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Not so fast: Judge Hammock questions David Miscavige’s challenge to step down

[Defendant David Miscavige and Judge Randolph Hammock]

When Leah Remini sued the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige at Los Angeles Superior Court last August, she wasn’t happy with the first judge who was selected to preside over it, Judge William Fawhey.

So she submitted what’s called a “peremptory” challenge, meaning that she had one opportunity to remove a judge without having to explain her reasons. The case was then assigned to Judge Barbara Scheper, but she recused herself because her attorney husband had done work for Scientology in the past.

That’s how Judge Randolph Hammock then got assigned to the case, and he has been handling it since then. We saw him in action in January, and we liked what we saw. He took the time to understand the case on a deep level, and even said in court that he’d never worked harder on a tentative ruling in his entire career.

But then, when he made that tentative ruling a final one last month, dismissing some of Leah’s defamation claims but keeping in eight of her nine causes of action, Scientology leader David Miscavige then made his displeasure with the ruling plain when he filed his own peremptory challenge to have Judge Hammock removed. (Scientology attorney William Forman then filed notice that the church planned to appeal the ruling.)

But rather than simply step down, Judge Hammock is pushing back, wondering if it’s too late for Miscavige, especially on his own, to remove the judge so easily.


Yesterday, he filed a rather unusual order, asking both sides to submit arguments about whether, at this point in the lawsuit and after the judge’s major ruling, Miscavige can, unilaterally, remove him.

He proposed both sides wrestle with these questions and get him answers by April 9:

1. The fact that this Court has already ruled upon a special motion to strike (Anti-SLAPP), which may involve a “contested fact determinations relating to the merits of the trial,” does this prevent Defendant Miscavige’s peremptory challenge at this time?

2. Does the fact that Defendant Miscavige is the de facto leader and/or CEO of the corporate defendants prevent him from filing this peremptory challenge, in his individual capacity, at this time?

3. Does the fact that he sought relief, in his individual capacity, by filing a motion to quash for this Court to hear, prevent his current peremptory challenge at this time?

4. Does the fact that subsequent to the filing of his peremptory challenge, he filed a joint stipulation for this Court’s signature and Order, on 3/29/24, requesting an extension for his time to file a responsive pleading, affect his right to exercise a peremptory challenge at this time?

5. Does the subsequent filing of a notice of appeal by the corporate defendants in regard to this Court’s ruling of the special motion to strike have any impact on the pending peremptory challenge, either jurisdictional or otherwise?

Wow! Judge Hammock has spent a lot of time and effort on this lawsuit, and he does not want to be sent packing so easily.

We’re very curious about what both sides say about this. For example, what if Leah’s side has its own issues with Judge Hammock? Will they argue to keep him? We can’t wait to find out.


Technology Cocktail

“A ‘dirty needle’ indicates that a pc has withholds or is ARC Broken. When a pc is to be audited on Dianetics as a student or org pc he/she usually goes to the Examiner after a Dn C/S I (training pc) is done. If a DIRTY NEEDLE (ragged, jerky, ticking needle, not sweeping) is seen by the Examiner or the auditor the pc should have a Scientology Review before Dianetic auditing is begun with an order for ‘GF and pull all withholds’.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1969




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 [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman [55] Mark Bunker [56] Trish and Liz Conley [57] Trish Conley [58] Alex Barnes-Ross [59] Alex Barnes-Ross [60] Alex Barnes-Ross [61] Alex Barnes-Ross [62] Alex Barnes-Ross [63] Alex Barnes-Ross [64] Tory Christman [65] Tammy Synovec [66] Dennis Erlich [67] Alex Barnes-Ross [68] Valerie Ross [69] Kat in Austin [70] Mark Bunker [71] Phil Jones



Source Code

“The whole US civil defense system is based on the idea that there is a thing called the government which is composed of people (which already is silly) and they’re going to take over the country at the moment of an attack, see? They aren’t there now. They’re not part of the people, and they’re not human, you see? And they’re parked up someplace in Canada along the DEW line or down in Mexico or out on some island, and they don’t exist there now. And at the moment of an attack, nobody is supposed to do anything but be taken over by the government. That’s what you’re supposed to do in an attack. Consider it absolutely fascinating! It’s just as bad as Eisenhower’s design for the Normandy landing. I mean, there was nothing worse than that. I didn’t know this until the other day. I’m going to write a book on it. I’m going to call it The Great Myth. You see, I was a Pacific amphibious warfare officer before these Normandy landings occurred. And there’s certain ways you’re supposed to make landings. Well, they didn’t make them that way at Normandy. They killed men instead.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 3, 1962


