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Danny Masterson, the retrial: Jury selection begins this morning and we’re on scene

[Masterson and his defense attorney, Philip Cohen]

Jury selection begins this morning in the Danny Masterson retrial at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles.

Like last time, the That ‘70s Show actor and Scientology celebrity is facing allegations that he forcibly raped three women who were Scientologists at the time of the incidents, which took place between 2001 and 2003. The first trial, which started last October 8, ended up in a hung jury and mistrial on November 30.

This time, the court’s communications office asked if we’d serve as pool reporter during the jury selection process, when Judge Charlaine Olmedo’s courtroom is packed with potential jurors and there are few seats for media.

We happily agreed, and so we’ll be doing our best to take detailed notes this morning that we’ll be sending out to a list of other reporters who have asked to receive copies. And we’ll be sending you the exact same pool report those journalists will receive.

We expect that today’s session will be a short one as Judge Olmedo gives an opening address to the potential jurors and then gives them a questionnaire to fill out. But we’ll be taking notes of the scene, and of course we’ll let know you if there’s some sartorial splendor going on.


Yes, in some ways it’s like déjà vu all over again, and we’re glad you’ll be along with us.

Keep an eye on your inbox. You should receive our pool report around the lunchtime hour, we guess. Followed by one or more video reports.

Also, you will probably have noticed that we’ve switched to a later morning schedule now that we’re on the west coast. Expect to see morning posts here and at the dot org site at 6 am Pacific, 9 am Eastern, and 2 pm London. (Our detailed reports from court once testimony begins can come at any time, but usually at the breaks, which tend to be around 10 am, noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm Pacific.)

In addition, we wanted to bring you some more information about the last-minute appeal that the Masterson legal team attempted last week, which was to appeal Judge Olmedo’s ruling that denied Danny’s request to move the trial back to August.

Defense attorney Philip Cohen submitted a petition for a writ of mandamus, asking a state appellate court to stay the case and grant the delay. That petition was denied. But we have a copy of what Cohen sent to the court, and we thought you’d want to see the opening paragraphs, where he describes why he believes that the defense needs more time to prepare.

It should give you some idea of the concerns that Danny’s defense has going into the retrial over things that have changed from the first time around…

Petitioner faces life in prison for three counts of forcible rape, each allegedly committed almost 20 years before charges were filed in 2020. A trial that took place in October and November of 2022 resulted in a hung jury – with vote counts that leaned strongly toward acquittal.

With the understanding that a second trial would look substantially similar to the first, Petitioner agreed to a trial date in April 2023. In recent weeks, however, the People’s disclosure of their intent to present new evidence to support a new theory of culpability and Respondent Court’s ruling that such evidence is admissible have significantly altered the case against which Petitioner must defend.

Petitioner requested a continuance to prepare for (1) a new witness who claims that over 20 years ago Petitioner drugged her and then raped her while she was unconscious; (2) a toxicologist who will essentially opine that Petitioner drugged and raped the three Jane Does (a theory the People did not argue at the first trial); (3) a new “rape trauma” expert intended to persuade the jury to overlook countless Jane Doe credibility problems and to educate the jury about how a victim’s ingestion of drugs impacts memory; and (4) a virulent anti-Scientology “Scientology expert” who will suggest that indoctrination by the Church of Scientology further excuses certain implausible words and actions by the Jane Does (former Scientologists), and who is likely to inflame the jury against Petitioner (a practicing Scientologist) by characterizing his religion as a dangerous cult.

Petitioner’s need to prepare for this new evidence and the significantly changed nature of the retrial provided good cause for a continuance, and granting the continuance would not have inconvenienced anyone or impacted the orderly administration of justice. Nonetheless, Respondent Court brushed aside Petitioner’s need for more time based on a steadfast resolve to proceed promptly. In so doing, Respondent Court erred. An “unreasoning and arbitrary ‘insistence on expeditiousness in the face of a justifiable request for delay’” is unconstitutional.

What do you think, does Cohen sound nervous?

As we said, the appellate court denied this petition, and the Masterson team does have recourse to go even further, to the state supreme court. As of this morning, we have seen nothing at the supreme court’s online docket which suggests that such a petition has been filed.

But we expect to learn more this morning when Judge Olmedo arrives in her courtroom.



