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Opening statement a big improvement for prosecution at Danny Masterson retrial

[Another great shot by Meghann Cuniff: L to r, Philip Cohen, Danny Masterson, Shawn Holley, Mackenzie Phillips, Bijou Phillips]

After opening statements yesterday at the Danny Masterson retrial, the journalists we talked to were pretty unanimous: They said that Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller had done a much better job presenting the government’s case this time than he did at the first trial in October.

If we had one criticism of Mueller’s presentation last time, it was that we felt the jury needed to hear a more cohesive narrative — they needed to be told a story — and Mueller seemed to address that this time, not only putting things together in a more compelling way, but also in a more chronological way.

For example, last time the prosecution led with the story of Jane Doe 1, whose incident with Masterson took place in 2003, and then went back to Jane Doe 3, the former live-in girlfriend whose rape allegation occurred in 2001. The first jury, however, apparently found Jane Doe 3’s story the most compelling, voting 5 to 7 to convict Masterson on her count. And so this time it’s Jane Doe 3’s story that Mueller told first, and saved Jane Doe 1 for second.

But in between them, he told the story of Kathleen Jenkins, the Masterson accuser from Toronto we wrote about in 2021. Although Masterson is not facing charges based on her allegations, she will be appearing in order to testify that she was raped by Masterson in 2000 at a Dracula 2000 cast party in a Toronto hotel.

During his presentation, Mueller repeatedly showed a remarkable graphic on a TV monitor of close-ups of all four accusers’ faces — the three Jane Does, and Jenkins.


Missing from the photo, however, was actress Tricia Vessey, who testified in the first trial as another uncharged accuser, based on her allegations of being raped by Masterson at a 1996 cast party in Los Angeles.

We confirmed last night with Vessey that she will not be testifying this time. We think she did an amazing job at the first trial, but we can understand that it’s a harrowing experience.

Another significant difference to Mueller’s presentation was his emphasis on drugging. In the first trial, it was merely implied that drugging occurred because Masterson’s accusers all felt suspiciously intoxicated after he had given them drinks. This time, Mueller stated it outright: The evidence will show that they were drugged by him, he said, and without a single objection from the defense.

When it was the defense’s turn for its opening, Philip Cohen seemed a bit off his game. He said he had thrown out the presentation he prepared once he saw Mueller’s opening, and wanted to address things that Jane Doe 1, for example, had said in the first trial that contradicted what Mueller had said.

But repeatedly, Cohen ran into trouble with Judge Charlaine Olmedo as he tried to quote from testimony in the first trial and she told him he couldn’t do that. The interruptions were frequent and really seemed to keep Cohen from gaining much steam. At the end of his opening, he implored jurors to pay close attention to the testimony of the three Jane Does, implying that they would see inconsistencies and contradictions in their statements.

There was then a short amount of time to bring on the first witness, Jane Doe 3, who had just a few minutes to begin her story about becoming a model at 14 and moving from Alabama to New York and then to Los Angeles, where she met Masterson at 17 and almost immediately moved in with him after they began dating.

After Judge Olmedo ended testimony for the day, there was one more surprise: Shawn Holley, who had been making the objections during Jane Doe 3’s testimony, revealed that she will be doing the cross-examination of Jane Doe 3 rather than Cohen. She also pointed out that the prosecution had changed up its order of witnesses on Friday, and that the schedule at that point was Jane Doe 3, her husband Cedric, then rape trauma expert Dr. Barbara Ziv, and then Scientology expert Claire Headley.

Holley complained that because she planned to cross-examine Jane Doe 3 and both of those experts, it didn’t give her enough time to prepare. But Mueller indicated that they would probably hold Headley for after both Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 1 have testified, and Judge Olmedo told Holley she would order Dr. Ziv to be on call so that the defense could bring her back later for more cross-examination.

Based on our experience last time, we figure that Jane Doe 3’s direct testimony will take the entire day today, but it’s possible her cross-examination by Holley may begin in the afternoon.

As usual, we’ll be sending out reports at the breaks.


