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TRICIA VESSEY ENDS CROSS: Danny Masterson Trial, Day 19, morning break report
[This report was produced live during a court hearing with a lot going on. There will be typos. Please don't email us about typos that you find.]
Sartorial splendor alert: Defense attorney Philip Cohen has dazzled us with so many yummy get-ups, today's grey pinstriped suit with lavender shirt and purple tie barely registers for us. We suspect this is simply a case of oversaturation. In any other courtroom on any other day, a lawyer in such an ensemble would register rather high on the popinjay meter. But with Cohen, it feels like a bit of a letdown.
Judge Olmedo is here, and she is handling another matter via webex for a few minutes.
On the record.
Goldstein: The state and I conferred, about Jane Doe 1 mother. A lengthy document, unclear whether the statements come from other people's KR reports. It's interspersed with her own comments. We are going to try to speak to the witness about it.
But it's not going to be published to the jury, so what's the issue, Olmedo asks. Goldstein says it might be shown to the witness during testimony. Olmedo says that shouldn't be a problem, but Goldstein suggests there are hearsay issues. Olmedo tells the People to be careful about how to question her in regards to it.
Goldstein really wants the testimony to stay to JD1 and JD1 mom and not third parties. That issue seems taken care of.
Olmedo then wants a sidebar, and asks Deputy Contreras to join as well. (We suspect is has to do with the woman's notes being taken by another deputy yesterday.)
Another member of the public arrives to tell us that they are a Bunker reader, and then sits in the gallery. Well, we are happy people are reading our stuff.
A little glimpse at how Judge Olmedo runs a tight ship. At one point she told Deputy DA Anson that if they wanted to bring up something for the record, they should do so closer to 8:30 am than 9:00 am.
At the moment she said that, we glanced at the time on our laptop: It was 8:41 am.
Woe to those who waste Judge Olmedo's time!
Judge Olmedo tells them that a juror has written a note that they have plans for Thanksgiving week. She says the rest probably do as well. A hint for the attorneys to keep on schedule and get this wrapped up next week.
Tricia Vessey (Jane Doe 4) returns to the witness stand. Jury in. (And to remind you again, Ms. Vessey has given the Underground Bunker permission to identify her.)
Resuming cross-examination of Ms. Vessey.
Cohen: I wanted to just go through a general timeline. (Two incidents, conversation with JD2, then LAPD interviews. Puts up a list of these events.) First incident in 1996, then about a month later 2nd incident.
Then in 2013, there is the discussion with JD2 in New York where she discloses her interaction with Masterson.
Then in 2017, you see some type of Facebook feed about Masterson.
That's when you reached out to Chris Masterson.
Then in 2019 you read some kind of an article about it.
It was a paragraph or two.
You then reached out to JD2.
I sent her a text message.
And then you spoke to Det Vargas.
Within a week or two.
And then you spoke to Deputy DA Mueller.
I don't know the month when I spoke to Mueller.
Message to Chris Masterson, do you remember what you said to him?
I don't remember exactly. I remember the sentiment of it.
Would it help to see it?
Sure. (Checks document.) Yeah.
(Cohen enters it as evidence but doesn't publish it.) Did you DM him, "I saw a fucked-up article about Danny?"
(Something about how he stood up for her when her boyfriend cheated on her, and that she signed it xoxo.) What would that mean?
Just a friendly hugs type of salutation.
One of the words you used yesterday was "pounding."
Do you remember using that word in your 2019 iterview with Det Vargas?
I don't categorize every word I used in my interviews.
Did you use it with Mueller?
I don't know how I would have described it, or if he had asked me a specific question if it would have required that.
No further questions.
Mueller: The DM to Chris. What was the purpose of you sending that?
Danny has friends that I've been warned about. (Obj, overruled) In 1996 at the wrap party, I was told when I complained about... (Obj, rephrase)
We just want to get an understanding, this point in time was after these assaults.
So what was the purpose of you sending this DM to Chris, given the fact that you had that prior experience with his brother?
I felt like because of his circle of friends that I wanted to keep everything safe for me. Send a message signaling that I wasn't a part of it. And I had tried even, through those incidents, to keep everything friendly because of my fears. And also because I didn't want to blow up my world. We have people in common. We had at the time, I just wanted to be able to work, not have trouble made for myself. And I think that was a pretty major motivator to keep everything friendly. Not draw any attention, not bring anything on me.
At that time, were you in a place that you had fully processed what had happened in 1996?
I hadn't fully processed it, and as I was trying to clarify yesterday, maybe it's a matter of semantics or trying to describe that while i hadn't sat and contemplated it and processed it and fully understood it, I had thought of it that I would have a physical reaction to seeing that kind of information. Or my interaction with JD2 in 2013. I thought she was associated with him and his friends, and I shut her down and didn't discuss her incident with her because I thought it would (have issues for her if she brought it up.)
