ACTRESS TRICIA VESSEY TESTIFIES: Danny Masterson Trial, Day 18, lunch break report
[This report was produced live during a court hearing with a lot going on. There will be typos. Please don't email us about typos that you find.]
Late morning session.
The Masterson family section has filled up now. Carol Masterson and her sons Christopher and Jordan are present. Chris Wadhams is in attendance. As are the three Phillips sisters.
Continuing with redirect of Det Reyes (Myape) Playing a video.
Sound is louder, but still pretty muddy. Hard to hear it, but the jury has a transcript.
JD3 being interviewed by Det Reyes.
JD3: "He was on top of me, I pulled his hair to get him off me..."
Reyes asks if she was on her back. JD3, I was on my back I guess. She says she would always pretend she was asleep so he would leave her alone. But he was aggressive and she pulled his hair to get him off. That he was on top of her, that they were both naked.
It's all Reyes -- he was on stop, trying to have sex, trying to get in you. She's saying mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Now they're talking about a slap or a fist. Where? In the face.
Mueller: So this segment we've seen is an accurate version of the interview?
Playing the second clip.
JD3: He wanted sex all the time.
Reyes: More than once a day?
JD3: Yeah, that first year. And I started kind of saying no, and he would get upset. And then, at his apartment, he wanted to have sex with me and I had just got back from Paris. I said no. I was proud of myself for saying no. He got really angry with me and spit on me. I just remember he called me fat, and I remember because that's such a button. And he called me white trash. And he kept pushing with me and fighting and I didn't want to. Then he pulled me out of the room by my hair.
Mueller: This is a portion where she's describing to you what happened after she returned from a job in Paris.
And it's a different incident from what we heard in the previous one?
Playing the third clip.
JD3 saying her next memory is waking up about noon the next day. Where am I, I was very confused. Woke up in her bed. Then she felt pain. Where? In my rectum. And did you feel any other type of pain? I felt pain in my joints. My joints hurt. Having a hard time walking. Not like I couldn't walk, but I felt pain. Headaches. Nausea. Tried to go to the bathroom. (Hard to hear, but the jury is following along with the transcripts very intently.) I was injured. Asked him, what happened I don't remember anything. My butt is bleeding. And he laughed and said, I had sex with you last night. My first question was, was I awake. No he said I was passed out. And I said you had anal sex with me while I was asleep, and he just laughed.
Mueller: Is this an accurate representation?
You had asked, so he's on top of you trying to have sex. My question was, if you ever asked if there was penetration.
I think he said, he was erect and tryig to get inside of you.
And so you did ask if he was erect?
And did you ask if he penetrated her and where?
Did you ask her at all during the interview when he was on top of her, if his body was moving?
I asked her if he was on top of her, and she said yes.
(Cohen asks for sidebar)
Cohen: Do you know who made this video?
It was given to us by Austin PD.
The video has some wording on it that is not part of the video.
I don't understand.
The video has on it 'November incident"
I don't see that.
When it starts playing it says that. Do you know who put that wording on it?
Did JD3 ever mention November in her interview?
I don't recall.
You gave JD3 every opportunity to tell you everything about this incident? The slap incident?
And you had how many years with LAPD at this time? (Asked and answered) You were joined by another detective, Det Villegas?
And she could ask anything she wanted?
And I believe she had been there 27 years.
And 19 of them as a sex detective? (Obj, sustained) Don't you indicate to JD3 your experience and hers?
And doesn't she say she's been there 27 years, and 19 as a sex assault detective?
I don't recall the exact number.
Would it help to see a transcript?
And had Det Villegas been a sex assault/DV detective for 19 years? (Obj, sustained) Did JD3 respond to that statement by saying she was comforted to know there was that much experience in the room. (Obj, sustained) Is there a reason why you would cite your background?
Maybe to alleviate any anxiety she had, or nervousness.
Mueller asks to recall Det Vargas.
Judge Olmedo calls for a short recess.
Jane Doe 4 is taking the witness stand. She is being referred to as "Tricia V." in court.
We are identifying her by her full name, because she gave the Underground Bunker permission to do so.
She is Tricia Vessey, a highly respected actor of independent films who appeared in movies from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.
