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Prosecution plans to call Lisa Marie Presley as witness at Danny Masterson rape trial
This week, the two sides in the upcoming Danny Masterson rape trial have been arguing over what evidence would be allowed, and which witnesses would be called. Yesterday, Judge Charlaine Olmedo issued some rulings in the case, denying a delay that Masterson had asked for, but also denying an expert witness for the prosecution.
But not everything played out in open court before the judge, and we have now learned that there’s a bombshell waiting to go off once the trial starts.
The Underground Bunker has learned that the prosecution has notified Masterson’s defense team that it intends to call Lisa Marie Presley as a witness in the trial.
Before this week, we had been looking into whether Presley might be involved in the case, based in part on what was said at the preliminary hearing held last year, the first time the three alleged victims were allowed to testify.
During her testimony at the preliminary hearing last year, the alleged victim known as Jane Doe 1 referred multiple times to a “Lisa” as a friend. We have now determined that this was, in fact, a reference to Lisa Marie Presley.
“My friend Lisa had someone named Luke who lived and worked with her who was close to Danny…Luke Watson,” Jane Doe 1 testified last year.
Watson and Presley dated briefly in 1998-1999, and they were part of an extended Scientologist clique that included Masterson and Jane Doe 1.
Jane Doe 1 testified that the night of her attack on April 25, 2003, after she had felt suspiciously intoxicated from a drink and Masterson had insisted she get in his jacuzzi, she was feeling ill. At that point, she testified, Watson and Masterson argued over what to do with her as she began saying she needed to throw up.
“It’s better that I do it, really,” Watson told Masterson, she testified. And at that point, Masterson said something that implied Watson understood what might be at stake.
“Oh my God, dude. She is my homie. I wouldn’t. I would never,” Masterson said, according to Jane Doe 1’s testimony.
She said that Masterson then led Jane Doe 1 upstairs to a bathroom in his house. put his finger down her throat, and then showered her off before beginning to sexually assault her while she struggled to remain conscious.
After she was attacked by Masterson, Jane Doe 1 testified that he admonished her not to tell anyone what had happened, including their friend Lisa.
When I first came to, he was saying: “It’s good. You like this. I’ll tell you what you’re not going to do. You — you can do this any time. But you’re not going to tell fucking Paige. You’re not going to tell fucking Lisa. You’re not going to fucking tell anybody.”
At the time of the alleged attack, in 2003, Jane Doe 1 and Presley were both, like Masterson himself, longtime Scientologists who had grown up in the church.
Jane Doe 1 is no longer a Scientologist. And in 2016, we reported that Lisa Marie had made a dramatic exit from the church after trying to confront leader David Miscavige over his treatment of his own father, Ron Miscavige.
But this is the first time that Presley has been publicly connected to this case, and her appearance on the witness stand should turn what already promises to be heavy media coverage into a feeding frenzy.
Masterson, the That ’70s Show actor and Scientology celebrity, is facing charges that he forcibly raped three women, all Scientologists at the time, between 2001 and 2003. He’s been charged under California’s strict “One Strike” law, and if he’s convicted of all three rapes he faces 45 years to life in prison. Jury selection in his trial is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Lisa Marie is, of course, the daughter of Elvis Presley, who wanted nothing to do with Scientology and was vocal about it. But when he died in 1977, his young former wife, Priscilla, was drawn into Scientology at that point after reaching out to John Travolta for help. Lisa Marie was nine years old when her famous father died.
Lisa Marie was then raised in Scientology and became one of its most visible and reliable celebrities. But like Leah Remini, it appears that Lisa Marie’s journey out of Scientology took several years.
In April 2012, we first noticed that she had released a single with lyrics that suggested she was pushing Scientology away. She followed that up with an album a month later that was even more explicit about her split with the church.
That was also the year that Ron Miscavige made his escape from the Sea Org and life working under his own son, Scientology leader David Miscavige. Ron, who died last year, told us that he and Lisa Marie were very close, and she was very concerned about what he was going through.
He told us that he shared with her the shocking news when local police in Wisconsin where he was living told him that they had arrested a private investigator duo who had been surveilling him, and with a small arsenal in their car.
But what really set off Lisa Marie, he told us, was when he attempted to see his two daughters, David Miscavige’s sisters, in Florida, and was told they refused to see him. Ron said that Lisa Marie was incensed that David Miscavige would rip apart his own family, following Scientology’s toxic policy of “disconnection.”
At that point, in October 2014, Lisa Marie went to Scientology’s Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, determined to have a showdown with Miscavige. Instead, he sent his two sisters to have a confrontation with her.
Ron told us that at that point, Lisa Marie said that she stormed out and told her family that she was no longer a Scientologist. Then, she did something that Mike Rinder has just confirmed in his new book, A Billion Years: My Escape from a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology: On behalf of Lisa Marie, Rinder passed along the police reports from the Wisconsin arrest to the Los Angeles Times for a blockbuster story about how David Miscavige was paying private eyes $10,000 a week to follow his own father.
As we said in 2016, Lisa Marie had gone on the warpath with David Miscavige.
But since then, she has gone through a very difficult time, with a rancorous divorce and custody battle, as well as the shocking 2020 suicide of her son Ben Keough, and if she has remained critical of Scientology, it has been difficult to assess.
Now, she may appear in one of the most high profile, contentious events in Scientology history.
We don’t yet know why the prosecution wants to call her, or what she might testify about. But we are anxious to find out.
Special podcast episode for our supporters
With only a week to go before the Danny Masterson trial, we decided to try out a new Substack feature, its video beta platform. It’s a short message from your proprietor, trying out a resource that may come in handy when we’re reporting from the trial itself.
This short video message went out this morning to our paid subscribers as a thanks for their continuing support.
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Episode 15 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers: We talked with OG historian Jon Atack about Mike Rinder’s just-published book, ‘A Billion Years.’ Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 14 available to everyone, with such guests as Mark Bunker, Jesse Prince, Paulette Cooper, Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, Jefferson Hawkins, Patty Moher, Geoff Levin, Pete Griffiths, Sunny Pereira, Bruce Hines, Jeffrey Augustine, and Claire Headley. Go here to get the episodes!