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Our trouble has been isolated to the British Government. It uses British Consuls, Lloyds and reporters as part of its intelligence service. It has been revealed that reporters in the UK, particularly those operating outside it, are members of their intelligence service while still being reporters. The US health societies, groups, foundations and agencies are all members of SMERSH which is an English takeover of the work of Clifford Beers to bring protection to mental patients. By blackmail, corruption and pretense of being ‘the very best people’ this group had the British government in its palm. It appointed the health ministers of both parties in England and throughout the Commonwealth and even Switzerland. SMERSH is a world takeover type group, full of preposterous plans. It is now actively destroying western nations whose governments look to them to dispose of malcontents without realizing SMERSH’s degraded technology is violently opposed by Western peoples. If we are careful, keep good security and continue to attack, SMERSH will collapse as they are trying to be a police state without either the police or army on their side. We must be alert to the Intelligence factors of SMERSH and safeguard against their penetration of our security. On our shoulders alone rests the possibility of freeing Mankind from the horror of one of these police states which could destroy Mankind. The rest, like sheep, have been taken in wholly.” — The Commodore, April 3, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology got into bad hands starting in 1972, and it was not done by the young David Miscavige at that time, but by the IRS, CIA, FBI and other such criminals with vested interest to hold down Clears and OTs and grab the tech of ‘remote viewing’ for themselves.”


Past is Prologue

1998: The St. Petersburg Times ran a story this week on Scientology’s growing attempts to influence Washington politics. “After years of holding the U.S. government in contempt, the Church of Scientology is enlisting members of Congress, the U.S. State Department and even President Clinton to advance its agenda in foreign lands. Prodded by the Scientologists’ paid lobbyists and its cadre of sympathetic entertainers, several lawmakers and the Clinton administration have criticized the German government for allegedly discriminating against Scientology practitioners. They even got their argument against Germany to the floor of the House of Representatives last November. The lobbying push comes amid an ongoing criminal investigation into a suspicious death of one of its parishioners at Scientology’s Clearwater headquarters – the latest in a history of controversy involving the church. That history includes convictions of 11 Scientologists on charges stemming from break-ins of government offices in the 1970s. Scientology has used lobbyists in Washington in the past, but in the years since the IRS ruling the organization has stepped up its lobbying effort. Records made public last week show that Religious Technology Center, a Scientology affiliate in Los Angeles, paid almost $725,000 to a Washington-based firm to lobby Congress in 1997 and 1996. David H. Miller, the managing partner of Federal Legislative Associates, said members of Congress initially were skeptical about his client and its checkered past. ‘What I’ve said to members is, ‘That’s all bulls—. That’s all extraneous. Let’s talk about the facts,’ he recalled, though he concedes: ‘What they are trying to do is live down some of their past mistakes.’ Miller, 50, is a former congressional aide who has been a lobbyist for 18 years. He and his firm represent clients such as the American Bankers Association and American Airlines. He is not, he said, a Scientologist. Miller, the lobbyist, said he has gradually tried to build a foundation of support that gives Scientologists’ claims of discrimination credence in Washington. The biggest victory in that regard has come from the U.S. State Department, which criticized the German government for its treatment of Scientologists in its annual human-rights report.”



Random Howdy

“We Farsecians are not evil. We are the Knights Templar of the Universe. We are the Keepers of the ARC of the Covenant.”


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. Sentenced to 30 years to life on Sep 7.
‘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 May 17, 2024.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Some defamation claims were removed by Judge Hammock. Leah seeking to amend her complaint.
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: motion to file new complaint, hearing on May 29.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration, hearing on April 16.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] WACKY: Scientology flack Ben Shaw’s unhinged letter denying ties to Clearwater developer
[TWO years ago] Another reason to watch the CA supremes: Danny Masterson is petitioning his rape case
[THREE years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 3: The judges
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s new attempt to force ‘religious arbitration’ on Danny Masterson’s accusers
[FIVE years ago] A stunning Scientology call to arms for our politically divided times on this dirt ball
[SIX years ago] Newly released documents: Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard tried to ‘buy’ an African nation
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige launches new personal attacks at Leah Remini
[EIGHT years ago] David Miscavige and a bussed-in crowd cut the ribbon on Atlanta’s new Scientology ‘Ideal Org’
[NINE years ago] How Scientologists are dealing with the popularity of Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear’
[TEN years ago] We asked David Miscavige’s tailor for his exact height — and here’s what he told us!
[ELEVEN years ago] LEAK: Scientology’s Rehab Went from $5,000 to $2.5 Million in Insurance Revenue in One Year


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Tammy Synovec has not seen her daughter Julia in 2,859 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,354 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,869 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,419 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,409 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,290 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,594 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,465 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 5,017 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,358 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,925 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,844 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 5,012 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,593 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,854 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,890 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,606 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,170 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,485 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,660 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,211 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,342 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,680 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,533 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,654 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 3,010 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,313 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,419 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,817 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,693 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,258 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,771 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 4,025 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,134 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 3, 2024 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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