She co-starred in the cannibal/vampire film Trouble Every Day (2001), co-starring Victor Gallo and directed by Claire Denis. She was directed by Jim Jarmusch in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999). And she co-starred with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton in Town & Country (2001). She even appeared with Rowan Atkinson in Bean (1997).
In 2001, she co-starred with Cillian Murphy in On the Edge, an Irish film about patients in an institution dealing with suicidal thoughts. The image above is taken from the film.
Besides being known for her serious acting roles, Vessey is also a writer and director.
And she alleges that in 1996, she was sexually assaulted by Danny Masterson just a few weeks before he began a new relationship with Jane Doe 3.
Tricia is sworn in.
Mueller: Do you know a person named Daniel Masterson?
Could you please point out that person and describe what he's wearing.
He's wearing a grey suit and blue tie.
How do you know him?
We did a movie together.
Is that how you first became acquainted?
When was it?
I don't know the exact dates, but it was around 1996.
When you say you were doing a movie together, were you both actors?
The filming of that movie, when did it begin?
I don't remember the exact dates, but it was some time in 1996 I believe.
Was the production done within a year?
Oh yeah. Somewhere between like no more than two months. Probably more like six weeks.
During those two months how frequently would you have contact with him?
Was there anything unusual you recognized or that happened?
I would say that I thought that I was pretty friendly with everybody on the cast, including him. And I would say that the thing that stuck out to me is that sometimes he would kind of do a hard stare.
Would this be while you were working together?
We shared a trailer, so it was a bunch of people and we were all together.
Had you had contact with him before this?
And prior to working with him had you heard of him?
You were telling us about the stare. Can you describe that stare?
It was just a harshness, and cold. Maybe, it left me feeling intimidated.
Was it directed to you or others.
I don't know if it was directed to others, but I noticed it.
How did you feel about that.
I remember being confused because it seemed like we all got along at the same time. And it was often Justin Pierce, another actor and Danny and I seemed to, the three of us used to hang out a lot.
When you say you would hang out a lot, would that be on the set or off as well?
On the set, between shooting, we would, the three of us seemed to, the other cast members didn't seem to be around. And then I think everyone got got together and hung out a couple of times.
So when you were done there were times when you would all go out together?
Either of the times when you were working or socializing, was there at that time that he ever said to you that would make you feel uncomfortable.
Prior to the wrap party at the end, not anything seriously uncomfortable. Maybe feeling a bit harsh judgment or just kind of a, I don't know, the energy seemed to be focused on me in a negative way.
Would these be times when you and he were alone or with others?
It was always in a group up until that point.
You mentioned a wrap party, this was to celebrate completion of the film.
Where did that occur.
Initially we were all at La Poubelle, and ended up at Danny's house in Laurel Canyon.
Let's talk about La Poubelle first, it's...
How did you end up there.
I think it was a spot that all of us went to all the time.
And for this wrap party, who went?
I think it was Sean Piller, a producer, and Justin, Danny, me, and a couple of other actors that I didn't get to know really well and so I can't remember their names I can only visually remember them.
You said Masterson was there.
While you were there at La Poubelle, did you have any interactions with him?
I mean as a group, I don't recall anything like transpiring between the two of us specifically. But as a group we were all together.
Anything about any contact you might have had at La Poubelle that might have made you uncomfortable.
He was staring at me throughout the whole night. It was happening at La Poubelle and throughout the night.
When you say staring at you, is this a kind of stare that made you uneasy?
Yeah, I mean, it was unsettling. It was very focused and hard to read. You know, why?
Would he say anything to you?
Did you say anything to him?
No. I kind of felt uncomfortable and it was a rattling, unnerving type of feeling from having someone just cold stare at you in a very hard way.
While you were there at La Poubelle, did you have anything to drink?
Do you recall what you were drinking?
I don't. Probably wine.
How long were you at La Poubelle.
I'm not sure.
Do you know about when you got there.
It was evening.
Do you have a time estimate for how long before leaving.
We weren't there for too long, I don't think. Probably for two drinks. And then Danny suggested we all go up to his place. I wasn't driving, so we all caravanned together.
Did you go to his house then?
