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Actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial ends in a mistrial

 


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A Los Angeles judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday after the jury was deadlocked in the case of That 70s Show actor Danny Masterson, who faces three counts of rape.

Judge Charlaine Olmedo said jurors were hopelessly deadlocked after asking if there was anything the court could do to move them closer to a unanimous decision, according to The Associated Press. The new trial will take place in March.

Masterson, best known for playing Steven Hyde on the popular Fox sitcom which ran from 1998 to 2006, was fired from Netflixs The Ranch in 2017 when LAPD began investigating rape allegations against him. The 46-year-old is a longtime Scientologist, and the three accusers are former members of the church.

The incidents allegedly took place between 2001 and 2003.

After deliberating for nearly three days, the jury told Olmedo on Nov. 18 that it was unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the counts, Variety reported. The judge ordered them back after a week-long break for Thanksgiving at relaunch deliberations.

After seven votes on Tuesday and Wednesday, jurors said they had not reached consensus on any of the three counts, according to the AP.

Two of the women released a statement after the mistrial: We are obviously disappointed that, at least for now, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal responsibility for his deplorable acts. … This legal battle is far from over.

Mastersons’ attorney Philip Cohen said in a statement that it’s a true testament to our justice system that jurors were able to see through all the incendiary noise and focus only on what really mattered.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that it was disappointed with the outcome of the trial, but wanted to sincerely thank the victims for bravely stepping forward and sharing their heartbreaking experiences.

The trial began in mid-October.

Reinhold Mueller, assistant county attorney, said in opening statements that two of the women accusing Masterson of rape, a close friend of his personal assistant and an actress he didn’t know very well, passed out or passed out after drank with him. , according to the AP. The third woman was Masterson’s ex-girlfriend, who said he was on top of her when she woke up.

Two of Masterson’s accusers said they went to church about his behavior and were told it was not rape, the AP reported. The aides’ friend, who alleged Masterson threatened her with a gun while raping her, testified that a church official denied her permission to report the actor to police, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Variety reported that Masterson’s ex-girlfriend said he was told by a church official that it was not possible for someone to rape his girlfriend and that it was his duty to give her sex whenever he wanted.

Olmedo insisted that the trial not be dominated by discussions of the church and its alleged scare tactics. The LA Times reported that after the testimony of the first witness, Olmedo chastised the prosecution for their line of questioning: “I understand that these witnesses’ lives may have been completely inundated with Scientology,” Olmedo said. This trial is not going to be flooded with Scientology.

In closing arguments, by BuzzFeed News, Mueller pointed to what he saw as a pattern in Mastersons’ alleged behavior: If you were incapacitated in his bed, he would rape you, Mueller said. If you were unable elsewhere in the house, he would pick you up. And if you were at his house and you weren’t drunk yet, he would offer you alcohol to get you there and then forcefully rape you.

Cohen drew attention to some inconsistencies between the details provided by the accusers in pre-trial statements and what they said during their testimony.

In addition to the criminal case, some of Masterson’s accusers also filed a lawsuit against him and the church, according to the LA Times. The newspaper reported that prosecutors’ attorney Brian Kent previously said the facts of what happened, why certain things happened, who was involved are so intertwined that parts of the trial will necessarily have to involve Scientology.

Masterson will not appear in That 90s Show, the Netflix spin-off of That 70s Show, although it describes the news of it on Instagram last year as the most dope thing I’ve heard in a decade.

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