Six months after Danny Masterson’s rape trial was declared a mistrial, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found the disgraced actor guilty of two counts of rape, in a subsequent retrial.
THE That 70s show The star was found guilty of two out of three counts of rape on Wednesday, two weeks after the closing of court proceedings, according to Los Angeles Times journalist James Quely present at the trial. On a third count, the jury was deadlocked 8-4, heading towards a guilty verdict, Queally reported on Twitter.
The verdict comes nearly three years after Masterson was charged in June 2020 with “forcibly raping three women in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003”.
The actor, who pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations against him, did not testify at the retrial. He faces up to 45 years in prison.
Masterson’s wife, actress Bijou Phillips, allegedly cried out in pain in the courtroom shortly after the verdict was read, according to the LA Times.
Michael Tullberg/Getty Danny Masterson
Masterson’s first rape trial ended in a mistrial on Nov. 30, 2022 after the jury was unable to reach a consensus on all three counts after more than seven attempts — and a suspension week for Thanksgiving – to get a verdict. The case became even more complicated after two jurors tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequently had to be replaced.
During the retrial, Assistant District Attorney Ariel Anson told the jury that Masterson drugged his victims and used being a member of the Church of Scientology to escape the consequences of his actions, according to the Associated Press. . “You don’t want to have sex? You have no choice,” Anson said. “The defendant makes that choice for these victims. And he does it again and again and again.”
Conversely, Masterson’s attorney, Philip Cohen, pointed to inconsistencies in the women’s testimonies and lack of drug evidence, according to the outlet. “Miss Anson presented a case as if she was pleading a drug case,” he said. “Maybe it’s because there’s no evidence of force or violence.”
Although the judge explained that the Church of Scientology was not on trial, the organization still weighed heavily in the case. All three women, along with Masterson, were members of the church when the alleged assaults took place and claimed they were intimidated, harassed and stalked after Masterson was charged. Their civil lawsuit against the church and Masterson is still ongoing.
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