And others went.
Everyone who as at La Poubelle went.
I believe so, yes.
And his house was in Laurel Canyon?
So it was in the county of Los Angeles?
What happened when you got there?
Everyone sat down at a dining table, hanging out, drinking, talking, just kind of hanging out.
Were you drinking then?
Do you recall what you were drinking?
I don't, no.
But drinking meaning alcohol.
How much would you estimate you had at La Poubelle.
Two, I would say two.
How many at Mr. Masterson's house.
I was definitely drinking, I don't remember exactly how much. Maybe three drinks?
And any drugs?
Yes. Justin and I smoked a blunt.
And that was the first time you had marijuana that night?
What about alcohol before you went to the restaurant?
No, I had none.
So how were you feeling after that amount of alcohol at Masterson's house.
I would say lightly drunk. Having a good time. I recall everything, like I was pretty conscious. So while I was definitely drunk I wasn't wasted.
Did that change for you as you stayed longer at Masterson's house.
Well, everyone was drinking, and Danny suggested that everybody crash there. And up until that point, I remember what was going on. I was walking, moving, and talking. And Justin and I decided to crash in the same room. And up to that point, I felt like I was conscious and aware.
So, conscious and aware, did you feel drunk?
Yeah, I felt drunk.
Did others decide to stay?
I'm not sure who else stayed.
Why did you choose to stay there.
I had gotten a ride with everyone else, and that was apparently the consensus.
Where in the house did you decide to stay.
I don't remember whose room it was, it was down at the end of a hall. We just went in there and went to sleep.
Justin Pierce and I.
Did you know him for a while.
I had met him on the film, like with Danny.
What was your relationship.
We were friendly. We had a great time hanging out. We were friends.
Was there a discussion about who was going to sleep where.
Yeah, Justin and I decided to crash out in the same room. I don't know what the others decided.
Mr. Masterson's house, were there a number of different rooms available.
I don't know if we were told that that's where we could go, but yeah, there seemed to be a number of other rooms.
Where did you sleep. Was there a bed, how was it?
I believe Justin took the bed and I just laid down on the floor.
How were you dressed?
In everything I wore that night.
Do you remember what that was?
When you went to lay down on the floor, how were you feeling?
I mean I felt drunk. I was tired. I was ready to go to sleep. And I just laid down and went to sleep.
What's the next thing you remember?
I woke up to Danny trying to pull me up and out of the room, and he was saying something to Justin about taking advantage of me. He was being like, appearing to be brotherly, like he was watching out for me. So it was like, "Come with me, Justin is doing something, whatever." And I was like, no he's not.
When he tried to pick you up, how was he doing that.
I woke up to him over me just trying to lift me up.
(Mueller describes gesture of arms out)
He was trying to scoop me up off the ground.
Did he do that?
No, I didn't get up. I kicked him awway with a foot and was pushing him off of me and saying that nothing was happening in the room, that Justin wasn't doing anything to me and I just wanted to sleep.
Did you see Justin?
I was on the floor, and he was on the side of me. I feel like the door was here and I was here and he was here.
Was Justin still on the bed?
So what were you thinking to yourself at that time when Masterson was trying to pick you off the floor.
At first it was just like, that I wanted to go to sleep and I didn't understand what was going on. And nothing had been going on between Justin and I. I didn't understand, I was confused, I didn't really understand what he was talking about.
What happened next.
He was very adamant about me leaving the room and he was trying to get me, and I just blacked out.
What gave you that belief that he was adamant.
Well, Justin and i were both conveying that I was fine where I was, and he wasn't taking that.
How did he react?
He was just demanding that I go and insisting.
He was demanding?
Was there something in his tone or his demeanor that led you to believe he was demanding you?
Yeah. It's hard to describe, it was just a very stern tone. Very assured and kind of, I don't want to say barking order. But just sort of, I mean it's difficult to describe. Just a very demanding tone of voice. "You have to get up. You have to come with me. He's doing this to you." Like that.
How else did you react?
I mean I think I didn't take it all that seriously in the moment. I was sort of laughing and just like, what? What's he talking about? But also I was drunk and I didn't think anything was going to transpire. I didn't know what the agenda was.
