HomeTop StoriesActor Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life in prison

Actor Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life in prison

“That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson was sentenced today to 30 years to life for raping two women in his Hollywood Hills home about 20 years ago.

Masterson, 47, was convicted May 31 of two counts of rape by force or fear. After the verdict was read, he was taken into custody.

The jury deadlocked on a new rape charge involving a third alleged victim, a former girlfriend of Masterson. Prosecutors announced in July that they would not retry the actor on this charge, and it was dismissed on July 11.

Masterson, 47, remains in jail since he was taken into custody shortly after the jury’s verdict on May 31 finding him guilty of two counts of rape by force or fear.

Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo heard victim impact statements from the two women Masterson was convicted of raping, along with the third alleged victim in the dismissed indictment. Olmedo denied the prosecutor’s request to have three other women, including two who had testified about alleged uncharged crimes, speak at Masterson’s sentencing. The judge last month rejected a defense bid to delay sentencing.

One of Masterson’s attorneys, Shawn Holley, told the judge during an August 21 hearing that the defense wanted additional time to prepare a motion for a new trial for the actor.

“I understand the victims want to put an end to this,” Holley told the judge, suggesting the judge would hear from them at the scheduled sentencing date and then postpone the sentencing.

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Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller countered that the prosecution had objected to further delays in the sentencing, noting that it had already been postponed once and that the victims have the right to “reach a conclusion in this case within a reasonable time to get”.

The judge said she found no good reason to delay sentencing. The jury was the second to hear the case against Masterson, who was charged in 2020 with three counts of rape by force or fear involving the three women on separate occasions.

During the first trial last year, the jurors supported an acquittal on all three counts; they voted 10-2 on one point, 8-4 on the other and 7-5 on the third point, but failed to reach a unanimous decision. to a mistrial to be declared on November 30.

Jurors in Masterson’s retrial convicted the actor of the two rapes and deadlocked on a rape charge involving a third alleged victim: a former girlfriend of Masterson.

Prosecutors announced in July that they would not refile charges against the third alleged victim, and that charge was dismissed on July 11.

During the hearing last month, the judge rejected a defense motion seeking dismissal of the charge with prejudice, which would have barred prosecutors from potentially refiling that charge in the future. But Olmedo said the defense could raise the issue again if the charges are refiled.

In his closing arguments at the retrial, the prosecutor told the jury, “This defendant drugged and raped each of these victims… It is time to hold Mr. Masterson accountable for what he did.”

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Defense attorney Philip Kent Cohen urged jurors to acquit his client during his closing arguments, questioning the women’s credibility.

In his rebuttal argument, Mueller said the three women, like Masterson, were members of the Church of Scientology and told jurors the church retaliated against them.

“What happened after they were drugged, they were raped by this man right here,” the prosecutor said, pointing across the courtroom to Masterson. ‘You have the opportunity to show that justice exists. It does exist.’

But Cohen questioned why the panel had “heard so much about Scientology” and asked jurors if there could be problems with the government’s case against Masterson.

Masterson’s attorney said he was not claiming there was a “grand conspiracy” against his client, but told jurors that the alleged victims had spoken to each other despite an LAPD detective’s admonishment and that their accounts had evolved over the years. have been adjusted. He said there was no forensic evidence to support the prosecution’s claim that the alleged victims’ drinks were drugged by Masterson. Outside the jury’s presence, the judge denied Cohen’s requests for a mistrial, another chance to argue before the jury, or a special jury instruction as a result of the prosecutor’s repeated references to the women allegedly being drugged.

The Church of Scientology issued a statement criticizing the prosecutor’s characterization of the church’s actions.

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“The Church has no policy that prohibits or discourages members from reporting criminal conduct by anyone, Scientologists or otherwise, to law enforcement,” the statement said. “On the contrary, Church policy explicitly requires Scientologists to comply with all laws of the land. Any accusations to the contrary are completely false.”

A civil suit filed in August 2019 against Masterson and the Church of Scientology by the three women involved in the criminal case, and a woman who was not a member of the church, claims they were stalked and harassed after they made allegations of sexual assault against the actor had reported to Los. Angeles Police Department.

Regarding the lawsuit, the Church of Scientology issued a statement saying, “The Church denies the allegations of harassment as obvious, cynical and self-serving fictions, and the Church knows it will be vindicated.”

In December 2017, Netflix announced that Masterson had been fired from the Emmy-winning scripted comedy “The Ranch” amid sexual assault allegations.

The actor then said he was “very disappointed” and added that “it seems like you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.” He also “denied the outrageous allegations” and said he looked forward to “clearing my name once and for all.”

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