Danny Masterson Rape Case Retrial Set For March; “Fight Is Far From Over,” Jane Does Say After Jury Hung On Charges – Update – Deadline
(Updated with retrial date & Jane Does statement) Danny Masterson’s trial on three counts of forcible rape has been declared a mistrial.
The jury in the former That 70s Show star’s trial say they are unable to reach a verdict on any of the three criminal counts that Masterson has been charged with.
The six men and six women panel informed LA Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olemdo Wednesday afternoon that they are stuck. “After thorough and considerable discussion, it is clear that we as jurors are adamant about maintaining our individual positions on each of the three counts,” the jurors said in a letter read aloud by Judge Olemdo. Soon after the Judge formally declared a mistrial, something the defense has sought since almost Day 1 of testimony back in late October.
A retrial date of March 27, 2023 has been penciled in. With a hearing on next steps set for January 10, Masterson remains free on bail of $3.3 million.
Looking at up to 45 years in state prison if found guilty, Masterson was first arrested in 2020 and has been free on $3 million bail. The actor, who was quickly fired from Netflix’s comedy The Ranch at the end of 2017 as claims became known, always has denied he had nonconsensual sex between 2001 and 2003 with the alleged victims or anyone else.
The jurors told the downtown LA courtroom this afternoon that they were deeply divided on all of the trio of counts. On Court 1, it was 10 thought Masterson not guilty, two believed he was guilty. Count 2 saw eight going for not guilty, four for guilty. Lastly, the panel said on Count 3, they were seven for not guilty, five for guilty.
Two of the women at the heart of the prosecution’s unsuccessful case quickly reacted to events today
“We would first like to thank the jury for its public service,” said Jane Doe #2, and Jane #3 in a statement along with others in the currently stayed civil case against Masterson and the Church of Scientology in a statement after the mistrial was declared.”
“We are obviously disappointed that, at least for the time being, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts,” the former Scientologists added. “However, we are collectively resolved to continue our fight for justice, including in civil court, where we have alleged that Mr. Masterson, along with the Church of Scientology, its leader David Miscavige, and others conspired to systematically stalk, harass, and intimidate us when we sought to shed light on Mr. Masterson’s actions. This legal fight is far from over, and it is critical that we reckon with Scientology’s alleged role in covering up reports of abuse and threatening victims.”
The paused civil suit claims that after going to the LAPD with their allegations, the ex-Scientology plaintiffs have been stalked, intimidated, harassed, stalked and even allegedly saw some of their pets killed by the church and church affiliates. In early October, the Supreme Court denied Scientology’s petition to take up the case after a California appellate court earlier this year ruled the ex-church members had a First Amendment right to not be held to the stipulations of a religious organizations once they have left it. The civil case had be scheduled to start up again next month, but that was on the premise the criminal case would be over and done.
After often harrowing testimony over five weeks from the three Jane Does and a fourth woman, the criminal trial first went to the jury on November 15. Within days, as the Thanksgiving break loomed, the panel came back to Judge Olemdo and said they were essentially deadlocked. Rejecting yet another mistrial motion from Masterson’s Phillip Cohen-led defense, the judge said two and a half days wasn’t enough time to truly deliberate the issues at hand and sent the jury home for the holiday.
Returning on November 28 with two jurors out due to positive Covid-19 results, two alternates were assigned to panel and Judge Olemdo instructed the men and women to start anew. After a live read back of testimony from Jane Doe #3 this morning, it is clear that two and a half days this week was more than enough.
Going into next spring, Masterson’s clearly happydefense and the LA County District Attorney’s office now face a situation similar to what occurred in Bill Cosby’s 2017 rape trial.
That matter was taken up again by the Pennsylvania courts in 2018 and saw the much accused man once known as “America’s Dad” labelled a sex offender and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for the 2004 rape of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Of course, in 2021, Cosby was sprung from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction, spotlighting flaws with the methodology of prosecutors’ case against the comedian after decades earlier declining to file charges
Just down the hall at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, closing statements began Wednesday in the multiple sex crimes trial of Harvey Weinstein. The jury in the also much accused producer’s West Coast case could be starting their own deliberations by the end of this week.
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