Jury finds Danny Masterson guilty on 2 counts in rape retrial

A Los Angeles jury has found former That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of violent rape in a retrial against three women.

The third count against Jane Doe 3 was declared a mistrial.

The jury reached its verdict Wednesday afternoon after deliberating since May 17.

Masterson, 47, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape following allegations from three different women, including a former girlfriend. The alleged attacks took place between 2001 and 2003.

If convicted on all three counts, he faces 45 years to life imprisonment.

PHOTO:FILE - Actor Danny Masterson exits Los Angeles Superior Court with his wife Bijou Phillips after a judge declared a mistrial in his rape case on November 30, 2022 in Los Angeles.

Actor Danny Masterson leaves Los Angeles Superior Court with his wife Bijou Phillips after a judge declared a mistrial in his rape case November 30, 2022 in Los Angeles.

Brian Melley/AP

The first trial ended in mistrial in November 2022, with the jury deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict.

The three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, as was Masterson. All three women said they were initially reluctant to speak to law enforcement because they said the church’s teachings discourage people from reporting themselves to the police. The women eventually left the church.

One woman claimed the actor shoved a pillow in her face during a 2003 rape.

Another woman who was dating Masterson at the time claimed he raped her in her sleep in 2001.

In the opening statement at the new trial in late April, prosecutors said the evidence would show the women were also on drugs – a detail not directly mentioned in the first trial but which the judge allowed in the retrial. They also introduced a fourth woman who claimed Masterson drugged and raped her in 2000.

The defense, meanwhile, countered that the alleged victims’ stories were contradictory and suggested that the women had colluded over time. They also added that Scientology was “not a defendant” in this case.

During the closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors the women were “completely devastated” after drinking a small amount and the “reasonable explanation” was that they were drugged, the ABC Los- Angeles broadcaster KABC reported.

“What happened after they were drugged? You were raped by this man, you were raped,” Mueller said, pointing at Masterson.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Philip Cohen told the jury that the women may have “altered or manipulated” their stories to support their case and that they may be motivated by “hate, revenge or money,” KABC reported.

Shortly after the jury was dismissed to begin deliberations on May 17, the defense requested a mistrial on the grounds that prosecutors had used too much of their closing arguments on the victims’ alleged drug use, according to KABC.

Judge Charlaine Olmedo denied the request, citing her decision that prosecutors could argue that the women were drugged because it was “directly relevant to their ability to perceive the events of the alleged incidents,” KABC reported.

Masterson, who was arrested in 2020, said each of the encounters was consensual. That ’70s Show was still on the air at the time of all three alleged rapes.

The Church of Scientology previously told ABC News that “there is no policy prohibiting or preventing members from reporting criminal conduct by Scientologists or anyone to law enforcement. … Church policy specifically requires that Scientologists obey all laws of the land.”

Actress and prominent ex-Scientology member Leah Remini was among those present in the courtroom during the trial and told ABC News that she was there to support the “brave” women.

The defense requested that Remini be removed from the courtroom early in the trial, which the judge refused.

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing Alley@ustimespost.com.

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