Mistrial Declared In “That ’70s Present” Danny Masterson Rape Trial


A decide declared a mistrial on Wednesday within the rape trial of That ‘70s Present actor Danny Masterson after the jury mentioned it had deadlocked on the fees, the Related Press reported.

Masterson, 46, had confronted three counts of rape by pressure or concern for allegedly sexually assaulting three girls at his Hollywood Hills house in 2001 and 2003. Every of the ladies mentioned that Masterson provided them with alcohol and that once they turned disoriented, he took them upstairs to his bed room and violently raped them.

Masterson, who’s finest identified for enjoying Steven Hyde on That ’70s Present, had pleaded not responsible to the fees and claimed that he solely had consensual intercourse with the ladies. He might have confronted a most sentence of 45 years to life in jail if discovered responsible.

Jurors mentioned that they had voted seven instances during the last two days and have been unable to succeed in a consensus on any of the three counts, in response to the AP. Solely two jurors voted to convict on the primary rely, 4 voted for conviction on the second rely, and 5 voted to convict on the third rely.

The decide has set a March date for a retrial.

The mistrial comes after two jurors examined optimistic for COVID-19 earlier this week and have been changed by two alternates, prompting deliberations to restart from scratch. The unique jury had introduced that they have been deadlocked on Nov. 18 after three days of deliberations, however at that time, the decide ordered them to maintain working to succeed in a unanimous choice.

The weekslong trial featured graphic testimony from the three girls Masterson was charged with raping and a fourth girl who additionally accused him of sexual assault, in addition to in depth dialogue in regards to the Church of Scientology.

Regardless of makes an attempt by Masterson, a distinguished Scientologist, to maintain the church out of the trial, the establishment and its practices took heart stage because the three girls, who’re all former Scientologists, testified about how church officers allegedly tried to defend the actor from accountability.

One girl, recognized throughout her testimony as J.B., informed jurors that she thought Masterson was going to kill her as she described how the actor allegedly smothered her with a pillow and strangled her as he was sexually assaulting her in April 2003. It wasn’t till over a yr later that she first reported the incident to the police.

She testified that she did not go to the police sooner as a result of within the church neighborhood “you can’t report one other Scientologist in good standing,” as she understood Masterson was, to the authorities.

She mentioned she “instantly could be responsible of a excessive crime” and expelled from the church, which means that no members might communicate or have any contact along with her. For J.B., that meant being lower off from her dad and mom, who have been additionally Scientologists and whom she lived with and labored for, and all of her pals.

“My life could be over,” she testified.

Throughout closing arguments, Masterson’s legal professional Philip Cohen picked aside the ladies’s statements, highlighting inconsistencies in what they informed regulation enforcement, their household and pals, and their testimony at trial. Cohen recommended that discrepancies raised sufficient cheap doubt that what they have been telling jurors was not true.

“[Prosecutors] need to win this case so badly that they’ve ignored proper up till that closing argument,” Cohen mentioned. “They’ve ignored the blatant, apparent, overwhelming contradictions and fabrications that every Jane Doe has given you.”

In the meantime, Los Angeles County Deputy District Lawyer Reinhold Mueller argued that such variations within the girls’s statements have been solely pure given the time that has handed, the immense trauma they skilled, and the truth that they needed to discuss it on separate events with completely different investigators asking completely different questions. He additionally famous that the main particulars within the girls’s tales remained constant through the years.

“Every time they received to unearth what’s inside them to convey that trauma out,” Mueller mentioned. “They did the perfect they’ll to reply the questions we requested them right here in courtroom.”

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