At some point did you end up out of the bedroom?
Yeah. I came sort of back into consciousness in the hallway.
You mentioned that you did pass out.
While you were still in the bedroom
While he was still trying to get you off the floor?
Your next memory?
Him kind of hoisting me down the hallway.
Like he had his arms around me, dragging me by the waist.
What is your memory as to how he was holding you.
I mean, I just recall like having his arms around my waist, my torso.
Was he facing you at that time?
He was to the side, but sort of, he was facing me but forward at the same time if that make sense.
So his arms were around your body?
Yeah, it felt like my waist or around my upper body.
Were you standing?
Was he holding you up?
What do you recall as you were coming to, what do you recall happening.
I was only conscious for a flash.
Can you decribe that flash?
It was the hallway, he was taking me down the hallway. And that was kind of it.
The taking, what did you mean by taking.
I mean he's taking me down along the hallway. I wasn't walking.
So he was like pulling you?
What do you remember next.
I became conscious again when he was having sex with me.
Where were you?
I believe it was his bed.
Why do you say that.
I mean, I don't know whose bed it was. It was a bed.
How was your body positioned?
I was on my back.
What about your clothes?
Uh, I mean, I don't really recall what was on and what was off in that moment.
Do you recall if you were fully dressed in the hallway?
I mean, I feel like I was dressed because I had laid down in that room fully dressed.
You don't recall him taking off any clothes.
When you woke up on your back, what was happening.
Danny was having sex with me.
Can you give us any detail about how his body was positioned, where he was having sex with you.
He was on top of me, and...
Do you need a moment?
(Judge Olmedo: Do you need a moment? Tricia: It's OK. Do you need water? Tricia: It's OK. Judge Olmedo gives her a tissue.)
I'm not sure what...
Let me just ask some questions.
When you woke up and he was on top of you, how was his body positioned over you?
He was penetrating me, vaginally. And I just remember waking up or becoming conscious and his being above me.
You said that he was penetrating you vaginally, correct.
What part of his body was penetrating you?
Were you able to feel his body weight.
Can you describe what you were feeling in regards to his body weight.
I mean he was rough. And I guess I just remember sort of trying to take in what was happening. I mean, I was pretty disoriented. And honestly I don't think I was conscious for very long.
When you say you were disoriented. Did you feel that was from the alcohol or marijuana.
I don't think so, but...
You said it was rough.
What do you mean by that?
He was, you know, pounding.
Was this what you saw or felt?
It was what I felt.
Could you see it?
I could see him above me. I couldn't really move or say anything. And I was back out.
Did he say anything while he was on top of you?
Not that I know of.
Was there anything about seeing his face that stands out in your mind?
And what was going through your mind?
I was just completely confused. And honestly, I don't think I could have any coherent thoughts. I just, aside from confusion and not being able to do anything about it.
OK. Other than Mr. Masterson penetrating you vaginally, did he have contact with your anus?
I don't know for sure. Except for how I felt.
Just for that moment while you were conscious.
Did his penis touch your mouth while you were conscious.
So what happened next.
I woke up the next morning. And I was sort of looking around the room, like, taking it all in I guess. And Danny woke up and he was just smiling at me in a way that sort of was very confusing to me. As if you know we had like, like as if I, like we were on a date or something sweet.
When you woke up that morning, did you have any clothes on?
Did you see where your clothes were?
I had to find everything to put them on. I just found them around the bed.
But your clothes were in the same room where you woke up.
Just scattered around.
When Mr. Masterson gave you that smile, did you say anything.
No. I completely shut down. And just got dressed and left the room.
When you say shut down, what do you mean.
I just didn't know what to make of the situation. I didn't like him, and I didn't think he even liked me. And I just didn't know how to process it (getting emotional again).
Shortly thereafter did you have an understanding of what happened that night?
No. I was upset by what happened, but I didn't know how to categorize it. And I definitely felt a deep shame and disrespected (emotional) because I thought I was hanging out with my castmates and maybe friends, and I had a very different assessment of the situation I thought that, I just didn't think that was on the table, or, it wasn't for me. And I was disturbed but I didn't know how to cope with it. And I don't think I could even think at that point. I just stopped being able to think about it.
