LOS ANGELES (AP) — A decide declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors mentioned they have been hopelessly deadlocked on the trial of “That ’70s Present” actor Danny Masterson, who was charged with three rapes.
Los Angeles Superior Courtroom Decide Charlaine F. Olmedo had ordered the jurors to take Thanksgiving week off and preserve deliberating after they instructed her on Nov. 18 that they might not come to a consensus in regards to the rape allegations after a monthlong trial through which the Church of Scientology performed a supporting function.
Masterson, 46, was charged with the rape of three ladies, together with a former girlfriend, in his Hollywood Hills house between 2001 and 2003. He pleaded not responsible and his lawyer mentioned the acts have been all consensual. All three ladies have been members of the church on the time, and Masterson stays one.
“I discover the jurors hopelessly deadlocked,” Decide Charlaine Olmedo declared after inquiring whether or not there was something the courtroom might do to maneuver them nearer to reaching a unanimous resolution. She set a March date for a retrial.
Jurors mentioned that they had voted seven instances Tuesday and Wednesday with out with the ability to attain consensus on any of the three counts.
The jury foreman mentioned solely two jurors voted for conviction on the primary depend, 4 voted for conviction on the second depend and 5 voted to convict on the third depend.
Jurors have been compelled to start out deliberations from scratch on Monday when two needed to be dismissed as a result of they got here down with COVID-19. They deliberated for 2 days however nonetheless couldn’t attain verdicts.
The consequence was a critical setback for prosecutors, and for the three ladies who mentioned they have been in search of lengthy overdue justice.
The proceedings befell amid a flurry of circumstances on each coasts with #MeToo connotations, together with the Los Angeles trial of Harvey Weinstein simply down the corridor from Masterson’s. In New York, Kevin Spacey gained a sexual misconduct lawsuit introduced by actor Anthony Rapp in New York, and a jury ordered director and screenwriter Paul Haggis to pay $10 million in a civil case there.
However on the Masterson trial, as on the Haggis trial, the #MeToo implications have been largely eclipsed by the specter of Scientology, regardless of the decide’s insistence that the church not grow to be a de facto defendant.
The ladies, all known as Jane Does and all former members of the church, mentioned they have been intimidated, harassed and stalked after Masterson was charged. They’ve repeated these allegations in a pending lawsuit towards the church.
Masterson lawyer Philip Cohen mentioned the church was talked about 700 instances throughout trial and argued that it grew to become an excuse for the prosecution’s failure to construct a plausible case towards Masterson, a distinguished Scientologist.
However Deputy District Legal professional Reinhold Mueller mentioned the church had tried to silence the ladies and that was the rationale it took 20 years for the case to get to trial.
Masterson didn’t testify. His lawyer offered no protection testimony and as an alternative centered on inconsistencies within the accounts of the three accusers, who he mentioned modified their tales over time and spoke with one another earlier than going to police.
“The important thing to this case is just not after they reported it,” Cohen mentioned throughout closing arguments. “It’s what they mentioned after they reported it. What they mentioned after they reported it. And what they mentioned at trial.”
Mueller argued that Masterson was a person “for whom ‘no’ by no means meant ‘no,’” as proven by the graphic and emotional testimony of the three accusers.
Two ladies mentioned they have been served drinks by Masterson and have become woozy or handed out earlier than being violently raped. One mentioned she thought she would die as Masterson held a pillow over her face.
An ex-girlfriend mentioned she awoke to discovering Masterson having intercourse together with her with out her consent. The protection mentioned her claims have been undermined as a result of she later had intercourse with him after they broke up.
Cohen instructed jurors they might acquit Masterson in the event that they thought he “really and fairly believed” the ladies consented to having intercourse. Mueller countered that no person would consider the acts described have been consensual, reminding jurors that one girl repeatedly instructed him “no,” pulled his hair and tried to get out from beneath him.
Mueller instructed jurors to not be swayed by protection hypothesis and mentioned contradictions within the victims’ testimony have been indicators of authenticity versus accounts that had been scripted.
The costs date to a interval when Masterson was on the top of his fame, starring from 1998 till 2006 as Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Present.” The present made stars of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace and is getting an upcoming Netflix reboot with “That ’90s Present.”
Masterson had reunited with Kutcher on the Netflix comedy “The Ranch” however was written off the present when an LAPD investigation was revealed in December 2017.