Judge in Danny Masterson rape trial tells jury keep deliberating

After three days of deliberations behind closed doors, the jury in Danny Masterson’s rape trial was unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three charges against the actor.

Despite the standoff, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo on Friday urged the jury to stay on track and ensure the week-long trial of the “That ’70s Show” actor continued beyond the Thanksgiving break becomes.

The jury’s deliberations are secret, but the group’s note to the judge offered a rare glimpse into their thinking and hinted that the 12-member panel could end up with a hung jury in the high-profile rape case.

In her note to the jury, Olmedo told members that they “didn’t spend enough time thinking about” declaring themselves stuck.

Her decision means the jury will return to court on November 28 – after the Thanksgiving holiday – over travel plans by at least five members.

The extended hiatus isn’t unusual, but it has raised concerns with Masterson’s attorney, Philip Cohen.

“My concern again is what may happen and what the risk may be over the next 10 days given the circumstances of this case,” he told the court on Friday.

For weeks, jurors heard testimony from Masterson’s accusers, who said the actor violently assaulted them at his Hollywood Hills home in the early 2000s.

Three women, all identified by their first name and last initial or first initial and last name, testified that Masterson had treated them with alcohol before assaulting them in the bathroom and bedroom of his home.

“Three victims … were violently raped by this defendant, Danny Masterson,” Deputy Dist said. atty said Reinhold Mueller in Tuesday’s closing arguments, pointing to Masterson, who was sitting across from the courtroom. “A man who controlled and a man for whom ‘no’ never meant ‘no’. ”

The trial has also addressed the rules and close-knit community of the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member.

Like Masterson, his three accusers were members of the Church at the time of the alleged rapes. Two of the women testified that they delayed filing Masterson’s charges because they feared Scientology officials would sanction them.

In a statement, the church has denied shielding Masterson from the allegations and said it does not discourage anyone from reporting crimes against its members.

Olmedo made limited statements about the religion at Masterson’s trial, but Cohen argued that Scientology was the “elephant in the room.”

“We have listened to Scientology over and over again. … It really became an excuse. If someone didn’t remember something or something was contradicted, it was Scientology,” he concluded.

He worked to convince the jury that the women’s stories did not match and that they had joined forces to make false accusations against his client.

The prosecution’s case, he said, “ignored the glaring, obvious, mind-blowing contradictions and fabrications that each Jane Doe has given you.”

Deliberations in the trial began Wednesday, and Masterson, his friends, relatives and attorneys have been awaiting a decision ever since.

The jury has called twice, including Thursday’s request to hear transcripts of a woman’s testimony.

On Friday, Cohen said the lack of questions from the jury suggested members had reached a real impasse, and he asked Olmedo to reconsider her decision to continue deliberations.

“There doesn’t seem to be much confusion,” Cohen told the judge. “It seems like there’s just a significant disagreement.”

Olmedo disagreed, saying the jury had already been warned not to discuss the case with anyone or view or read any content about it, even during the holidays.

Times contributor Noah Goldberg contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-18/judge-in-danny-masterson-rape-trial-tells-jury-keep-deliberating Judge in Danny Masterson rape trial tells jury keep deliberating

Alley Einstein

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