Yesterday you said that Mr. Masterson presented different aspects at different times.
It, I meant that, for example, through the filming of the movie we did together, there were times when he was very friendly, and times when he was very cold and harsh. And that same dynamic happened throughout the time that I knew him. Like when I stayed at Shawn's house, where Chris lived. When Danny would come with his girlfriend at the time, he wouldn't even acknowledge that I was in the room. But at the same time, if he saw me walking, he would stop and give me a ride and it was very friendly, different energy, a different kind of interaction, a different person.
Yesterday you said when he would give you a ride, there would be those times when you would see him and your body would shake.
Aside from how your body might have reacted, what was going through your mind at that time when you would get into the car?
I think it's true for all my interactions with him from that point on. One, I didn't process it, I swept it under the rug, I didn't know how to deal with it. And my body was still reacting to it even if I couldn't deal with it. And I think I was confused. I couldn't really cope with the whole thing and he was a person that was in my world. And I think I was just trying to not blow that up. Not blow up my world and just cope with it.
Have you ever filed any kind of civil suit against Mr. Masterson pertaining to the incidents?
Have you joined any lawsuit against Mr. Masterson and any allegations of sexual assault?
Have you joined any lawsuit with the named victims of this case?
No further questions.
Cohen: Did you talk to anybody about your answers yesterday after you got out of court?
Did you talk to either of the DA's yesterday?
Did I talk to them? I talked to one of them.
Did you talk about the substance of the case?
No. I talked with one of them, with a defense person on the line. I was just told not to bring up his DJ name.
(That part will be stricken.)
In 2017 when you sent the DM, at that moment you had not told anybody that you had been raped by Masterson.
You had not told anybody that you had even had sex with him.
The first time any mention to anybody was to JD2 in 2019.
You said that all interaction with him from then on, your body was reacting to the 1996 sex incident.
Your body was shaking.
Was it shaking when you invited him into your house in the second incident?
I mean, I don't have a shake meter that I use to measure every level of shakiness. But I felt unnerved. I remember feeling confused and uncomfortable.
You were unnerved, confused, uncomfortable, you don't know the level of your shaking, but with all of that you invited him into your house.
I didn't invite him, he showed up.
Tricia is excused.
Det Javier Vargas is recalled for redirect.
Mueller says they have a DVD. And a transcript.
Mueller: I'd like to play an audio-recorded interview. (plays) Do you recognize those voices?
It is you and JD3.
(Tape) "Mueller: Any time that you conveyed to him that you didn't want sex and used force.
Multiple times....One time it might have been before the rape, I remember beign in bed and trying to go to sleep, and he was on top of me and I was trying to push him off, and pulled his hair, and that was the only time he hit me. He had this weird thing about 'no touch face rule.' That's why I pulled his hair. There were a couple of instances where I really tried to fight back.
What does that mean? What was the circumstance?
He was on top of me. (No clothes.)
What did you convey to him?
That I was tired and I didn't want to.
Those were your words?
How did he react?
He got angry, becasue he supported me, he should have sex whenever he wants.
When he's on top, you don't want to have sex. What did he do?
He hit me. He was putting himself inside me and I really didn't want to and we ended up fighting. He was putting himself inside me.
So while he's doing that you pulled his hair?
I pulled his hair.
Because I knew that would get him off me.
When he hit you, when was that?
Right after I pulled his hair He didn't punch me. I think it was an open hand. It wasn't a punch.
Was he still inside you when he hit you on the face?
Yes. But he got off of me.
After he hit you.
You said there were other times.
Yeah, I just felt the last couple of years of our relationship, I didn't really want to have sex with him, but I had to make a decision. Did I want it to be an ugly fight or give in to him. Most of the time I ended up just giving in.
This time you told us about, this was just before the incident...
It was that last year.
So it would have been 2001, correct? When he was on top of you, you were tired. But he was on top of you, did you do anything before you pulled his hair?
Can't say for sure, but I'm sure I did. I wouldn't have just gone straight there. I know how he was. I knew how he felt about it and I wouldn't have gone straight there.
Do you remember if he was holding you in some way at that time?
He was on top of me.
Your body weight?
Did you feel that you could get out from under him
I didn't feel that way> I never felt that way.
Do you think there's anything else that we should know that you haven't already told us about?
I think that's, I told you everything. I know I can't tell you much about the night...
...I don't remember much.
Mueller: Det Vargas, do you recognize this as the interview you were present for?
No further questions.
Cohen asks for a sidebar.
Cohen: Have you now reviewed the transcript with you and JD3 in anticipation for today.
I've actually read it twice, prior to my testimony.
