Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology leak hearing: Who’s falling on their sword today?

[Defense attorneys Philip Cohen, Sharon Appelbaum, and Tom Mesereau]

A week ago this morning, we were still waiting for the Danny Masterson retrial jury to finish its deliberations, and Judge Charlaine Olmedo’s courtroom had attracted an interesting collection of Masterson’s defense attorneys, past and present.

That included his current team of Philip Cohen and Shawn Holley, and on Webex Cohen’s co-counsel from the first trial, Karen Goldstein. But what really caught our attention was that Masterson’s previous legal team, Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum, were there, and they had attorneys of their own with them.

The occasion was an evidentiary hearing to determine how the prosecution’s highly sensitive and redacted evidence in the case, which it had been required to turn over to the defense, had then found its way into the hands of Scientology’s attorney Vicki Podberesky.

Well, that matter was put off a week, until this morning. And so we’ll be in court today and we expect once again to see Mesereau and Appelbaum there with legal counsel.

The biggest difference in the past week, of course, is that just a few hours after the hearing was put off, the retrial jury came in with two guilty verdicts (they hung on the third count), and Masterson was remanded to custody while he awaits sentencing by Judge Olmedo. He’s facing 30 years to life for raping Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, and with such a long possible sentence and the violent nature of the crimes, Judge Olmedo brushed off Cohen’s suggestion of electronic monitoring or home arrest. Masterson is being held at Men’s Central Jail, and the next court date is a hearing on August 4 to consider defense motions. The sentencing itself has not yet been set.


This morning, we’re still very interested to see what ensues when Judge Olmedo and Deputy DAs Reinhold Mueller and Ariel Anson try to get to the bottom of who leaked their evidence to Scientology.

Mueller first told the court on May 10 that they realized the leak had occurred because Podberesky was complaining to LAPD Chief Michael Moore and to the DA’s office that the Masterson prosecution team was eliciting false testimony about Scientology harassing Masterson’s victims, and she wanted the LAPD to investigate the detectives on the case. In an email she sent to the DA’s office (essentially trying to get Mueller and Anson in trouble with their bosses), she included a link that led to online folders containing the redacted discovery material. A blunder on her part? Perhaps. But Judge Olmedo has not ordered Podberesky to attend this morning.

She’s focused apparently on who leaked the material to Scientology, not who received it for the church.

Shawn Holley, in an earlier exchange with the judge, appeared to point the finger at the previous legal team, and so we were not entirely surprised to see Mesereau and Appelbaum show up with legal representation.

What could they be facing? As we showed last week, the court order demanding their presence mentions “possible imposition of monetary sanctions.”

In other words, the court is taking this very seriously. When Holley had attempted to downplay the leak at one point, Judge Olmedo countered with a speech about how discovery rules in a serious felony case were different than in civil lawsuits. And Mueller had said it was “extremely troubling” that his evidence had been shared with Scientology.

He also indicated that the story Podberesky was telling the LAPD and the DA’s office was a false one: There was no indication, he said, that any of the allegations made by the victims about being harassed or stalked had turned out to be false.

Whew. There’s a lot going on with this, and we don’t know how much of it will be addressed this morning. We’ll get you our reports from the courtroom as soon as we can, so watch you inbox.

Also, we wanted to thank our readers for being patient with us. We took a few days off and were on our bicycle with only a smartphone, so we didn’t have all of the functionality here at the Bunker that you’re used to. It’s good be be back and headed to the courtroom.

The biggest news that hit while we were out pedaling around Southern California, of course, was word from Christie Collbran about Mike Rinder’s cancer diagnosis. We put together a quick tribute on the road, but we also want to point out, if you have a few dollars to spare, please consider donating at his website to help Mike get on his treatments right away.


