Judge declares mistrial in Danny Masterson rape case


A judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday in Danny Masterson’s rape case after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The ‘That ’70s Show’ star had pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape following charges brought by three different women. The alleged attacks took place between 2001 and 2003.

Danny Masterson stands with his attorneys Thomas Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum as he is arraigned for rape at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on Sept. 18, 2020, in Los Angeles.

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On count 1, two jurors voted guilty and 10 voted not guilty. On count 2, four voted guilty and eight voted not guilty. Five voted guilty and seven voted not guilty on count 3.

All three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, as was Masterson. The three women said they were initially reluctant to speak to law enforcement because they said church teachings discouraged reporting to the police. The women eventually left the church.

A woman says the actor shoved a pillow in her face one night in 2003.

“I was choked up,” she said on the stand, according to The Associated Press. “I couldn’t breathe.”

She testified that Masterson held her down and tried to choke her and said she thought “he was going to kill me.”

Another woman, who was dating Masterson in 2001, claimed he raped her while she slept.

Masterson, who was arrested in 2020, said each of the encounters was consensual. “That ’70s Show” was still on the air at the time of the three alleged rapes.

The Church of Scientology told ABC News in October that there is “no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting the criminal conduct of Scientologists, or anyone else, to law enforcement. … The Church policy explicitly requires Scientologists to abide by all laws of the land.”

Masterson faced 45 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

PHOTO: In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, actor Danny Masterson attends a film premiere in West Hollywood, California.

In this September 19, 2017, file photo, actor Danny Masterson attends a film premiere in West Hollywood, California.

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic via Getty Images, FILE

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said it will now consider its “next steps with respect to the prosecution of this case.”

“While we are disappointed with the outcome of this trial, we thank the jurors for their service,” the office said in a statement. “We also want to express our sincere gratitude to the victims for bravely stepping forward and sharing their heartbreaking experiences.”

Two of the alleged victims are also involved in an ongoing civil case against Masterson and the Church of Scientology over the allegations.

“We are obviously disappointed that, at least for now, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal responsibility for his deplorable acts,” they said in a joint statement, adding that they were “collectively resolved to continue our fight for justice. , including in civil matters”. to research.”

Alison Anderson, their lawyer in the civil case, said her clients “remain hopeful that Mr. Masterson will face criminal consequences for his despicable conduct”.

“Our clients have shown immense courage in bearing witness to such personal and horrific acts in a very public forum and despite ongoing harassment and intimidation,” Anderson said in a statement.

Masterson’s attorney Philip Cohen said he planned to file a motion with the court to dismiss the case if the prosecution wanted to proceed, and was able to talk to jurors but didn’t want to come in in what they were talking about.

“I think we would be well prepared to try this case again,” Cohen said. “That would be another set of statements. Another testimony. And we’re prepared to do that. If that’s what the government deems appropriate.”

ABC News’ Cherise Rudy contributed to this report.

ABC News

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