Danny Masterson Rape Retrial Now With Jury; ‘That 70s Show’ Actor Faces Decades In Prison If Found Guilty Of Trio Of Sexual Assault Charges
The jury in Danny Masterson’s rape retrial has begun deliberations.
The panel went behind closed doors this morning not long after the conclusion of the prosecution’s final rebuttal and a last unsuccessful move by the defense to have a mistrial declared.
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Following closing arguments on May 16 by deputy D.A. Ariel Anson and then closing arguments by defense attorney Phillip Cohen, deputy D.A. Reinhold Mueller was the last person to address the jury in the downtown LA courtroom, before Judge Charlaine Olmedo sent the panel to come up with a verdict.
Facing over 40 years behind bars if found guilty on a trio of rape charges, Masterson’s first trial started on October 18, 2022 and ended in a mistrial being declared on November 30 after the jury remained deadlocked.
Despite attempts by the defense to get the case dismissed, the retrial of the That 70s Show actor began on April 24 with O.J. Simpson criminal trial alum Shawn Holley joining the defense. Under the shadow of an apparent leak of discovery material to a Scientology lawyer, the fast-paced retrial rested on May 12 with the defense calling no witnesses.
Though the defense has tried over and over to erase as much reference to Scientology as possible in the criminal case – the David Miscavige-led church is not a defendant- the church, its policies and its role in preventing the three Jane Does from initially going to law enforcement has been a high-profile presence in both trials.
Arrested in 2020 over the alleged assaults that occurred between 2001 and 2003 in his Hollywood Hills house, Masterson has been out on bail of $3 million ever since. The actor, who quickly was fired from the Netflix comedy The Ranch at the end of 2017 as assault claims became known, and has been excluded from the That ’90s Show revival, always has said the sex with the Jane Does was consensual and he never raped anyone.
Regardless of the verdict the jurors in the retrial come up with, long-time Scientologist Masterson and the church itself will be back in LA Superior Court in the next few months in a currently paused civil case.
The civil suit claims that after going to the LAPD with their allegations nearly a decade ago, the trio of ex-Scientologist plaintiffs and their families have been stalked, intimidated, harassed and even allegedly saw some of their pets killed by Scientology and its affiliates.
In early October 2022, the Supreme Court denied Scientology’s petition to take up the case after a California appellate court earlier this year ruled that the ex-church members had a First Amendment right to not be held to the stipulations of a religious organization once they had left it.
That looming civil case has been brought up time and time again by Masterson’s criminal case defense as implied proof that the trio of Jane Does are actually accusing the actor of sexual assault in the hopes of a payout down the line.
Unlike the previous criminal trial, this retrial saw the prosecution shift tactics to include a more blatant emphasis on Masterson allegedly spiking the drinks that he gave to the women he allegedly raped. As well, the D.A.’s office called two uncharged prior bad acts witnesses, including Kathleen Jenkins. The Canadian film crew member alleged in powerful testimony that Masterson raped her in 2000 after handing her a drink at the wrap party for Dracula 2000 in Toronto.
Unlike Masterson and three Jane Does at the heart of the prosecution’s case, Jenkins is not and has never been a Scientologist.
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