Yesterday, final arguments were heard in the Los Angeles criminal sexual assault trial against Danny Masterson, in which Danny is charged with three counts of forcible rape, between 2001 and 2003, by three women, all former Scientologists. And although Danny may have had the best legal representation money can buy, presumably thanks to the most lucrative “church” rummage sale in the history of the earth and beyond, even if they managed to sell all of the props from Battlefield Earth and every single one of Tom Cruise’s signed apple crates, it may not have been enough to persuade the jury of his innocence as they move into deliberations.
In closing arguments, Deputy L.A. County District Attorney Reinhold Mueller argued, “there are no charges against Scientology. But Scientology cannot be avoided,” primarily because of the pressure allegedly put on the victims, Janes Doe 1, 2 and 3, to keep quiet about their alleged assaults. According to Deadline:
He sought to use L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings, of which Masterson is an adherent, to explain some actions of three women accusing him, who are former Scientologists.
“The rules it has in place has caused these victims…to act certain ways,” Mueller went on to say of the Jane Does at the heart of the forcible rape charges against prominent Scientologist Masterson. “Fear of going to law enforcement…certain statements about what is rape and what is not rape. You can’t avoid it. These are victims who have had the church as part of their life.”
“Center on the fact and only the facts in this case and not a bunch of speculation,” a carefully-modulated Mueller stated while pacing in front of the jurors and warning them about being distracted by the defense.
The defense, of course, claims that the women are all lying liars who lie and that the prosecution’s case was “so riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies,” that Scientology had become the “go-to excuse,” according to The AP. Danny did not testify in his own defense, and “his lawyer presented no defense evidence, instead focusing on how the stories of the women had changed over time.” AP reports:
“The key to this case is not when they reported it,” Cohen said. “It’s what they said when they reported it. What they said after they reported it. And what they said at trial.”
He said prosecutors depiction of Masterson as a “commanding scary, abusive monster” was undermined by testimony by his former girlfriend who said she willingly had sex with him after the alleged rapes.
“I get the theme: Paint Danny as a monster. But when you look at the actual testimony it tells us something different,” Cohen said. “This is the problem when you start veering from the truth.”
According to ABC7, Lisa Marie Presley was subpoenaed by the prosecution to testify that Co$ had asked to her intervene with Jane Doe #1 and “talk her out of” reporting her alleged assault to police. Lisa Marie submitted to an interview with a DA investigator last Friday with a promise of immunity from any obstruction charges. However, the judge ruled that “any testimony by Presley about Scientology’s alleged request was not relevant to Masterson’s rape trial,” so her testimony was not presented in this trial. Rather, the judge indicated that it would be “much more relevant to the [upcoming] civil case” against Danny and the Co$ in which accusations of dog murder have been made.
Mueller told the court that Presley told their investigator she had been contacted by the Church of Scientology after the April 2003 alleged rape of Jane Doe 1.
“She was asked to make contact with (Jane Doe 1) and to calm things down in the sense that apparently at that time (Jane Doe 1) was considering going to the authorities and the Church of Scientology wanted things to be handled in-house,” said Mueller.
“So based on the instructions from the Church of Scientology official, she did, in fact, make contact with (Jane Doe 1) and had a conversation with (Jane Doe 1). And then, at some point thereafter, reported back to the Church of Scientology.”
Mueller also referenced a direct message he wanted to admit as an exhibit along with Presley’s testimony. According to Mueller, Presley acknowledged in her interview that she sent that message to Jane Doe 1 back in December of 2014, apologizing for her conduct.
Eyewitness News obtained that direct message.
“OMG I looked for you and found you….. I am DYING to talk to you…. So much has happened and changed and I need to start by APOLOGIZING for contributing in any way those years ago for helping anyone who tried to quiet you about what you had gone through… Those were crazy times with crazy people and not one of them remain in my life now… Please write me back. so we can talk. L”
Huge thanks to @LisaBartleyABC7 for splitting up the “get photos and video of people leaving court” duties today. “I’ll follow Cohen. You follow Masterson.” Check and check!
Here’s @DannyMasterson and his wife, @BijouPhillips, after closing arguments today in his rape trial. pic.twitter.com/xLJe7MObWW
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) November 16, 2022
So while the jury deliberates, Danny will surely be busy getting audited for the upcoming civil trial in which the Co$ is also a named defendant. The Co$ had moved to have the case handled in private arbitration, but last month the LA Superior Court ruled against them. via Deadline:
As well as this criminal case, there also is a currently paused civil case that the three alleged victims in Masterson rape trial and others filed in 2019 against the Church of Scientology and the actor. It claims that the ex-Scientology plaintiffs have been harassed, stalked and even saw pets killed by the church and church affiliates for going to the LAPD with their allegations against Masterson.
Really, the simplest way for the Co$ to settle this whole mess and maybe even come out with more followers than ever would be to put Shelly Miscavige on the stand. Deadline predicts a mid-December start date for the civil trial, just in time for a Double Christmas Resurrection Miracle!