Los Angeles — A judge blasted Danny Masterson’s defense lawyers in his rape case Monday, shooting down subpoenas for everything from outtakes from Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology TV show to LAPD files involving Scientology boss David Miscavige.
Judge Charlaine Olmedo minced no words as she cast Masterson’s subpoena for LAPD records related to Miscavige and his wife Shelly Miscavige “an overt attempt to obtain privileged information in LAPD files.”
“Let’s assume there are criminal investigations of Scientology and David Miscavige,” she said, posing a hypothetical during a hearing in downtown Los Angeles. “Under the way this (subpoena) is drafted, LAPD would have to turn them over.”
She said there’s no doubt “Mr. Masterson and Scientology would love to know everything in the police files,” especially as they fight a civil lawsuit from Masterson’s accusers.
“It appears to the court that the defendant is using the criminal process to try to obtain material that he would otherwise never be entitled to,” Judge Olmedo said.
Regarding Remini, the actress who split with Scientology in 2013 and is now its most vocal critic, Olmedo said the celebrity “may have had an interest” in the criminal case against Masterson, but her A&E show “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” is still protected.
Olmedo called the subpoena on the show’s producers “stunningly overbroad” and “unduly burdensome.”
Masterson, best known for his role on the hit sitcom “That ‘70s Show,” is now preparing for trial on charges he raped three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.
At one point Monday, Olmedo asked for the date of actor Tom Cruise’s 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes in an Italian castle, which David Miscavige attended without Shelly.
Remini has previously said she felt “punished” because she inquired about Shelly’s absence. When she left the church seven years later, she filed a missing person’s report for Shelly that police later deemed “unfounded.”
The judge further rejected a subpoena Monday that had been served on investigative reporter Tony Ortega outside the courtroom back in May, calling it an “impermissible fishing expedition.”
Ortega has written extensively about the Church of Scientology and previously interviewed the women involved in the rape case.
Masterson’s defense lawyer Sharon Appelbaum argued Monday that Masterson needed the records sought in the various subpoenas to investigate alleged “inconsistencies” with the complaining witness’ accounts and ensure a fair trial.
“We cast a wide net in order to make sure we were asking for the right materials,” Appelbaum argued before admitting the evidence collecting effort was “perhaps overbroad in certain parts.”
Masterson, 45, has pleaded not guilty to the alleged rapes, claiming the sex was consensual and that Remini reached out to the women and urged them to lie.
The three accusers gave graphic testimony during a four-day preliminary hearing in May that convinced Judge Olmedo a jury trial is warranted.
Chrissie Carnell Bixler, who previously went public with her allegations, testified she was raped twice by Masterson while they lived together in 2001 when she was 23 years old.
The other two women alleged rapes by Masterson in April 2003 and later that same year.
The women, who all filed police reports, named Masterson and the Church of Scientology as defendants in their civil lawsuit that claims they were stalked and harassed when they stepped forward with their allegations.
Late last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield agreed with the Church of Scientology that the three women as well as Bixler’s husband must submit to private arbitration based on agreements they allegedly signed while members of the controversial church.
The women have appealed the decision.
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