You got your clothes and got dressed, right?
Then where did you go?
I don't remember.
Do you remember leaving the house?
Someone gave me a ride a home.
Do you remember who?
No, I don't remember.
When you got dressed, do you remember seeing who was in the house?
So before leaving the house, was there any further contact with Mr. Masterson?
Was he still in the bedroom?
I don't recall.
Were there any further conversations with him before you left?
Other than giving you that smile, did he say anything?
I don't recall a conversation.
Was there a conversation that you don't recall.
I don't think there was a conversation. My recollection is that I just gathered up my stuff and left the room.
So after leaving the house, someone gave you a ride, did you go straight home?
What happened when you got there?
I don't know, I think I felt pretty physically ill, and sore, and being mentally incapable of just dealing with any of it, and I just kind of holed up in my room.
When you got home, tell us what you remember feeling physically.
My vagina was sore. And so was my anus.
Did you notice any bruising or tears to your vagina?
No, but the inside of my thighs were bruised. Tender and bruised.
On one side?
Your anus was sore too.
Did you look to see if there was any bleeding or you were torn?
So you don't know if there was any?
When you went to the bathroom when you went home, did you notice anything?
When you had a bowel movement, did you notice any blood or tissue?
Were you living alone.
I had two roommates.
Were they home?
I have no idea, they lived on another floor.
Did you see your roommates later that day?
Other than your vagina or your anus or your thighs, any other areas that were sore.
I mean, I felt like my entire body was sort of in pain. Like, an incredible hangover, but like extreme.
When you say an incredible hangover, are you saying pain associated with a hangover?
What about to your mouth, any soreness?
Did you talk to someone that day about what had happened?
Who was the first person you talked to about what happened?
The first person I told was [Jane Doe 2] (Obj, overruled)
When you spoke to JD2, do you recall when that was?
I believe it's 2013?
And this incident happened in 1996.
And you're able to determine this in relation to the wrap party.
And that was in August or September 1996?
I would have to check exact dates. I would have to guess.
But it was at the conclusion of the movie.
Had you known JD2 before this happened.
Before the wrap party?
How did you get to know her.
I did a film with someone that was a friend of her. This actress invited me over to her house, and JD2 was there.
Do you recall what year that was?
1998 or 1999?
And at that time when you first met her, did you talk to her at all about what had happened with Masterson?
No. We just talked about pizza.
Subsequently, after you first met her, was there another time you got together with her?
She was around. I saw at a friend's holiday party I think was like a year and a half. We didn't talk except for like a, oh hey yeah, how are you. Like a peripheral, passing thing.
What about Masterson? Were there times you had contact with him? (Rephrase) Was there a time when you had contact with Mr. Masterson at a friend's home.
Well, yes. Sean Piller, the producer on the film we did, I became friends with him as well, and he lived in a house. At some point I moved to this monastery in Del Mar, and Danny and his brother lived across the way.
So you had contact with him?
And it was at Mr. Piller's home?
Judge Olmedo calls for a lunch break and excuses the jury.
Olmedo asks Mueller where he is going.
Mueller: There is an incident where Masterson cornered her in a bathroom, and she was intimidated by him.
Olmedo wants to make sure he is leading so it doesn't go into the second incident.
Cohen says it's too late now. He is angry that there was a hearsay statement by Justin, which is a violation of the 402 ruling. And also a reference to drugging. He says the court was clear that's not where Mueller was going, and that the witness was admonished. But then Mueller akss did you think it was due to the alcohol and she says I don't think so.
I feel like we're playing by two sets of rules, he says to the judge.
He's angry and he's citing the evidence code at the judge. I feel like we were just continuously playing by two sets of rules or one of us is playing by the rules and the other isn't. It was the biggest issue we talked about yesterday. And the question was, so you think it was due to the alcohol, and then asked about the hangover. What is the inference? I'll just keep asking for 402s and for a mistrial, as I am now. This door was never opened. And now that it's been opened a Mack truck is driving through it. And I've done everything I can to put in safeguards, and it's been disregarded. It's the inference in each of the Jane Does and now in an 1108 (past bad acts witness). There is zero credibility on the Jane Does.
