The fourth week of testimony at the Danny Masterson trial in Los Angeles was another abbreviated one, as the court is dark today for Veterans Day. But what a week of big stories.
We finally learned what it was that Lisa Marie Presley was being asked to testify about, and it amounted to nothing less than obstruction of justice by the Church of Scientology. But then, to our dismay, Judge Charlaine Olmedo ruled that such testimony wasn’t relevant to a prosecution of Danny Masterson, and that it more properly belonged in the civil lawsuit that Masterson’s accusers have filed against the church.
Meanwhile, Jane Doe 4 took the witness stand this week, and we had the opportunity to identify her (with her permission) as actress Tricia Vessey, and to record her compelling testimony about two sexual assaults she alleges that Masterson committed in 1996.
There were two motions for mistrials by defense attorney Philip Cohen this week, and another week of sartorial splendor on display.
Yesterday, Vessey finished up, another witness described being terrified of Scientology retaliation, and Judge Olmedo described a scenario that could get us closing arguments by Tuesday. We summarized the day for our subscribers, and now we’re releasing the video for everyone. (We’re embedding the YouTube version below.)
And once again, with the week done, we sat down with Jeffrey Augustine to talk with him about this week’s big developments, including the news from New York yesterday that Paul Haggis was found liable in the sexual assault lawsuit filed by former publicist Haleigh Breest, who was awarded $7.5 million in damages and with more to be determined on Monday.
Substack won’t let us embed the podcast here, but it went out on email this morning, and you can go to it directly with this link.
As always, we’re looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the trial as well. So please give us some of your thoughts about moments in testimony, or coverage of the case, or anything else that struck you this week.
Thank you for reading today’s story here at Substack. For the full picture of what’s happening today in the world of Scientology, please join the conversation at tonyortega.org, where we’ve been reporting daily on David Miscavige’s cabal since 2012. There you’ll find additional stories, and our popular regular daily features:
Source Code: Actual things founder L. Ron Hubbard said on this date in history
Avast, Ye Mateys: Snapshots from Scientology’s years at sea
Overheard in the Freezone: Indie Hubbardism, one thought at a time
Past is Prologue: From this week in history at alt.religion.scientology
Random Howdy: Your daily dose of the Captain
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What is Cohen's game plan? So far, he has been ineffectual and been careful of the Jane Does testimony and he hasn't tried to abuse them or play the 'what were you wearing' crap. If everything wraps up on Monday or Tuesday, I would expect a guilty verdict.
Nice job Tony and Jeff, you have covered the trial beautifully and brought your expertise to this game. I do hope that you and all the other reporters get your work properly accredited. Now, enjoy the Holiday and have a beer or three.
As usual, great reporting, Tony. We appreciate it. This is what struck me this week - your recent improvements in background choices. You took it from nothin but concrete to a glorious palm, to today's leafy tree filling the frame. More green stuff, less concrete!