The justices said they had voted seven times without being able to reach consensus on any of the three counts. A retrial is scheduled for March.
LOS ANGELES – A judge ruled Wednesday in a case after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked in the trial of the “That ’70s Show” actor. Danny MastersonHe was charged with three counts of rape.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlene F. Olmedo ordered jurors to take the Thanksgiving weekend off and continue deliberating when she told her on Nov. 18 that after the month-long trial A consensus could not be reached about the allegations of rape in which the Church of Scientology played a supporting role.
Masterson, 46, is accused of raping three women, including an ex-girlfriend, at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. He pleaded not guilty and his lawyer said the acts were all consensual. All three women were members of the church at the time, and Masterson is one.
Judge Charlene Olmedo then asked if there was anything the court could do to move them closer to reaching a unanimous verdict. He set a March date for retrial.
The judges said they were unable to reach a consensus on any of the three without voting seven times on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The jury foreman said only two jurors voted to convict on the first count, four voted to convict on the second count and five voted to convict on the third count.
He was a judge. Forced to start the conversation from scratch Monday when two had to be dismissed because they came down with COVID-19. They deliberated for two days but still could not reach a decision.
The result was a severe blow to prosecutors and to the three women who said they were seeking long-overdue justice.
The action comes amid a flurry of cases with #MeToo implications on both coasts, including The Los Angeles Trial of Harvey Weinstein Just down the hall from Masterson. in New York, Kevin Spacey Wins Sexual Misconduct The suit was brought in New York by actor Anthony Rapp, and a jury indicted director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. $10 million to pay In a civil case there
But in Masterson’s trial, as in Haggis’s, the implications of #MeToo were largely eclipsed by the lens of Scientology, despite the judge’s insistence that the church not become a de facto defendant.
The women, identified as Jane Does and all former church members, said they were threatened, harassed and stalked after Masterson was charged. He has repeated these allegations in a pending lawsuit against the church.
Masterson’s attorney, Philip Cohen, said the church was mentioned 700 times during the trial and argued that it became an excuse for prosecutors’ failure to build a credible case against Masterson, a prominent Scientologist.
But Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Müller said the church had tried to silence the women and that’s why the case took two decades to come to trial.
Masterson did not testify. Their attorney did not present any defense testimony and instead focused on inconsistencies in the accounts of the three suspects, who said their stories changed over time and spoke to each other before going to police. of
“The key to this case is not when they reported it,” Cohen said during closing arguments. “This is what they said when they reported it. What they said after they reported it. And what they said at trial.
Mueller argued that Masterson was a man “for whom ‘no’ never meant ‘no,'” as evidenced by the graphic and emotional testimony of the three accusers.
Two women said they were offered drinks by Masterson and passed out before being violently assaulted. One said she thought she was going to die when Masterson put a pillow over her face.
An ex-girlfriend said she woke up to Masterson having sex with her without her consent. The defense said her claim was undermined because he later had sex with her after they broke up.
Cohen told jurors they could acquit Masterson if they believed he “actually and reasonably believed” the women consented to sex. Mueller countered that no one would believe the acts described were consensual, reminding jurors that a woman told him “no” repeatedly, pulled her hair and got out from under her. tried to
Mueller told jurors not to be swayed by defense speculation and said inconsistencies in the victims’ testimony were a sign of authenticity that was scripted.
The allegations date back to when Masterson was at the height of his fame, starring as Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006. The show starred Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace and is getting an upcoming Netflix reboot with “That 90’s Show.”
Masterson reunited with Kutcher on the Netflix comedy “The Ranch” but left the show in December 2017 when the LAPD investigation was revealed.