(AP) L.A. A prosecutor says that Danny Masterson was accused of rape by three women 20 years ago when he was on “That ’70s Show.”
Reinhold Mueller, a deputy district attorney, said that two women got drunk and passed out in Masterson’s hot tub. One person said that he pulled her to his bed and that when she woke up, he was having sex with her. He was on top of his third ex-girlfriend when she woke up.
Masterson’s lawyer said that the alleged victims didn’t listen when a detective told them not to talk and “cross-pollinated” their stories, which made them less credible.
Phillip Cohen, the lawyer for the defense, told them, “If you talk, you’ll hurt this case.” “It’s fatal to talk with other witnesses and each other”
Masterson, who is 46 years old, pleaded not guilty to three counts of forced rape that happened at his home in Hollywood between 2001 and 2003.
Cohen asked the jury not to think about Masterson’s involvement with Scientology, but Mueller said it could help explain why the women waited so long to report the abuse.
Two of the people who said they were raped went to the church to tell them what happened. They were told it wasn’t rape and that telling anyone would make their friends and family avoid them.
Mueller: “You become an enemy of the church.” Give up everything Cohen didn’t like it when people talked about religion. Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo told the lawyers that Scientology would not be the most important thing in the trial.
On the list of witnesses for the trial are both current and former members of the religion, which is based in Los Angeles and has many well-known members. Lisa Marie Presley is on the list. She is the daughter of Elvis Presley and the ex-wife of Michael Jackson.
One of them was Masterson’s longtime girlfriend. The third was a new friend who was an actress. Because she didn’t like how the Scientology ethics board dealt with her complaint, a friend of his assistant went to the police. There was no cost.
In 2016, she talked to the ex-girlfriend of an accuser. Both went to the police that year. Masterson’s ex-girlfriend said that she broke up with him after telling her husband that she had been beaten up. A third woman called the police in 2017.
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Cohen said that the defense was a “sizzle reel of contradictions,” referring to how the women’s stories changed from what they said at first.
A woman who thought she was attacked after drinking Masterson’s fruity red vodka drink told police that she had had sexual relations with him months before. She says that she never said yes. In this case, Masterson is not being charged.
Masterson asked another alleged victim to come to his house. Mueller said that she told him many times, “No sex,” as they played around. He said that Masterson’s alleged attack was so bad that the victim threw up and was “limp as a rag doll.”
Cohen said that the woman stayed in bed with Masterson for hours, talking and listening to music, and then thought, “We’ll start dating.” He told her that he thought it was odd that Masterson didn’t call or text.
The ex-girlfriend says they slept together twice after they broke up. If Masterson is found guilty, he could get 45 years. The AP does not name people who have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward.
Masterson was one of the first people to be charged under #MeToo. His is one of several high-profile sexual assault cases that will go to trial around the fifth anniversary of Harvey Weinstein’s claims, which started the #MeToo movement.
The second trial for rape and sexual assault against Weinstein is going on right next door to Masterson’s. In New York, people are suing Kevin Spacey and Paul Haggis for sexual assault.
Haggis is not a member of Scientology, and the judge lets him say that the church is behind the accusations against him.
From 1998 to 2006, Masterson played Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Show.” With “That ’90s Show” on Netflix, the show that made stars out of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace is getting a new start.
Masterson was written out of Netflix’s “The Ranch” after news came out in December 2017 that the LAPD was looking into him.