Jane Doe 1 makes rare statement: Don’t delay Danny Masterson trial for baseball conflict
Yesterday morning, we revealed the surprising reason behind Danny Masterson’s latest attempt to delay his October 11 criminal rape trial: One of his attorneys, Shawn Holley, says she’s too busy handling Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer’s arbitration in Washington DC and needs the Masterson trial set back to late January.
Late yesterday, one of Masterson’s accusers, citing Holley’s letter to Judge Charlaine Olmedo, put out a rare public statement, criticizing the idea that Bauer’s arbitration over a two-year suspension would be more important than a rape trial that could put Masterson in prison for life.
“My life has been tortured for so many years as a result of what happened to me,” the accuser known as Jane Doe 1 said in her statement. “Finally, the day of justice was coming and now I see there is another excuse to delay justice, which will only cause greater damage to me and the other victims. I hope the Court sees that the matters in this trial, the rights of the victims, and the need for finality of this important matter, trump a scheduling conflict related to baseball.”
The statement was part of a letter released last night by Jane Doe 1’s “Marsy’s Law” attorneys, Nina Hawkinson and Dominick Cognata, who went into detail about how the California law protects victims from further harm.
“Ms. Holley’s recent request, for a trial continuance in the People v. Masterson matter, puts our client, and her family, at great risk of harm, including intimidation, harassment and abuse,” the two attorneys write. “The ‘Church of Scientology’ is well known for stalking and harassing individuals it identifies as suppressive persons, which is anyone acting against the ‘Church’ or any ‘parishioner’ of the ‘Church.’ Thus, it is reasonable to assert that Jane Doe 1 is at great risk of further harm, should this matter be delayed, by being known to the ‘Church’ and classified as a suppressive person, as a victim witness set to testify against a well-known member of the Church. As a Marsy’s Law victim, our client has a right to be free from this harm, which can only be accomplished by no further delay and proceeding to trial.”
In a preliminary hearing last year, Jane Doe 1 testified that she was violently raped by Masterson at his Hollywood Hills home in the early hours of April 25, 2003. A Scientologist at the time, she first reported the incident to the church, and then overcame Scientology’s objections to report the incident to the LAPD in 2004. She alleges that Scientology led a concerted effort to overwhelm the LAPD investigation by having members submit affidavits calling her a liar, and the investigation was shut down.
The LAPD reopened the investigation into Masterson when Jane Doe 1 and two additional women came forward in 2016 after the women had become aware of each other and their allegations. In 2020 the LA District Attorney’s office charged Masterson with three counts of forcible rape after considering the claims of five separate women. If he’s convicted of all three counts, he’s facing 45 years to life in prison. (And in a separate case, the accusers are suing Masterson and Scientology for what they say has been a campaign of harassment since they came forward. That case is currently being petitioned to the US Supreme Court by Scientology, which wants to keep it behind closed doors in its own brand of “religious arbitration.”)
Since he was charged, Masterson has filed numerous motions and petitions and appeals in order to dismiss or delay the case. But since Judge Olmedo received the case, she’s tried to keep it on a strict schedule.
She did move trial date back from August 29 to October 11 when Masterson fired his first two defense attorneys, Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum, but Judge Olmedo got assurances from his current attorneys, Philip Cohen and Shawn Holley, that they would be prepared to take the case all the way through trial.
Now, Holley says she is too busy handling the arbitration of Bauer, which began in May 23, eight days before Masterson fired Mesereau.
Bauer’s 324-game suspension, announced in April, is the longest since Major League Baseball adopted its new domestic violence policy in 2015. The LA District Attorney’s Office declined to press criminal charges against Baeur last year based on the allegations of a San Diego woman who claimed that the pitcher had sexually assaulted her. But the MLB can suspend a player even if that player isn’t charged criminally, and the league talked to at least two additional women, both in Ohio, who also made allegations against Baeur. The pitcher appealed the suspension, resulting in the arbitration.
In the letter they released yesterday, Jane Doe 1’s attorneys pointed out something we did as well in our story yesterday: Holley is trying to make it sound like she only became Masterson’s attorney on May 31 when he fired Mesereau and eight days after the Bauer arbitration began. But the record shows that Holley had been fully involved in Masterson’s defense for months by then.
“In reviewing Ms. Holley’s declaration to the Court, under penalty of perjury she states that she and Mr. Cohen only substituted in as trial counsel for the Defendant, in the People v. Masterson matter, on May 31, 2022; however, while accurate, this is disingenuous,” they write. “Back in November 2021, both Ms. Holley and Mr. Cohen were seen with Defendant’s then counsel, Thomas Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum at the Defendant’s 995 hearing. During that hearing, Mesereau asked the court for a hearing continuance because, he said, they would be adding new members to their defense team. Then, in February 2022 Ms. Holley issued subpoenas on behalf of the Defendant on various witnesses. Thus, Ms. Holley and Mr. Cohen have been working on Defendant’s defense in this matter since, at least, November 2021, making her declaration true, but misleading.”
Holley, in the declaration and letter we made public yesterday, is asking Judge Olmedo to push back Masterson’s trial even though she admitted that new dates in the Bauer arbitration had not been set, and also that the matter is being handled virtually and Holley would not necessarily need to travel to DC for it.
“The estimated date for completion of the arbitration has been extended, though new dates have not yet been agreed upon by the arbitrator or the parties,” she wrote.
Holley’s request to delay the Masterson trial to late January will be considered at the next pretrial conference, scheduled for August 17.
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