An attorney for That 70’s show Actor Danny Masterson pleaded not guilty on his behalf to the rapes of three women in the early 2000s.
Defense attorney Tom Mesereau brought three charges of violence or fear rape against Masterson, who was absent in court, in the Los Angeles District Supreme Court.
The hearing, often belated, coincided with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, which resulted in far less media attention than Masterson’s first court appearance in June. His charges have been postponed several times since then.
Prosecutors have alleged that 44-year-old Masterson, who has been free since his arrest on June 17, raped a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003, and a 23-year-old. old woman between October and December 2003. All alleged rapes occurred at his Hollywood Hills home.
Masterson could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Mesereau, whose previous clients included Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby, said in court in June that the charges were the result of unfair media hype and political pressure to prosecute his client. The attorney said his team would prove Masterson was not guilty.
Masterson’s arrest came after a three-year investigation that resulted in the rare persecution of a famous Hollywood character in the #MeToo era. Despite dozens of investigations, most have not resulted in charges based on insufficient evidence or too much time since the alleged sexual assaults.
The women accused of sexual misconduct reported to Masterson that they were “harassed, embarrassed and re-harassed” by the actor and the Church of Scientology of which he is a member, having learned that Masterson and the Church were “working together.” “Authorities. “
“We are grateful that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office is finally seeking criminal justice against Masterson,” they said together in a statement. “We are confident that the truth will be known and hope that the charges filed today are the first steps on this long road to healing, justice and accountability to those who fall victim to us.”
In 2017, actress Leah Remini, a former Church of Scientology member, accused the Los Angeles Police Department of covering up Masterson’s investigation to appease Scientology leaders.
Months later, Remini continued speaking out against Masterson and the final episode of her Emmy-winning series Scientology and the Consequences should include two of the four women who accused Masterson of sexual assault, but that episode reportedly closed in February 2019.
After months of back and forth, Reminis became a two-hour special entitled Waiting for justice, interviewed in August 2019. She interviewed Masterson’s accusers about her experience with the former The ranch Actor, condemning the Church of Scientology, claiming it protects him from justice.
Masterson was fired from the Netflix series The ranch and tacitly dumped by his former talent agency United Talent Agency (UTA) after the LAPD confirmed it investigated sexual assault allegations against him by multiple women in 2016 and 2017.
“I am obviously very disappointed with Netflix’s decision to write off my character The ranch“The actor wrote in a statement at the time of his release.
“From day one, I’ve denied the outrageous allegations against myself. I have never been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime.
“In this country you are considered innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems like the moment you are accused, you will be found guilty. I understand and look forward to erasing my name once and for all. “
A Church of Scientology litigation attorney also issued a statement in August 2019 calling the lawsuit a “fraud”.
“From what we’ve read in the press, this baseless lawsuit is going nowhere because the allegations are ridiculous and a sham,” the statement said. “It’s a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini uses these people as farmers for their money-making scams.”
The alleged rapes occurred at the height of Masterson’s fame when he appeared as Steven Hyde on the retro Fox TV sitcom That 70’s show from 1998 to 2006 alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace.
– – With files by Chris Jancelewicz
If you or someone you know is being ill-treated or is involved in an abusive situation, contact the Canadian Crime Victims Resource Center for help. They can also be reached toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.