three weeks later opening statements began, danny mastersonThe new rape trial rested today. However, with the former That 70’s Show actor once again faces a trio of sexual assault charges and possibly years behind bars, the Church of scientology is back in the court spotlight.
After the prosecution ended its case early Friday and the defense did not call witnesses, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo said closing arguments would begin Tuesday. That could see the jury deliberating behind closed doors on Wednesday and a verdict in the days that follow.
However, partially overshadowing those deliberations could be a very serious exchange of information.
Somehow, a lawyer representing the church led by David Miscavige, who is not a defendant in this criminal case, has come into possession of a large portion of the discovery material from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in this issue. Exploding like a legal land mine, the disclosure could prompt the prosecution to refer the leak to the LAPD and maybe even the state bar association.
This all came to light two days ago when Assistant District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told the court that the office led by George Gascón had received an email on May 2 from attorney Vicki Podberesky criticizing the way in which the reference had been made. to the church in the new trial that began on April 27. Amazingly, attached to that email, which had the subject line “False Reports of Stalking and Harassment by the Church of Scientology,” were 12 files containing the discovery material.
Whether attaching the files with the Podberesky District Attorney’s email was an oversight, an unintended consequence, a shot at the bow, or just a silly mistake, only the prosecution, defense, and court are supposed to have said documents.
First arrested in 2020 For the alleged attacks that occurred between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home, Masterson faces up to 45 years in state prison if convicted on all three counts of rape this time. The actor, who he was quickly fired from Netflix comedy The ranch at the end of 2017 when the allegations of aggression became known and she has been excluded from the that 90s show revival, it has always been said that sex with all the Jane Does had been consented.
In court every day, as he was in the first five-week trial, prominent Scientologist Masterson has been out on $3.3 million bail for the past three years.
The discovery material possessed by Podberesky and perhaps his client contains personal emails, text messages and more from the three Jane Does to police and others, some of which were used in the previous trial and this one, plus more information.” recently obtained”.
Possession of such material by Scientology’s retained attorney could constitute a violation of California’s Marsy’s Law, among other things.
Known more formally as the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, Marsy’s Law is intended to ensure that victims are “to be treated fairly and with respect for your privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.” In the testimony and in a civil case naming both Masterson and the Church of Scientology as defendants, the Janes Does, all former members of the church, and family members have spoken of being harassed, harassed and intimidated for reporting the alleged violations to police.
Coupled with the discovery material being made public, and the subsequent Leah Remini tweet stormAs it turns out, Podberesky recently met with Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and filed complaints with the department on behalf of Scientology about “numerous unsubstantiated and false reports by witnesses who complained about Masterson alleging that the church has harassed them.”
In the earlier trial, which resulted in a deadlocked jury The 30th of November, after more than five weeks of often harrowing testimonials from Jane Does, Cohen repeatedly attempted to dampen or dismiss any reference to Scientology, its practices, or policies. Judge Olmedo resisted those requests, but cautioned Mueller and Assistant District Attorney Ariel Anson to be specific about the issues in their mentions of the Church.
With the jury outside the ninth-floor courtroom at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center today after the retrial rested, defense attorney Shawn Holley told a clearly disgusted Judge Olmedo that neither she nor her colleague Phillip Cohen provided the material to Podberesky. Previously, Cohen, who was also Masterson’s defense attorney in the first trial, denied turning over the documents.
Former attorney for OJ Simpson and Lindsay Lohan, Holley, tried to change the focus by claiming there was never a protective order in the case and citing the name of Masterson’s former defense attorney, Tom Mesereau. Stating that “nothing untoward has occurred, and Ms Podberesky is willing to go to court to say so,” Holley also suggested that the material could have arisen from the currently-paused civil case, which seems unlikely but not yet. is allowed.
In issuing a preservation order Friday, Judge Olmedo indicated that she will set aside time while jurors deliberate next week to further discuss the matter of the discovery. With the jurors released this morning until Tuesday, attorneys for both sides and the judge spent the rest of Friday going over the jury instructions. They finished just before 4 pm
No one at the prosecutor’s office responded to a request for comment on the subject of discovery material, neither Podberesky nor representatives for Cohen or Holley. If or when they do, this post will be updated.