Two jurors in Danny Masterson trial dismissed due to COVID

Two jurors in Danny Masterson’s rape trial were released Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus, setting the stage for a full restart of deliberations.

After a week-long hiatus in the case over Thanksgiving, the jury was scheduled to return to its duties on Monday. However, the two infected jurors who were developing COVID-19 symptoms had to be relieved and replaced by two alternates – meaning the jury must fully resume its deliberations.

The 12-member panel on the That ’70s Show actor’s case had been deliberating 2½ days before the holidays and reported it was not close to a verdict.

The jury told Los Angeles Superior Court Justice Charlaine Olmedo Nov. 18 that it was deadlocked, but Olmedo ordered the panel to return after Thanksgiving to continue deliberating.

Masterson’s attorney, Philip Cohen, declined to replace the jury, instead asking the judge to declare the case a mistrial.

“We honestly have a situation that’s not a surprise given what’s happening with COVID,” Cohen said. “Now this jury, which has spent 2½ days, is now starting over with at least two new judges.”

Prosecutors did not object to Olmedo replacing the jury with alternates.

Masterson’s trial, which began in mid-October, included harrowing testimonies from women who accused the actor and Scientologist of violently sexually assaulting them at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.

The women testified that Masterson treated them with alcohol and sometimes assaulted them as they passed out and passed out.

By deputizing for the two sick jurors, only one deputy remains in the event of conflict or illness.

Six alternate jurors were called in early in the trial and five have now been called in for various reasons. A deputy was appointed to the jury earlier this month after lawyers and the judge agreed a juror fell asleep, witnesses said.

“It seems he’s either falling asleep or his eyes seem to close. Especially today, it seems like you don’t snore fully, but you are not fully awake,” prosecutor Ariel Anson said at the time.

The jury was dismissed and replaced.

The number of proxies used is already a concern, legal experts said.

“It’s very rare to elope that many alternate jurors, and with so many people catching cold and flu symptoms, there’s a high risk of mistrial,” Lou Shapiro, a Los Angeles defense attorney, said in a text message.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-28/danny-masterson-rape-trial-jurors-dismissed-after-covid-19-positive-tests-deliberations-to-restart Two jurors in Danny Masterson trial dismissed due to COVID

Alley Einstein

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