


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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?

[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

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney


Source Code

“I think California has laws that nobody can cure cancer. And they’ve just disobeyed that law in England because a doctor up there, who is a Dianetic Auditor, has just cured somebody of totally proven cancer. Has taken him over to the medical association and a big conference and so on, and displayed him complete with the X-rays and so forth. So, gee it’s a good thing he didn’t do that in California. We had an auditor, in 1950s, who was actually arrested for the fact of — proven conclusively, because he’d audited somebody and they had gotten well and it was against the law to cure that disease. He got off, there wasn’t anything happened to him at all, somebody was just making a push on it locally. Pretty crazy, huh? Proved it conclusively. Against the law to heal it and he’d done it.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 7, 1972


Avast, Ye Mateys

“COMMENDED: Quentin Hubbard is assigned a Condition of Affluence and commended for a long time performance of high volume and high quality sessions. He is a very popular auditor and I am sure his many pcs will agree.” — The Commodore, April 7, 1970



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Does anyone know around 50 years ago what people thought about the dinosaur extinction? Like when they thought it happened. Nowadays we think it happened 66 million years ago. I heard back then they thought it happened 75 million years ago. It’s very important, the validity of Scientology’s OT3 depends on it.”


Past is Prologue

1999: Deana Holmes protested at the Salt Lake City org. “I gave out three leaflets today, which is something of a record for me. I also talked to three different people, including a guy who went to Landmark, had found it beneficial, but didn’t like the hard sell and so wasn’t going back. While I was talking to this guy, Phil showed up. Phil was kinda miffed that I told this guy about OT 3 and Xenu, but as I pointed out, it’s in the papers and on the boob tube now. Phil has a spiffy new sign. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unreadable unless you really look at it, because it’s in Old English font, and says: ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much!’ which is from Macbeth. I stayed out there for an hour; that is, until my hands were thoroughly chilled to the bone.”


Random Howdy

“‘Revolt in the Stars’ should be a new reality show where Scientology celebs are put into the Sea Org and the viewers watch as one by one they quit in anguish and leave stupid Scientology.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

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: March 15, 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.
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] YouTube king, chiropractor Eric Berg, sued for forcing Scientology on employee
[TWO years ago] Leaked audio: Proof that government officials know about Scientology’s crimes
[THREE years ago] In the pandemic epicenter, Scientology’s New York Org puts on a fab virtual ‘Sunday Service’
[FOUR years ago] Foreign ‘expansion,’ thanks to US Scientologists forking over the millions
[FIVE years ago] On Day One, 2018’s Writers of the Future party betrays its connection to Scientology’s abuses
[SIX years ago] XENU VICTORIOUS: Scientology bamboozles USA Today to help it fight the ‘evil psychs’
[SEVEN years ago] Phil Jones reflects on the media frenzy at the dedication of his anti-Scientology billboard
[EIGHT years ago] 25 of the biggest lies told by L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology
[NINE years ago] SHOCK DOX: Scientology’s 2011 book value for just two of its entities is $1.2 billion
[TEN years ago] Narconon Tackles NFL Legend Jim Brown, Anne Archer Snags a Kennedy


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 2,992 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,497 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,047 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,037 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,928 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,232 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,103 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,208 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,685 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,997 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,563 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,482 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,650 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,231 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,492 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,528 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,244 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,808 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,123 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,298 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,849 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,980 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,318 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,173 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,292 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,648 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,951 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,057 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,455 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,331 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,914 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,409 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,663 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,772 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 7, 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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