Mueller: First of all, Tricia had been admonished on all of the 402s. She described a disorientation attributed to alcohol. And I was curious if it was also the assault. As soon as she said "I don't think so," I shut it down. As to the other issue, Justin's statement, that was not my understanding of the statement that Mr. Cohen was referring to, and it goes to Mr. Masterson's disregard of what Justin and Tricia were saying, and took her out of the room and is entirely relevant.
Cohen: Listen to that answer! He thinks the hearsay from Justin is entirely relevant to his case, and therefore he's disregarding the court's specific 402 ruling, and my request of no statements of Justin. And Mr. Mueller said yes. And now he decides in the middle of the game to change his strategy and ignore the court's ruling. What can I do? He didn't say it was an accident, he said it was relevant to his case. He doesn't need to say anything else. I'm done. I would like a mistrial.
Mueller: My understanding was that it had anything to that comment by Justin.
Cohen: It is the only comment Justin makes! Anyone who has read the comments, what else can he be referring.
Olmedo: Your request for a mistrial is denied at this time. The court disagrees with some of your characterizations. (She cites the evidence code. She's referring to Justin's statement, if you had objected to it as hearsay I could have sustained it and struck it and I could still.) I have kept quiet throughout these days and these numbers you have complained about the court's ruling. And I understand you disagree. And I have made rulings against each side. My ruling stands, and the repeated attacks on the court's ruling don't carry weight as far as legal argument. With that said the characterization of a conversation outside oof teh jury is not what the court ruled. The court ruled about a change of defense strategy. One, that the Nov JD3 incident never took place and took us by surprise. And that that the collusion was different than before. Those were the reasons gave for the 1108 evidence (Tricia) was more probative. So it wasn't just there was some conversation outside of the jury to allow in that testimony. My ruling is very explicit. But with all that said, your record is made with your objections to the court's rulings. Repeating it over and over again every day, and starts becoming disrespectful to the court's rulings, and I know you may not mean it that way, and I know right now you're passionate, but your objection should be based on reasoning.
Mr. Mueller, Ms. Anson, if you say you admonished the witnesses, you need to make sure you did. I don't think the statement from Justin carries nearly the prejudice that the defense does. If you want me to I will strike it. As for the statements on alcohol and marijuana, I don't think there's the same inferences as the other Jane Does. She is not saying that Masterson gave her anything. And as for the hangover and headache, she has said she ingested a combination of drugs and alcohol. I understand your argument, but I don't think it rises to the level that your indignation is indicating to this court. So your request for a mistrial is denied, would you like me to strike testimony from Justin and admonish the jury?
Cohen: I would like to respond. The reason I bring up the 1108 is that the court said I opened the door. (He refers again to the DA asking about Reyes and the response about the website came up.) And I believe today they've opened the door. Number two, again I'm not relitigating, but I do want to respond, there was never a quesion asked of the witness that this never happened. That was a colloquy with the court. Outside the jury. And today with Det Reyes, JD3 never said there was penetration.
Olmedo: They are two different things. Consent and an issue didn't happen are two different things. You can't say there was no consent and there was no sex.
The two of them are talking over each other. Olmedo said she had one more thing to say, that the court can always reconsider its rulings, that there doesn't have to be a difference, but there is a difference.
Cohen says the court never said he never objected to the Justin utterance, but he did in the form of a 402.
Olmedo: This trial is replete with your objections to the 402. You haven't been shy about that. The record is what it what is. If the defense wants to strike, let us know. Cohen says he might ask for that in jury instructions.
Olmedo: You can submit to the court on jury instructions, as it relates to testimony. If you want it stricken, it should be done as soon as it happened. So that cannot be saved for jury instruction.
We'll be in recess.
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I wonder if Masterson's heart drops every single time he hears "mistrial denied."
Hearing about the rapes from the victims is difficult. However, I have no trouble understanding the testimony. Then these discussions with the judge and lawyers makes me feel like I didn’t just read the testimony. Maybe I need to clear a few words (joking). Thankfully your end of the day videos and talks with Jeffery Augustine simplify what it is they are saying. I’m happy to hear that JD4 was allowed to testify. Hope it brings her some closure.