Technology Cocktail

“The basic difference between Dianetics and Scientology is this: Dianetics attacked the reactive mind on a materialistic level. Scientology, amongst other things, attacks the reactive mind on a spiritual level. Scientology works faster, better and more stably than Dianetics ever did.” — 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 had a psychiatrist reading Dianetics, and he was rushing out every few minutes and putting the electrodes on somebody and coming back in. And he says, ‘Yes. Yes. I’ve looked at this book. This book came in the other day. It came in the other day. And I looked at it, and I’ve looked it over. And I’ve reported it to the association. I think it’s disgraceful.’ And he says, ‘I’m a Horney.’ I said, ‘Well what philosophy do you follow in your psychoanalysis?’ He says, ‘I’m a Horney man myself. I’m a Horney man.’ And he rushed out and strapped and shocked somebody else and came back in again. And he says, ‘I’m a Horney man.’ While he was gone, I saw the book Horney, Karen Horney. So I said, ‘Well, what is Horney? What is the Horney offshoot of Freudian analysis?’ and so on. He says, ‘I don’t know. I never read it.’ It’d be different if I was telling you that for a gag. But actually that’s totally factual. Unbelievably true. He was a Horney man, but he’d never read anything by Horney. I don’t know, how do you get it? Telepathic?” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 7, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Hey, on this cruise, where are we going? Any suggestions?” — The Commodore, June 7, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Hubbard spoke much and said little, except dying forever in the rigid apathy of MEST. What is the future of ALL beings? What cause does each being have in the fate of all other beings? What makes an eternal future acceptable? When does the being attain ‘the future is endlessly beautiful?’ I think people hide behind all this complexity and erudition of auditing because in fact they do NOT know the first answer to any of these questions, and they hope that with enough TIME getting mucked up in complexity and perfection of approach and secrets etc, they will one day realize their way out of an unconfrontable and untenable future.”


Past is Prologue

1997: U.S. News and World Report published an article which mentions Scientology’s infamous Feshbach Brothers, known for short selling stocks. “Known as short sellers, or ‘shorts,’ these financiers make their living betting stocks will fall, not rise. Short selling is kind of like investing in reverse. Instead of buying now and selling later, hoping the stock will rise, the short seller sells now and buys later, hoping the stock will fall. Short sellers get shares (actual 8-by-10 certificates) to sell by borrowing them from a broker. They return them by buying back shares in the open market at what they hope will be a lower price. In the late 1980s, shorts like California’s Feshbach Brothers generated 40 percent annual returns year after year, brashly trumpeting their picks as ‘toast’ or ‘dead ducks.’ At their peak in 1990, the Feshbachs managed $1 billion and used their unorthodox approach and lack of formal education to develop a cult following in the staid investment world. But when the bull market began to stir in 1991, clients fled; by 1993, the Feshbachs had shelved the short-only strategy and started buying stocks.”



Random Howdy

“I have mixed feelings about zoos and especially places like Sea World. To me it’s basically imprisonment and enslavement of other life forms. Unfortunately, by the middle of this century they are probably the only place many of these life forms will exist, so there’s the rub.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for June 26 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs asking permission for interlocutory appeal.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 June 28.
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] Scientology will turn your town’s eyesore into a gleaming cathedral when it feels like it
[TWO years ago] VIDEO: Danny Masterson on his chances after arraignment on rape charges: ‘I feel fantastic’
[THREE years ago] The unanticipated pandemic benefit: Nutty Scientology online videos
[FOUR years ago] Photo evidence which suggests, sadly, that Riley Keough has slipped back into Scientology
[FIVE years ago] Testimony by the World’s First Real Clear, part two: ‘Scientology is designed to entrap people’
[SIX years ago] Leah Remini’s ‘Troublemaker’ will become a Lifetime movie: Who plays Tom Cruise?
[SEVEN years ago] NAFC names David Miscavige a witness in Scientology trial scheduled for October
[EIGHT years ago] When Tom Cruise was one of Scientology’s biggest donors: A look back
[NINE years ago] Ryan Hamilton makes it an even dozen federal lawsuits against Scientology’s rehab network


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 3,053 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,558 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,108 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,098 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,989 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,293 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,164 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,269 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,716 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,058 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,624 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,543 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,710 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,292 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,553 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,589 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,305 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,869 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,184 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,359 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,910 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,041 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,379 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,234 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,353 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,709 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,012 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,118 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,516 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,392 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,975 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,470 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,724 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,833 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email