Technology Cocktail

“When the preclear finally decides that he can withhold things from the valence, go into Locational Processing to orient your preclear in present time, and to command his attention. Then run the next aberrative valence. This one should be a little more difficult than the last one and so on to the next valence which should be stiffer than the last.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1958



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 only talk about animal psychologists because I want the beast to be known by his right name. That’s all he is and all he ever pretended to be. Any psychologist is an animal psychologist because the basic theory on which he operates is ‘man is an animal.’ So we call him animal psychologist. And I think that will effectively take care of that as the years roll along. Now, don’t ever use that word psychologist after this. See, just use animal psychologist, always. And you’ll get it around. You’ll find the Times, sooner or later, will be talking about the animal psychologist. And people will be phoning them up to take care of their horses. I wouldn’t let them though. And I don’t even like horses. I wouldn’t let them take care of my horse.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 17, 1962


Avast, Ye Mateys

“ORG SECURITY: Mail and telex security and personal mail still must maintain security. Now and then an incompetent or false report wipes out security. The object is to make it difficult for an enemy to predict location and activity. We have had several severe upsets traceable to lack of security. You don’t name ports or detail plans in personal letters or org telexes. You carefully obscure them — Halifax becomes ‘our last port.’ ‘We intend to go to the Seychelles’ becomes ‘we’ll soon be in warmer climes.’ Lloyd’s Weekly Shipping Register was rumored to carry us port to port. This is false. We are never listed as we’re a yacht. But there are at least six other commercial Apollos. Scn orgs have taken to advertising the SO. This is silly. The SO is not their product. We are the organization three feet behind the head of Scn orgs. We succeed if we are least noticed.” — The Commodore, April 17, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“To the degree I am ARCx, I know that logically, however sane I think I am, my own Knowingness is flawed by own my assignments of other-authorship, other-ownership, pan-determinism, other-determinism, self-determinism and valence/circuit per the Responsibility Scale. I also know that sanity is found by differentiating my own assignments and assumptions of other authorship resultant in perfect duplication and as-isness plus total understanding and the vanishment of mechanical conditions of existence resultant in knowingness on the specific items being considered which naturally results in UNDERSTANDING AND ACTION IN THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE DERIVED FROM KNOWINGNESS PER THE SCALE OF RESPONSIBILITY applied from the top down.”



Past is Prologue

1995: A new affidavit was posted this week, that of Hana Whitfield. Her stories of life in the RPF are chilling. This should be used as a standard reply when the RPF is made to sound like summer camp. Here’s how Hana sums up her experiences in Scientology. “I was in Scientology for 19 years from March 1965 to August 1984. The majority of those years, particularly the last 10 were filled with great emotional, mental and physical trauma. This experience as the most humiliating and degrading one I’ve ever experienced. I still suffer from frequent nightmares, emotional distress and severe headaches because of it.”


Random Howdy

“It all depends on what the definition of a ‘win’ is. Somebody claiming they were cured of their asthma or allergies is ridiculous. Somebody saying that auditing made them happier is vague BS also. The only thing you ‘win’ in Scientology is the Booby Prize.”


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] It’s a Scientology Easter bonnet parade: Founder L. Ron Hubbard in his best finery!
[TWO years ago] Scientology ‘Sea Org’ members are a cut above, and have to prove it day and night
[THREE years ago] New amended complaint packs a wallop in Miami Scientology child sex assault lawsuit
[FOUR years ago] Spyentology: For Scientology, operating as an intelligence agency is a religious mandate
[FIVE years ago] More proof that L. Ron Hubbard really did want Scientologists to consider him the Antichrist
[SIX years ago] Before Scientology’s Xenu was a genocidal galactic overlord, he was a … mountain?
[SEVEN years ago] Louis Theroux’s ‘My Scientology Movie’ at Tribeca today, & more in our social media review
[EIGHT years ago] Is France dropping its anti-Scientology fervor because Tom Cruise is just too délicieux?
[NINE years ago] Leah Remini ‘Fair Gamed’ by Scientology? Her sister gets a visit, and Tony Dovolani is tailed
[TEN years ago] Love in the Time of Miscavige


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 3,002 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,507 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,057 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,047 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,938 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,242 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,113 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,218 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,695 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,007 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,573 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,492 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,660 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,241 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,502 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,538 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,254 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,818 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,133 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,308 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,859 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,990 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,328 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,183 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,302 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,658 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,961 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,067 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,465 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,341 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,924 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,419 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,673 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,782 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 17, 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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