The Shaun Fabos Factor: What happens when a Scientologist is called to testify
We have been told that Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller would rather not call witnesses in the Danny Masterson trial that he thinks may lie on the stand. But with Scientologist Shaun Fabos, Mueller may have figured he had a good way of making sure the witness stuck to the facts.
You see, the situation was this: In 2003 Jane Doe 1 alleges that she was raped by Masterson at his Hollywood Hills home, but then later that same day she flew with her family for a 7 to 10 day vacation in Clearwater, Florida. Along for the trip was Jane Doe 1’s younger cousin, Rachel D.
Jane Doe 1 let Rachel know that “something bad happened” to her before the trip, but she held back some details. Then, when Jane Doe 1 returned to Los Angeles after the trip, the first person she really told about the details of the attack was her good friend, a fellow Scientologist named Shaun Fabos, who also happened to work as her mother’s assistant.
Now we’ve learned that in 2017, when the LAPD revived its investigation of her claims, it asked Jane Doe 1 (who was then no longer a Scientologist) to make recorded phone calls with various people without telling them that they were being recorded. Again, this was the LAPD’s instruction, and a pretty standard police technique.
So in 2017, Jane Doe 1 phoned up Shaun Fabos, who she hadn’t talked to in years, and while she was secretly taping him, asked him if he remembered what she told him in 2003 after she’d got back from Florida.
Yesterday, Shaun Fabos was called to the witness stand, and because of that 2017 recording he was pretty stuck. He’s still a Scientologist, he indicated, but here they had him on tape essentially corroborating that in 2003 Jane Doe 1 had told him some of the details of the Masterson attack. (That, for example, he’d given her a single drink, she’d felt suspiciously intoxicated by it, he’d tossed her in the jacuzzi, and she ended up waking up in his bed.)
Right from the start of his testimony, it was obvious that Fabos was not exactly thrilled that he’d been taped in 2017, and he was having a hard time remembering what he’d said in it. Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller repeatedly had to show him the transcript of the 2017 call to refresh his memory about what he said.
We can imagine that this was a very difficult spot for a Scientologist to be in. He was being asked to repeat things which tended to corroborate Jane Doe 1’s story, and which added credence to the idea that she’d been raped by a Scientologist celebrity.
But then, it became obvious that things were going to get a lot weirder. Fabos wanted Mueller to believe that last Thursday, while he was sitting in the hallway at the courthouse waiting to testify, he had been approached by a private investigator working for the Masterson defense, and she asked him if he had been on that trip to Florida.
Now, Fabos told Mueller, he remembered for the first time in the last 19 years that he was on that 2003 trip with Jane Doe 1 and her family, and so he could testify that he did not see the bruising she was talking about.
It was pretty obvious that Mueller was not very happy, either with the fact that Masterson’s private eye had approached his witness in the hallway at the courtroom, or that Fabos was now saying something he not only had never claimed before, but that he admitted he’d never even remembered before Thursday.
He was followed on the witness stand by Jane Doe 1’s cousin, Rachel, who said of course Fabos was not on the trip, (she said he had gone on a few family vacations, but not that one), but even a few moments thinking about it should suggest to anyone that Shaun’s sudden new memory is ludicrous.
Remember, it has been Jane Doe 1’s testimony, for years, that after she came back from Florida, she got together with her good friend Shaun Fabos and told him about what had happened with Masterson, and that Fabos had become so angry he said he was going to kill Danny. (She then calmed him down.)
How is it even in the realm of possibility that it would have slipped Jane Doe 1’s mind that she didn’t need to wait to return from Florida to tell Fabos that story since he was there with her all the time?
No, a different interpretation suggests itself. In 2017, Fabos was recorded by Jane Doe 1 and corroborated part of her story. He then learned that he was part of a police investigation and that it would have put him in the crosshairs of the Scientology organization.
What’s happened since 2017? As we pointed out a few weeks ago, Shaun’s parents suddenly went on a huge donation spree.
In 2017, Shaun’s father Steve Fabos and his wife Peggy Oppenheim-Fabos, who are often referred to as “The Fabos Factor” in fundraising flyers, were recognized as donors to the International Association of Scientologists who have reached the status of “Gold Meritorious With Honors,” which means they had reached a cumulative total of $1.5 million in donations.
Earlier this year, they reached “Patron Laureate,” or $10 million in giving, putting them in relatively rare company.
That’s $7.5 million they’ve given the church just since it became known that their son was caught up in a police investigation of one of Scientology’s celebrities.
And while his father was pumping that kind of money into Scientology, what did Shaun Fabos testify to yesterday?
Mueller: Were you a member of Scientology in 2003?
Fabos: I grew up in it, is the best way to explain it.
Mueller: Are you still a member?
Fabos: I am now.
Mueller: In fact over the last few years you became more involved?
Fabos: That’s when I really became a Scientologist, in the last few years.
You don’t say.
Well, like we said, Mueller might have thought he could have safely put a Scientologist on the stand as long as he was in possession of a transcribed 2017 phone conversation he could rely on to keep the witness on track.
So much for that plan.
What impression was left with the jury? It’s hard for us to tell. Fabos’s sudden revelation, sparked by a defense private eye, seemed pretty ridiculous on its face to us, and Rachel D.’s subsequent testimony sure appeared to deflate it. But one never knows, one never knows.
Today, Jane Doe 3 will continue her testimony and will likely begin cross-examination.
Marty Singer’s testimony is being rescheduled.
And one more tidbit from court yesterday: Rizza Islam did show up for his first day of trial on the same ninth floor at the courthouse, but it was then rescheduled for March 1, 2023. Yes, another delay.
We can hardly wait to see what surprises await us at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center today.
Now, here’s yesterday’s video report we recorded outside the courtroom.
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Scientology’s PI approaches the Witness & he suddenly remembered being on a Florida trip with the victim? isn’t that witness tampering? Obviously he was coerced into saying that. It’s Scientology’s MO!
Fabos is playing fast and loose with the truth, but because his testimony was a 'he said, she said' moment, the jury gets mixed testimony to sort out. Throw in enough doubt and Rapey might walk. Is that the best that Rapey's defense can do? Probably.....watch for more smoke and mirrors and confuse a cat tactics.