Technology Cocktail

“Scientology adds to the Anglo-American potential that philosophy of humanness necessary to our winning. Without it our peoples will continue to crumble and break before the savageness of the machine and its remorseless toll of our hope, our courage and our will to do. We can still win—with an adequate philosophy to know and to do. We have it in Scientology. A Clear is above all this.” — 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

“The fact that a bank has been built and maintained and added to works against just achieving higher levels of beingness in the process of livingness. And that is all that prevents it. And this was quite revelatory to me. You’d say this is not much of a point and it’s true enough, it isn’t much of a point. It’s one of these elementary things that doesn’t change around the basic concepts of Scientology any. But it does this, it does this: it puts a different complexion on this universe; and it puts a different complexion on what you might care to do; and it puts a different complexion on your future for the next two hundred trillion years. See, this changes that. Your concept that the only thing you could do is get to a point where you could get totally out of this universe, or something like that, if you had such a concept — the only way you could ever win is to just get away from all this MEST and space and so forth — those concepts are, apparently, invalid. Which is a very hopeful happy note. I feel like a certain Pollyanna idiocy taking over, you see?” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 25, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“NEWS ITEM: Phil Wearne, whose instigation of the infamous Melbourne inquiry began the Anzo attacks and who later confessed and fully documented his lies and guilt, died recently in Sydney. Cause of death not known here. Sooner or later it seems to kill them.” — The Commodore, April 25, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“This girl was being sec-checked and didn’t want to disclose that she had another body on another planet that another LRH was opening up Scientology on. She attested all the way to OT 30 and with floating needles and floating tone arms when they stopped it and caved her in by telling her to start at OT 1. She says she can’t do OT 1 because it violates policy, meaning you can damage your case by doing OT levels a second time, after you’ve already completed it before. So she hunts everything LRH wrote and finds the time track of theta tapes where LRH actually says there is another LRH on another planet doing Scientology. Now question is, why the commands for locating your other timelines are on the tapes and why they never put them on the gradation chart and deliver these processes? And she would be willing to take me off track so she could have a verification to try to prove she has another body on another planet where another LRH is doing Scientology and her attest to OT 30 being valid.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Deana Holmes reported receiving legal warnings from the offices of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker concerning her “encheferated” postings of the secret NOTS levels. Encheferation transforms the text so that it sounds like the Muppets character The Swedish Chef, clearly a different “expression” under copyright law. Note the phrase “your innocence is no defense.” “As your March 22, 1996 posting to alt.religion.scientology makes clear, you were already aware at the time of your solicitation of NOTS materials that Judge Whyte in the Grady Ward case enjoined such activities on trade secret grounds, as well as prohibited reproduction, distribution and other acts which infringe RTC’s rights under federal copyright law. Despite your being put on formal notice in a March 29, 1996 e-mail from RTC attorney Helena Kobrin (which you acknowledge having received by return e-mail on the same date), your response was the posting, on April 9, 1995, of NOTS Series 1, 31, 34, 35, 36, 38 and 42 in their entirety, and the subsequent reposting of those materials on April 16, 1996. These acts constitute copyright infringement and entitle RTC, _inter alia_, to injunctive relief, multiple awards of statutory damages and the recovery of its attorney’s fees should it be necessary to take court action against you. Your transliteration of the NOTs issues is no defense, nor is your characterization of your April 16 reposting as a ‘satire.’ Since you indicate in your postings that you are a law school graduate, you are fully accountable for all of the consequences of your acts. (Copyright infringement is a strict liability tort; your innocence is no defense but your willfulness can make the remedies against you much more severe.) Given that both the Ward and Henson injunctions prohibit not only the named individuals, but also those acting in concert with them, you may well have already violated one or another of these court orders. To avoid any possible misunderstanding, any further solicitations or postings like yours of March 22, April 9 or April 16 will be treated as a willful violation of RTC’s rights for which you will be held fully accountable.”



Random Howdy

“I think it’s called the ‘If you become rich & famous, all is forgiven’ tech.”


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] When Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard revealed how crazy your afterlife will be
[TWO years ago] Scientology social media: Salvaging the planet by draining one bank account at a time
[THREE years ago] Calling all patsies: Scientology tries desperately to keep its isolated members busy
[FOUR years ago] VIDEO: Danny Masterson accusers face down Scientology ploy at Denim Day rally
[FIVE years ago] Former Scientology mouthpiece Tommy Davis has a new look and a new friend in his life
[SIX years ago] Someone forgot to notify the Dept. of Defense that Scientology is the world’s coolest religion
[SEVEN years ago] One of the best examples ever that Scientology can only be understood from ex-Scientologists
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack announces a five-day Toronto conference on Scientology to take place in June
[NINE years ago] Video Vault: The universe is yours to duplicate, Mr. Hubbard!
[TEN years ago] FED COURT DENIES SCIENTOLOGY REQUEST: Decision on Religious Arbitration Coming Soon?


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 3,010 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,515 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,065 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,055 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,946 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,250 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,121 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,226 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,673 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,015 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,581 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,500 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,668 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,249 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,510 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,546 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,262 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,826 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,141 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,316 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,867 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,998 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,336 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,191 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,310 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,666 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,969 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,075 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,473 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,349 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,932 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,427 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,681 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,790 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 25, 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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