LOS ANGELES –
A prosecutor described rape allegations by three ladies Tuesday against “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson from twenty years in the past that contained a few of the identical disturbing components.
Two ladies turned woozy or handed out after a pair drinks and had been tossed in his scorching tub, Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller mentioned in his opening assertion in Masterson’s trial. One of them mentioned he dragged her to his mattress the place she regained consciousness to seek out him having intercourse together with her. A 3rd girl, an ex-girlfriend, mentioned she woke as much as discover him on prime of her.
Masterson’s lawyer mentioned the rationale the allegations had a lot in frequent is that the alleged victims violated a detective’s warning to not converse with one another and had “cross-pollinated” their accounts and undermined their credibility.
“If you converse to one another you’ll contaminate this case,” they had been instructed, protection legal professional Phillip Cohen mentioned in Los Angeles Superior Court. “Speaking to one another and different witnesses is deadly to a case.”
Masterson, 46, has pleaded not responsible to a few counts of forcible rape between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood house, which functioned as a social hub when he was on the top of his fame.
Cohen urged the jurors to not take into account Masterson’s affiliation with the Church of Scientology and its relationship to the case whereas Mueller mentioned that it helped clarify why the ladies — all former members of the church — waited so lengthy to report the incidents.
Two of the alleged victims first went to the church to report what occurred to them and had been instructed it wasn’t rape and that reporting it to authorities or telling others about it will finish with them being ostracized by their closest mates and even members of the family.
“You primarily turn out to be an enemy of the church,” Mueller mentioned. “You lose all of it.”
Cohen mentioned the case had nothing to do with the faith and he repeatedly objected when it was introduced up.
Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo sternly reminded the legal professionals that Scientology wouldn’t dominate the trial.
The trial’s witness record is filled with members and former members of the church, which has a powerful presence in Los Angeles and has counted many well-known figures amongst its members. The record contains former member Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley and former spouse of Michael Jackson, a pal of one of many alleged victims.
One of the ladies had been Masterson’s longtime girlfriend. Another was finest mates together with his private assistant, and the third, an actress, was a more moderen acquaintance.
The pal of his assistant filed a police report as a result of she was sad with the best way the Scientology ethics board dealt with her grievance. No fees had been introduced on the time.
In 2016, she linked and shared tales with the ex-girlfriend who is likely one of the accusers. Each filed a police report that yr. Masterson’s former girlfriend mentioned she did so after telling her story to her husband, who helped her perceive she had been raped. The third girl went to police in 2017.
At a preliminary listening to final yr, protection attorneys urged consensual intercourse was retroactively reframed as rape, and mentioned the age of the incidents made correct reminiscences inconceivable.
If convicted, Masterson might withstand 45 years in jail.
The Associated Press doesn’t usually identify individuals who say they had been victims of sexual abuse until they arrive ahead publicly.
Masterson was one of many first Hollywood figures to be prosecuted within the .MeToo period. His is one in every of a number of high-profile sexual assault instances which have gone to trial across the fifth anniversary of the reporting of accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, which remodeled the .MeToo motion into a global reckoning.
Weinstein’s second rape and sexual assault trial — he is already been convicted in New York — is going on concurrently, simply down the corridor from Masterson’s. In New York, civil trials have begun for actor Kevin Spacey and for screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, who’re each being sued for sexual assault.
Haggis is himself a Scientology dissident, and the decide in that case is permitting him to argue that the church is behind the allegations against him.
From 1998 till 2006, Masterson starred as Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Show,” which made stars of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace and is getting an upcoming Netflix reboot with “That ’90s Show.”
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.