The interview in general, is that the way you normally conduct interviews? (Obj) The way that Deputy DA Mueller conducted it, was the way it's done
Well, I would say Deputy DA Mueller has a different style than I do, but yes, this is how we usually does it.
(Some clarification between a detective's initial interview and then a DA's "pre-filing" interview.)
You said that he has a different style than you?
Yes. Det Reyes has a different style.
You mentioned Mueller. He has a different style?
In terms of verbiage. In terms of items that he feels will determine whether or not he can bring forward to trial, where I'm just getting information about a case.
(Judge Olmedo gives an admonition to the jury. She tells them they are the sole arbiters of credibility. This evidence is being presented for circumstance of the interview.)
Cohen: One thing he asks, is there anything you think we should know that you haven't told us. Do you recall that?
And that's a fairly standard thing to ask?
In general I would say yes.
And you're trained to ask that.
I'm not trained, but it's a general question to ask.
And the interviews you've sat in on, Mueller asks it. (Obj, sustained) It's a question that you will ask? (Obj, sustained) Prior to his interview, had you reviewed the one she gave to Reyes?
I recall reading her report.
Did you review the interview?
I don't believe I heard the recording.
So this is a summary timeline of interviews (document). My question is, the interview we just heard was conducted June 1, 2017.
Prior to that, JD3 had given an interview to Det Reyes in January of 2017.
And prior to that she had given interviews to Austin PD.
Had called a rape hotline.
And had spoken to her husband in 2011.
When you sat in on the interview in June 2017, I understand you had reveiwed the Det Reyes report, but had you read a transcript or heard a recording?
Had you reviewed what was recorded by Austin PD?
I reviewed the Austin police report.
In the beginning of the portion we just heard, JD3 is asked, tell me what you remember the worst time, she said "it was leading up to the year of the rape."
The rape she is referring to the allegation she made previously of unconscious sodomy.
That's my understanding, yes.
That's the allegation she made to rape hotline (Obj, sustained) In your review of the Austin PD report, did not indicate that she made any mention of any sexual assault of anything but unconscious sodomy, correct?
(Judge Olmedo calls for a sidebar.)
Cohen: Is it your memory that there was just one time that JD3 said there was a slap or hit?
We heard on the tape that DA Mueller had asked about open hand or closed hand, and he said, 'was this after he hit you.' From your presence at the interview, is the hit that is being referred to the slap? (Obj, overruled)
Yes, that's my understanding.
So when he said 'he hit you' he's referring to the one slape we heard about.
I just wanted to ask you some follow up questions about Jane Doe 4 (Tricia).
Nov 2019, you conducted an interview with her?
Were you then present for interview she gave to DA Mueller in Dec 2019?
Have you reviewed those transcripts?
Are you familiar with what's in them?
Not specifically, but the overall summary of the events.
Would it be a correct statement for me to say that during neither of those interviews did she ever say Masterson was "barking orders at her."
I don't recall that verbiage.
She never said he was "commanding" her.
I don't recall that verbiage, of commanding.
She never made any indication that her anus hurt after either sex 1 or sex 2 on that timeline?
I believe that's correct.
She never said anything about bruising on her thighs?
During my initial interview I don't think she mentioned that. I don't recall if she did in the second interview.
The Dec 2019 interview with Mueller and Tricia, it was tape-recorded, correct?
And did someone have the ability to turn it on and off?
Who can do that?
I believe I was controlling the tape recorder.
Do you recall at the end of the interview, her beginning to talk about what she had told JD2?
Would it help to look at the transcript.
Yes. (Checks.) Yes.
By the way, did JD2, in 2017, ever say that Tricia was an individual she had told about the rape in 2013?
I can't recall.
Would it help to look at your report with JD2 in 2017?
It might. (Checks) Yes, I recall that Det Reyes did the initial interview, I was present only for the pre-filing for JD2.
You reviewed Det Reyes report
You don't recall her mentioning Tricia as someone she had told (Obj) And after you came into the case you created your own report.
Based on the pre-filing interview with Mr. Mueller
And in that report is there any mention of Tricia?
Not in reference to JD2.
Toward the end of the interview with Tricia, does she make mention that she had told JD2 something about... No further questions.
Mueller: At the end of the interview, Tricia did not say she had given any details to JD2?
Cohen: And you relied on what Tricia told you.
And she said, but Tricia said, "but, you know that, I told her that..." what happens?
I believe that's the ending of the recording.
So Tricia says, I didn't give her any details "but I told her that..." and the recording ends?
My understanding was the interview was basically already concluded.
Basically, or was it concluded?
It was concluded.
But it says "dot, dot, dot" Do we know what the person controlling the recording meant by that? (asked and answered)
Nothing further from either side. Det Vargas steps down.
Judge Olmedo calls for morning recess. Jury goes into the jury room.
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