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Danny Masterson shatters suppression, Scientology style, as his trial heats up
What does it look like when an upstat Scientologist shatters suppression in real time? Marc Headley told us all about it in yesterday’s end-of-day video!
We’re releasing that video below, and you’ll see that our subscribers got a real treat yesterday as we revealed what Headley saw in the hallway of the ninth floor at the courthouse. He’s in town for a project and decided to come down, asking us to meet him at the lunch hour. (We posted a photo together.)
When he expressed some curiosity about what the trial was like, we asked him to come up for the afternoon session, and he took a seat beside Jeffrey Augustine in the gallery. And if you were following our notes yesterday, you know he got to see some interesting things.
Jane Doe 3’s cross-examination finished up, and it was followed by brief sessions of redirect and re-cross. And then the first LAPD witness, Detective Alexander Schlegel, took the stand to testify about taking Jane Doe 1’s initial 2004 report. As we said in our video, we found this to be stunning testimony because defense attorney Philip Cohen had spent days making it sound like the 2004 report taken by Schlegel was nothing like what Jane Doe 1 is now testifying to. So when Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller went over the report in detail with Schlegel, it was startling to see just how consistent it actually is.
Marc also got to see Judge Charlaine Olmedo single out a man sitting not too far away from him for his poor behavior. Initially, she admonished him for gesturing and making faces during Jane Doe 3’s cross-examination. But later, she really ripped into him for talking while she and the attorneys for both sides were arguing over yet another defense motion for a mistrial. (That’s four in seven days of testimony, if you’re keeping score.)
Judge Olmedo asked the man to say and spell his name, and he turns out be Laguna Beach attorney Scott Borthwick. We had noticed him hanging around the Masterson family members for several days of the trial, and we wondered who he might be — he wasn’t dressed like an attorney, more in a business casual style, and so it wasn’t obvious why he was there. After he spelled his name, reporters quickly found that he has been co-counsel with Philip Cohen and Shawn Holley on previous cases. After Judge Olmedo dressed him down, he didn’t return after the afternoon break.
OK, we’ll just throw it out there: Could it possibly have been a strategy of the defense to have a shill in the audience, mugging and rolling his eyes at Jane Doe 3’s testimony in the hopes it might have an affect on the jury? Surely an experienced attorney knows he’s not supposed to be reacting that way in the audience.
Anyway, the really fun part happened a little later as we broke for the day. We sat in the back row, finishing up some things with our notes, and then walked out of the courtroom after it was mostly empty. Outside in the hallway, we found Headley and Jeffrey Augustine sitting on a bench and grinning at us. What was up?
That’s when they told us that we’d missed a wondrous sight: Danny Masterson — who has kept a poker face going for the whole trial — left the courtroom and had a strange reaction to seeing Headley sitting there in the hallway. They described his eyes widening as Danny glared at Marc. Jeffrey said his eyes were like lasers locking onto a target as Masterson walked by, his head on a swivel, glowering at his former Scientology acquaintance.
Yes, Masterson and Headley had known each other when Marc was in the Sea Org. He told us that they both appeared in a Scientology film, and ironically Marc’s character saved Danny’s character from being declared a suppressive person by vouching for him.
Yesterday’s encounter in the hallway was the first instance of Danny dropping his calm demeanor since the trial started that we’ve heard about. (Dominic Patten at Deadline reported that Danny also broke his poker face long enough yesterday to smirk during Jane Doe 3’s mention of an incident involving actress Jennifer Esposito.)
Anyway, we are very glad that Marc stopped by, and that he got to report seeing Danny shattering suppression like that. It sounds like it was quite a sight.
On a side note, we wanted to clear up something that was causing some confusion yesterday. When Det. Schlegel listed the names of witnesses from the 2004 report he took from Jane Doe 1, one of the names he said was Julian Swartz, the ethics officer who was the Master-at-Arms at AOLA. Some people took this to mean that Swartz was at the party at Masterson’s house that night when Jane Doe 1 says she was attacked. That’s not the case. He was listed as a witness by her not because he was there at Masterson’s house, but because she had gone to Swartz afterwards to report the incident at the church.
Another note from yesterday, we learned that the impending civil trial regarding the 2019 shooting death of Brian Statler has been headed off with a settlement.
Trial was scheduled to begin on Dec 6, and the defendants were the two Inglewood police officers who shot Statler at the Inglewood Scientology “Ideal Org.”
Statler’s parents originally filed the lawsuit, but they had been replaced as plaintiffs by Statler’s unnamed minor daughter, who was being represented by her mother, Decery Capponi, a Scientologist employee at the org.
Statler showed up that day wanting to see her, and he was wearing a Samurai getup. The police alleged that when they arrived and asked to talk to him, at some point he had wrestled with one of the officers and got control of his firearm, forcing the other officer to shoot him dead. The lawsuit questioned that version of events.
It was a bizarre incident, and we were surprised that it took this long to settle. We thought the chances of an actual trial were pretty remote.
And with that, here’s yesterday’s video for everyone. We’re back in court today!
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